The Tension between Special Education and School Budgets

America’s special education system serves over six million students that have cognitive, emotional, and physical limitations nationwide.[1;2] The scale of such a system presents many challenges in providing quality education to special needs students. All students deserve quality, need-meeting education, but many of them do not receive it.

A Lack of Quality Education and Support

 Many students are finding themselves left behind in the chaos of federal funding, budget planning, and resource allocation. A recent situation, published on GreatKids!, involves a young girl with a speech disorder and highlights the challenges that both parents and administrators face. The school referenced in the article attempted to centralize special education to alleviate pressure on its budget. Due to the individualized nature of special education, students with disabilities can cost up to double the average. The school simply did not have the resources they needed to properly support their students. Likewise, in Washington, schools scrambled to find special education teachers and support personnel for students at the start of the new school year.[4] Unfair and unequal school funding has led to insufficient support, resources, and poor working conditions, causing many special education teachers to leave their jobs stressed and dissatisfied.[3]

In poorer districts, the problem can present increased difficulties. “Poverty is a driving factor in a child ending up needing special-education services,” explains Mary Wagner, principal scientist in the Center of Education and Research Services at SRI International. At Albert Gallatin in Pennsylvania, more than one-fifth of the district’s students are identified as needing special education. Special Education Director Sheri Dunham states that “funding definitely limits us from going above and beyond . . . the basic requirements of the law.” Dunham explains that simple improvements like extra teachers and tutors could go a long way in improving education for her students.[5]

Accessible Solutions

These concerns have allowed Superior Text to enter the industry with a mission: to offer quality textbooks and curriculum materials at low prices. In the midst of budget cuts and unequal funding, we understand the value of quality educational resources. They provide the base of knowledge for students to learn and achieve success. The quality of a school’s curriculum can mean the difference between engaging and empowering a student or discouraging and hindering growth.

Do we really have to sacrifice quality educational resources and materials in order to balance the budget in our public schools? We don’t think so. Affordable and accessible educational materials can alleviate the pressure on the curriculum budget, allowing school administrations to focus on teacher development and student growth – regardless of how much support a student needs.

 

Special Education Materials at Superior Text:

Exceptional Children: An Introduction to Special Education: 9780132626163

Special Education in Contemporary Society: 9781452216775

Educating Exceptional Children: 9780495913603