Is Federal Special Ed Funding to Be Used to Expand Regular Ed Programs?

We would like to think government employees wouldn’t take money away from special ed children and use it for regular education.

Especially when money is specifically designated for special ed use.

Even if the Federal law allows such a diversion (which it does—half can be diverted).

We’d also like to think elected officials wouldn’t allow such an abuse when brought to their attention.

Then there’s what is going on in Huntley District 158.

I wonder if it would be if school administrators or board members have a special needs child.

Board member Aileen Seedorf seems to understand the long standing law which says the district is required to provide an appropriate education to every child. At the July 14th town hall-style meeting, School Board member Shawn Green did express what I took to be sincere concern about how the Federal stimulus money on special education would be spent.

I have written about how the administrators have proposed how to spend the Federal Stimulus funds.

A lot of the money is still being recommended to expand a reading program used in regular ed which the special ed parents don’t want.

The moms and dads don’t want it because there is no vendor-independent research that shows it works with special ed children.

The attention spans required for the programmed instruction are about 20 to 30 minutes. That’s a long time for challenged kids.

It seems likely that the massive expenditure will be redeployed into regular student use when it becomes obvious that the program doesn’t provide much benefit tospecial ed students.

The special ed parents want programs that will work for their children.

From what I heard at the July 14th town hall-style meeting with administrators and school board members, those parents would give those decision-makers the old grade of “needs improvement.”

It would take quite a reporter to capture their disillusionment.  I surely am not skilled enough to convey it.

But, it is clear to me that administrators need to listen to the parents of special education children and not spend a huge sum on a reading program the parents don’t want and for which the parents can find no credible research that says will work.

I remember the education I received from a District 300 mother back in the 1970’s when special education laws were being crafted.  I remember her every time I drive past her Huntley Road home on the way to Spring Hill Mall.  She said to finance her son’s education at Summit School, they had subdivided their property and would sell of the lots.

Unfortunately, most of the parents with special ed kids in Huntley School District 158 don’t have similar resources.  If the Huntley School Board doesn’t provide for their children’s education, ones who might be able to cope in society will just “slip through the cracks,” as the trite cliche says.

It’s really much more serious than that.

Ask a parent.

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