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Obama Plan For Special Education Leaves Advocates Disappointed


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Despite a heavy emphasis on education in the president’s budget proposal this week, advocates are worried that students with disabilities are being left out.

Funding for special education would remain largely flat under President Barack Obama’s proposed budget for 2013 that was released Monday.

Meanwhile, money for new programs like Race to the Top — a competitive grant program that awards money to states that commit to reform models — would grow dramatically.

And that has some advocates concerned.

“In this context, level funding is a cut,” said Lindsay Jones, senior director for policy and advocacy at the Council for Exceptional Children, which lobbies on behalf of special educators.

School districts are already reeling from the loss of stimulus dollars and reduced state and local funding, Jones said, not to mention inflation. At the same time, districts are seeing more students with diagnoses like autism that incur a high level of need and significant expense.

“It’s difficult to see so much investment in competitive grants when there’s so much need in foundational programs like IDEA, so we’re disappointed,” Jones said.

There was one bright spot, however, for special education. Obama proposed an additional $20 million for early intervention services for children with disabilities in their first years of life.

The budget plan reflects Obama’s priorities for federal spending for the 2013 fiscal year, which will begin in October. However, much like last year, the president’s proposal is likely to face an uphill battle in Congress, which must approve any final spending plan.

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Comments (10 Responses)

  1. DC Matthews says:

    Many of us people with disabilities have, sadly, seen federal and state and local cuts.
    Since recent study has shown that the most productive intervention for the life of the person with several cognitive impairments is at the preschool level, Intensive Parent Training as well as preschool edu and should be developed and combined so that a child’s lifetime performance and potential can be maximized.
    parents who can afford to insure their children should and first use whatever benefit medical interventions and assistance will provide so maximum of funds goes to those most in need of the help.

  2. Kathy says:

    It has been our experience that many school districts leave sp ed money on the table hence having to return it at the end of the fiscal year. Seems like LEAs need to do a better job of budget planning and spendin.

  3. The Man says:

    I warned of this very thing when this guy got in. You all kept praising and admiring him and swallowing his bilge that he lied to you about. Why anyone continues to believe this guy is beyond me. Are you EVER going to stop buying into his “promises”? You better keep planning on NOT getting any more from this liar. Hope you learned your lesson. But, I doubt you have.

  4. Mrs. Eileen G Curras widow to Hernandez, WWII says:

    We are the victims of the Financial Crisis in the United States and the U.S. Territories too, but consumers are the victims.

  5. Suelle says:

    Sadly, I have to agree with The Man. This presidency has been a huge disappointment. I’m afraid all of the politicians have been bought out. There’s no one left to vote for.

  6. Tim says:

    Why is it always the people with the greatest real need who get forgotten? Hope and Change has now become Disappointment and Regret!

  7. Heather C. says:

    Sadly, this is happening all over the world. Governments are doing everything they can to better the education of ‘normal’ people, yet they are trying to revoke opportunity for the invisibly disabled; do they really want a utopian world where everything is perfect and everyone is a Stepford clone? What will happen to the invisibly disabled when all their opportunities are taken away? Will the world destroy their hope?

  8. Lora says:

    To: The Man and Suelle and others who agree. NO president in over 35 years has given special education the money that IS WRITTEN and PROMISED to the states under IDEA, even though the programs are mandated federally and statewide. The gov’t has underfunded special education for years and has gotten away with it. In other words republican as well as democratic presidents have underfunded special education, so please don’t use this forum to spread your negativity about Obama. What are you doing in your community or schools to help special education? Write your politicians and tell them to fund special education to the amount of funds that are promised and never given….When I asked my republican congressman about it, he changed the subject and ignored the question. Hmmm….what does that say?

  9. Meagan says:

    What is Obama doing for the Special Education for this
    year? Is he cutting down more? What did Obama do in the
    past about the special education?

  10. B says:

    I work in special education. And obama has put a lot if resorces into it. Unfortunately, the school districts are using this to “bail themselves out ” after the george w bush fiasco that now, obamas money is only keeping the programs afloat

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