Is Special Needs Education Really Improving?
When it comes to education, there are a lot of indications that special needs law is improving. Resources and research continue to guide parents and teachers into best practices and science-based tips for success. But even with the continued improvements and awareness, many experts believe that the special needs education system is still broken and far more complicated than it needs to be.
In 1975, President Gerald Ford signed the “Education for All Handicapped Children Act.” But he signed it with a statement of concern that the law was underfunded, promised too much to families, and was burdened by complex technical requirements, according to Education Week.
Now, over 43 years later, many people still adhere to Ford’s concerns. Education Week goes on to say that the most concerned people are those who have spent their professional careers or personal lives deeply involved in the cause of educating students with disabilities. Many experts agree that while the specialized education system for special needs children is progressing, the implementation of the system is broken and so it is not fully functioning.
Judith Heumann – a pioneer in securing legal rights for the disabled – explains some main areas of concern for the future of special needs education:
Underfunding. Special Education Degrees further explains the budget issues that span the nation regarding special needs education, saying that special education programs are facing increasing enrollment and decreasing budgets. The result is that there are fewer teacher assistants available, which results in a greater workload for special education teachers. The teachers available may also face shortages of essential resources and equipment for delivering effective lessons.
Failure to identify and evaluate students properly. Sometimes the special learning needs are either not identified at all, or not identified in a timely manner.
Misplacement of services. Some children receive special needs instruction who do not need it, and some children who need it do not receive it.
A chronic shortage of special needs teachers. This shortage is in part due to the budget constraints, and also due to lack of professional support for teachers in this field.
Poor implementation and the need for simplicity in a complex system. This is apparent in the reality that many parents with special needs children still find it difficult to secure the education that their children need and deserve.
In these and other respects, the future of special needs education does look concerning. And if you’re the parent of a child with special needs, you’ve likely faced your own unique challenges. We have a long way to go in making education fulfilling and fair for all children with disabilities. But that doesn’t mean you have to weather the storm alone! Sometimes, bringing justice to the system starts with bringing justice to your child and your family. If you’re concerned about the special needs education your child is receiving in New Jersey, or feel that your child is being treated unfairly, it might be time to talk to an attorney experienced in special needs law.
The Law Office of Stuart M. Nachbar. has been helping families like yours for 20 years now, and he’s here to help fight for the legal rights of you and your child. Give us a call at (973) 233 4049 or contact us online today!
We serve clients throughout the following counties:
Essex, Warren, Sussex, Morris, Passaic, Union, Somerset, Hunterdon. Bergen, Hudson and Middlesex.
We are close by to Livingston, West Orange, Newark, Belleville, Clifton, Irvington, East Orange, Paterson, Passaic, and Verona and more.