Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the Feds have avoided paying their obligation to states to provide supplemental services for students with special needs. In 2008, for example, the federal government owed states $19 billion, but only paid out $10 billion.
In these challenging economic times, with so many districts facing budget and service cuts, and the federal government handing out trillions to Wall Street bankers and defense contractors, it is particularly disgusting to be short changing kids with disabilities. IDEA serves millions of children nationally. In California, districts are being asked to “push in” special needs students to regular ed classes to the fullest extent possible, creating an even greater need for funding to hire paraprofessionals and support staff. Under NCLB, special education teachers are being asked to become “highly qualified” in all subjects they teach which, at the high school level, may require some teachers to get credentialed in math, English, social studies and at least one science discipline. This also will require additional funding.
“Each year they ask us to do more, while providing us with less. Eventually they will ask us to do everything, and give us nothing. I think this might be that time.”—quote by a former colleague.