Is special education too expensive?
The recent 60 Minutes segment on Special Education, aired by CBS (Cell Broadcast Service) See cell broadcast. on Sunday evening, June 9th, certainly could lead one to believe that many of the financial woes felt by public school education today lie within the realm of special education. For many advocates of special education, including adapted physical activity, which the readership of Palaestra certainly includes, the notion of support for educational programming for students with disabilities costing too much, perhaps at the expense of many other school children, has not been a consideration.
In this editor's opinion, it may not have been responsible journalism--even balanced journalism--to open the segment, narrated by Leslie Stahl and produced by Rome Hartman, showing four isolated children with multiple disabilities, including blindness, being whisked away by executive jet from Westchester County Airport “HPN” redirects here. For the English railway station, see Hapton railway station.
Westchester County Airport (IATA: HPN, ICAO: KHPN, FAA LID: HPN) is a public airport located in the town of Harrison, New York in Westchester County. in New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of on their weekly trek to the New York State School for the Blind in Batavia, New York--huge expenditures of tax dollars for special education--but it certainly got the viewer's attention!
According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. Ms. Stahl, one in every eight school children is receiving some type of special education at a price tag of 32 billion dollars yearly--one quarter of the cost for all public school education annually. Throughout the short segment the viewer was led to believe it costs $100,000 dollars per year for those children to be educated at the School for the Blind in Batavia, New York, as opposed to approximately $30,000 per year within their public schools at home, that the cost to educate students with disabilities is very disproportionate to the 96 billion dollars being spent on all other students annually, and that other programs are being cut in order to maintain special education. Granted, students highlighted in Batavia had multiple disabilities requiring much more individual and specialized attention, including some rather expensive technological aids....still, the credibility is stretched rather thinly when students with other, more frequently found disabilities were not compared. Readers are well aware of incidence figures placing students with learning disabilities at the top, followed by those with speech impairments, mental retardation mental retardation, below average level of intellectual functioning, usually defined by an IQ of below 70 to 75, combined with limitations in the skills necessary for daily living. , behavioral disorders behavioral disorder Psychiatry A disorder characterized by displayed behaviors over a long period of time which significantly deviate from socially acceptable norms for a person's age and situation , on down the line to those students with both hearing and visual impairments Visual Impairment Definition
Total blindness is the inability to tell light from dark, or the total inability to see. Visual impairment or low vision is a severe reduction in vision that cannot be corrected with standard glasses or contact lenses and .
When students with learning disabilities were mentioned, it was an isolated case in metropolitan Washington, DC, where the school district pays tuition to send its students with learning disabilities to a private school rather than educate them within their own school system; no mention was made as to whether or not it was more cost effective for the school district to pay their tuition rather than add the facilities, personnel, equipment, and supplies to an already strapped budget. In short, the 60 Minutes piece did not show advocacy for special education! On the other hand, it was thought provoking; it made viewers search their intellects, feelings, and souls with regard to where they stand on a free appropriate education!
In September 1973, Congress passed a law (PL 93112) that prohibited discrimination on the basis of physical or mental handicap mental handicap
any intellectual disability resulting from injury to or abnormal development of the brain
mentally handicapped adj in every program or activity sponsored by a recipient of federal assistance in the country. That law was Section 504 of the Vocational Rehabilitation Noun 1. vocational rehabilitation - providing training in a specific trade with the aim of gaining employment
rehabilitation - the restoration of someone to a useful place in society Act. Although it is brief in language, its applications are far reaching. The statute reads:
No otherwise qualified handicapped individual in the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. shall, solely by reason of his handicap, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.
On April 28, 1977, Joseph A Califano, Jr., then Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, (HEW) in recognition of the great disparity in educational opportunities existing for individuals with disabilities, issued final Section 504 regulations for all recipients of funds from HEW, including elementary and secondary schools, colleges, hospitals, social service agencies, and in some instances, doctors. Germane ger·mane
Being both pertinent and fitting. See Synonyms at relevant.
[Middle English germain, having the same parents, closely connected; see german2. to the regulation were six tenants: no handicapped child to be excluded from a public education because of disability; each to be entitled to a free appropriate education; students were not to be segregated, but educated with peers where feasible; evaluation procedures were to be improved upon to avoid misclassification; safeguards were to be established to allow parents or guardians to object with regard to evaluation and/or placement; and the state or local education agencies were responsible for identification of unserved children. From this point onward, coupled with PL 94-142 and its various amendments through PL 101-476, the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act
Some statements may be disputed, incorrect, , biased or otherwise objectionable.
True, by the very nature of some disabling dis·a·ble
tr.v. dis·a·bled, dis·a·bling, dis·a·bles
1. To deprive of capability or effectiveness, especially to impair the physical abilities of.
2. Law To render legally disqualified. conditions, the cost of educating one child will be higher than another, with or without a disability. However, special education, per se, should not be made the scapegoat scapegoat
In the Old Testament, a goat that was symbolically burdened with the sins of the people and then killed on Yom Kippur to rid Jerusalem of its iniquities. Similar rituals were held elsewhere in the ancient world to transfer guilt or blame. for the dollar squeeze public education continually finds itself in today. Financing public education through property taxes is obviously an out-dated method and is not the answer, a fact agreed to in at least five states where the process has been ruled unconstitutional. Nor should parents of students with disabilities be made to feel they are milking the system when they act on behalf of their children as informed advocates when exercising their rights within the due process system as guaranteed by law.
This editor does not believe in squandering squan·der
tr.v. squan·dered, squan·der·ing, squan·ders
1. To spend wastefully or extravagantly; dissipate. See Synonyms at waste.
2. financial resources to the detriment of other children and their needs for a sound education; however, neither does this editor believe that every child with a disability will become a fully actualized ac·tu·al·ize
v. ac·tu·al·ized, ac·tu·al·iz·ing, ac·tu·al·iz·es
1. To realize in action or make real: "More flexible life patterns could . . . human being through special education...nevertheless, the worth and dignity of each human being demands that the attempt, within reason, be made.
The fact that education is underfunded un·der·fund
tr.v. un·der·fund·ed, un·der·fund·ing, un·der·funds
To provide insufficient funding for.
underfunded adj → infradotado (económicamente) is a given. Its woes will not be served by diminishing the scope of special education--rather, other sources and methods of equitably funding education need to be explored by both federal and state governments. Ethical, responsible, prudent, and purposeful education for students with special needs is more of a must today than ever before. It would serve us all well if 60 Minutes would highlight some of the successes within typical special education programs rather than only the isolated cases viewers were exposed to on the evening of June 9, 1996. Is special education too expensive? Certainly not when compared to the costs to society of what increasingly uneducated individuals with disabilities would place on the nation if there were no special education.