Vocational Ministry Paper The Ethics of Special Education in Today’s Public Schools: How the Lack of Resources Affects School Compliance and Accommodation Requirements for Students with Special Needs. Introduction The education of young people is a career path which is full of many challenges for a dedicated teacher, administrator or assistant…
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This good progress has suffered in recent times however, from a growing lack of funds to provide the extra accommodation and equipment that these students need. Financial crisis at Federal government level has seen budgets cut, while schools have to jump over more and more complex hurdles to achieve compliance with any number of new rules. This paper explores this issue of the lack of funding for special educational needs, showing how students’ theoretical rights are not being respected, and what the consequences of this are. It examines the reasons why funding is not forthcoming, and what responses have already been tried. Finally it suggests a creative Christian response to the problem through building closer local linkages between churches and schools. The theoretical rights of students with special needs Most people, if asked directly what they think of special needs education, would support the idea that children should be educated according to their actual needs. There is no problem with the idea of providing this service and all public schools no doubt have every intention of delivering this to best of their ability. There is, an issue, however, which colors the debate on how best to deliver the rights that children with special needs have for an education tailored to their specific situation: “Many of the debates circulating around the concept of inclusion focus less on the children and more on ideology, legal issues or practical ramifications involved. At the heart of much of this discussion lies the issue of money: to what extent is special education defined, or even driven, by financial considerations?” (Osgood, 2008, p. 127) The tighter the financial situation is, the more people push special needs to the edge, and this is the problem that needs to be addressed. The actual deficit in the delivery of students’ rights It is very difficult to measure the extent of student special educational needs, or the level of the gap between what is required and what is actually delivered. One of the reasons for this is that the definition of this category has not been constantly applied over time and across the different states of America. Other reasons include the fact that some special educational needs are more difficult to identify than others, and some vocal pressure groups demand more resources for selective types of educational need (Farrell, 2012). In my experience there is a good system in place for special needs, but the biggest problem is caused by delays in moving from one stage of the process to the next. If a student is diagnosed as needing a particular intervention, or access to particular accommodation, or tuition from a particular member of staff, very often there is simply not the capacity to provide what everyone agrees is necessary. The aspirations of the system cannot be delivered because the funds are capped but the student diagnoses are not. Consequences of the lack of resources for students and for schools The consequences of the lack of resources for students can be very serious indeed. Students only have a limited amount of time in each grade, and every week that passes while they wait for whatever service they need is a precious learning opportunity that has been lost. I have witnessed many parents in tears because schools cannot provide their child with suitable
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