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Imagine not being able to take care of yourself. Not being able to
form your thoughts into words or being able to function how you want to. Now imagine not having the help you need to make living with these impairments easier. This is what kids with special needs will struggle with if budget cuts are made in special education.
Almost every single one of us here has interacted with someone with special needs, and
some of us are even related to or friends with them. During these encounters, we can definitely see certain struggles each child faces with their disability.
I am a member of PEP, a class where
I help kids with special needs stay active. I have also been apart of a 199 mile relay to raise money for Special Olympics, so I am very passionate about this subject.
I have spent many days collecting
research on this topic, and I feel confident sharing information with you today.
After going over my extensive research, I feel that
making budget cuts on special education is unethical and unbeneficial.
First I will talk about how special education helps kids with disabilities and how budget cuts will make their lives harder.
Second I will discuss how these budget cuts are unfair and how it should be stopped.
And finally I will talk about how not allowing budget cuts in special education will be beneficial in the future.
For several years, children with disabilities have benefitted from special education programs.
Taking money away from these programs will be crushing for these kids and their families.
According to Christina Samuels, in her article Number of U.S. Students in Special Education Ticks Upward, published in 2016, "About 5.5 million students aged 6-21 had disabilities in 2011.
In 2014, this rose to 5.8 million students." This drastic jump, which only continues to grow, shows how we need strong special education programs now more than ever. However, many schools have recently made budget cuts on these programs.
According to the Council for Exceptional Children, in their article titled "Voices from the Field," edited in 2016, 94% of people say their school district has been impacted by budget cuts this past year, and 83%
of them say it is already impacting the delivery of special education. This shows the negative effects of budget cuts are already kicking in. They are being made because alot of the funding comes from Medicaid, which has been cut in many states. This causes budget cuts at the federal level.
However, the special education programs should not
suffer due to this, as the kids are legally required to receive a proper education, and the budget cuts can keep them from receiving that.
12 year old John Truel is one of the 5.8 million kids with a disability and
he can't afford to lose the education program he is in
According to Tracy Sherlock, in her article Special Needs in the Classroom, published by Vancouver Sun in 2014, John was diagnosed with down syndrome, and
he and his family are thankful for the education program he is in.
John's mom stated, "My husband and I were worried when we sent him to school because we didn't think it would be easy. Here we are, 5 years later, and our son is excited to go to school because he loves it." John's experience with school has....
been nothing but helpful for him and his family. The teachers, programs, and even some of his classmates have made huge contributions to John's success.
Unfortunately, as previously cited by Samuels, some kids
will not be as lucky as John. 94% of schools are experiencing budget cuts. These cuts often eliminatie support services.
As previously cited by the CEC, "The NCPSS released a survey of more than 1,000 special education professionals from all 50 states. They reported that funding cuts have
impacted their ability to provide services mandated by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or the IDEA, which I will discuss later.
In these surveys, professionals have expressed
their concerns that they won't have enough resources to give these kids the education they are legally required to receive.
When these children are not given the education they are legally required to have, many issues occur. I will now explain to you some solutions to fix this problem.
The government and schools should make budget edits while following
the three major laws including the IDEA, the ADA, and Section 504. These laws ensure that certain services are provided even when states and schools face economic issues.
So, if funding and budgets follow these laws,
kids with disabilities would be able to get the education they deserve and legally require. To solve this problem, members of the school community need to be aware of the special education budget and protest against any cuts.
As previously cited by the CEC, these laws protect the rights for individuals with disabilities. Therefore, schools are legally required to...
give the right amount of funding to special education programs. They can't go under the minimum budget, nor should they have funding equal to students without disabilities.
This is where we must understand the importance of the difference between
equality and equity. This visual represents how equality doesn't necessarily mean something is fair. Since special ed kids need more assistance, they should get more funding.
Now that I have discussed the solution to this problem, it is important to show how this will bring positive results in the future.
Of course there are a few good points that
make it seem like a good idea to cut special education funding. People who want budget cuts to be made argue that the US supplies nearly 19 billion dollars in revenue for special ed programs.
Yes, this is a large number, but cutting the budget has
many negative consequences. As I have previously stated, special students need these programs to learn how to live with their disability and get the best education possible.
As previously cited by Sherlock, Mrs.Truel, the mother of John, who I mentioned earlier, stated, "Life with Down Syndrome is already hard, so without these amazing programs, our family would definitely be struggling."
This goes to show that kids with special needs and their families really do benefit from special education programs, and funding is necessary
Some people also believe that special education programs should receive
the same amount of funding as "regular" students rather than making a drastic cut. However, as I have previously stated, this would be unfair because equality and equity are two separate things, and only equity is fair to the students.
So, if people stand up against
budget cuts, future families affected by special needs will get the education they need.
Now let's go over what I've discussed with you today.
Kids with disabilities need more funding to
get the proper education they require. If budget cuts are made, this won't be possible
Today I first talked about how special education helps kids with disabilities and how budget cuts will make their lives harder.
Then I discussed how budget cuts should be stopped.
And finally I went over how not allowing budget cuts in special education will be beneficial in the future.
With all of this in mind, I ask for you to
think about these kids, and to do something, big or small, to help them out. I, personally, intend to keep volunteering for special needs kids.
Whether it's taking part of
fund raisers or speaking out to protest against budget cuts, all help is a step towards keeping the education these kids need. Thank you.
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