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Special Education Funding May Drop $900 Million


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The nation’s top education official is warning that special education programs across the country will face “devastating” budget cuts next year unless Congress acts.

Federal education spending for students with disabilities could be reduced by $900 million next year, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan told a U.S. Senate panel Wednesday.

That could translate to layoffs for over 10,000 teachers, aides and other staff who support the nation’s 6.6 million students with special needs, he said.

The cuts are expected to begin taking effect in January under a process known as sequestration which was triggered last year when Congress failed to reach a budget deal. Under the plan, education programs as well as most other federal initiatives will be subject to an across-the-board spending reduction of about 8 percent.

Unless Congress acts, special education cuts would impact schools starting in the fall of 2013, Duncan said.

“We all know that there are steps we can take so we don’t have to start down this path that puts so many critical services to students, families and communities at risk,” Duncan told senators. “As everyone knows, sequestration does not have to happen and should not happen.”

If the budget cuts go through as planned, federal spending on special education would fall to 14.5 percent, the lowest rate seen since 2001, according to an estimate from the Council for Exceptional Children, a national group that lobbies on behalf of special educators.

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Comments (10 Responses)

  1. Aiden William says:

    I normally would not be able to discover such excellent material as this on other websites. You have done an excellent job with each exclusive factor created on this subject. Thank you for your effort.

  2. Aimee Pressley says:

    It is hard to accept that after so many year of ADA and IDEA, America still does not consider educational equity a priority.

  3. Timothy says:

    This is outragious! These children need the help more than anyone else!

  4. Wendy A says:

    This is very sad. How do we pro-actively convince Congress to take care of this? What is the best way for average citizens to act on this? Should we collaborate with our state’s disability rights group that works within the political aspects for ideas?

  5. Deidre Hammon says:

    Did you ever notice it is always teachers, aides and other staff as opposed to administrators which a a dime a dozen. In our school district, there is an entire layer of administration that does nothing but attend meetings, and because they have another layer of administrators above them, they often never even say a word at the meetings, because their bosses are doing all the talking. Paid meeting attenders. Hired to do nothing but ensure that decisions are made by someone other than the IEP team, usually to the detriment of children. For the most part, these administrators don’t even read the files, they just talk to staff about the child and then behave as if they are experts when the parents show up. I’ll believe there is a budget crisis as soon as these folks are reassigned to classrooms and Principals start doing their jobs at the IEP table. If they want our support in Washington, or our state capitol, perhaps they should be a bit more responsive at the local level.

  6. Anne Leake says:

    This is concerning. Where are these children going to go? Who will take care of them if the country decides to eliminate all these positions. We will go back 40 plus years of moving forward to turn these students away and there rights will be gone. Are they going to put them back in to institutions? How is this educating them? They will break there own laws they have put into place with IDEA 2004. I find as a parent of child who is hearing impaired this is appalling. He may be in mid twenties but he had schooling why can our country turn away from up coming students. I live here in Arizona and in graduate school to become Special Education teacher graduating December 2013. Where will my job be to pay back my federal student loans? More important to be a teacher for special education a dream put off for 13 years.
    Anne Leake

  7. Carolyn says:

    I agree with Deidre Hammond, I was floored at the support that was offered but NEVER happened for many children not just my own. Maybe this will be a real wake up call for them!

  8. Pamela says:

    If you ask me after I have already experience those cuts, I have been laid off because the schools district wants ALL students in their designated grade level. I have no problem with that but you cannot given Special needs students 20-40 min and think they are going to know the instruction with little support or review. Lets not forget about the students who cannot handle a classroom with 29 other students. But, I forgot no one asked the Special Education teacher!

  9. Special Ed Teacher says:

    Staff cut backs have already been made at our district (a huge district in the Spring/Houston/Klein Texas area) due to this situation. As a special education teacher, I can say that it is already having a tremendous impact in our schools both for the special education students and the regular education students. Many of the classes with inclusion no longer have the paraprofessional nor co-teacher support to assist them in their class. This leaves the regular education teacher with less time to teach both groups of students effectively as she/he is having much more of her time being spent on behavior type and academic limitation issues. Although behavior type issues may be a big part of what our paras assisted with, they also help with student’s academics as well. For example, those who have severe reading disability in phonics/decoding, but not in comprehension and need to have ALL on grade level material read to them. Without the extra support, it is difficult to teach to an entire class full of students when a group needs to have everything read to them or you have a students who physically can not do the some of the hands on activities and need assistance. We have interactive notebooks at our school in which many of our students in Special Educations need assistance with as they are unable to do this independently. When you have a class with 6-8 students needing this assistance, it takes the majority of time just assisting each of these students individually causing the actual amount of teaching to be hindered. Classes are having to be stacked with students in Special Education instead of being spread out throughout the different homerooms in the grade level in order for the limited staff to be able to service the students. Having larger groups in one room just to be able to say on paper that they have 30 minutes of support a day does not accomplish anything. It only spreads the teacher and support staff thin and again hinders the actual teaching or instruction that could happen. Although I advocate for Special Education students as a Special Education teacher, I am finding myself also being concerned for the regular education population as well. They seem to be forgotten in a class of 8 or more Special Education students that take up most of the teachers time leaving. It does not matter how much you differentiate or hold small groups in your class. If you do not have the support, you can not effectively teach. Another way the district is making up for the cut staff is my making our resource classes larger and mixing more of the grade level and instructional levels all together in one class. When the groups get too larger are too far apart in their instructional level, you know longer can have INTENSIFIED small group instruction as resource was meant to be. It becomes a watered down, let touch base with all the IEP (Individual Education Plan) requirements and move on, instead of being able to actual instruct to mastery on the IEPs and teach on the “on grade level” concepts as well.
    The government is requiring higher standards for ALL students. How can they keep expecting more from us and giving us less funding which results in less support? The paper work itself was already overwhelming. Most teachers already come in early, stay hours later, take things home, work through planning periods doing other things besides planning because they have a passion for teaching and they want to do the best they can for the students. More requirements and less funding resulting in less help it making it near impossible for us to give the help to the students that we know they need. All this added stress and work is causing even bigger problems in our district as the teachers who truly care and want to do the best for the student are now becoming so stressed out and overwhelmed that they are leaving. It is those that care the most that are carrying a heavy heart with not being able to do what they know is best due to lack of funding resulting in less support. It is because they care that they can no longer, with a good conscience, can continue to work with things looking good on paper only, but not being realistic with what actually happening in the classroom. We have lost several good teachers already in the past couple of years. Now after the past few days with the unexpected and immediate cuts in staff, we have several more that are speaking of leaving.
    Our students need support to be successful. We need the funds to be able to give them the support they need. This support is what makes them successful in both academics and in their lives. We need funds to be able to accomplish what the students need. HELP US TO BE ABLE TO TEACH OUR STUDENTS PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. NICOLE LEBLANC says:

    Time for the FEDERAL Govert/ and Congress to raise 2 trillion/ 57% in taxes on the wealthy! The disability community did Not Cause the Budget Crisis !!! Wallstreet , Bush and The War did!

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