Last night was interesting.
My youngest son had a "bad day" at school (50 percent on his behavior report, argument with the teacher, lots of tears, and reading a book he doesn't like). It was then, as my husband and I tag teamed dinner, homework, and his paperwork that I realized exactly how much my co-teaching relationship is similar to the way my husband and I co-parent.
I am lucky in that I have two co-teachers, Kami Truax and Kali Truax. Kami is one of the most outstanding special educators I have met. She knows her stuff and is alway willing to go the extra mile for our students. Kali is Kami's service dog. She spends most of her time in my class getting belly rubs and comforting all of us in our day to day trials in middle school. I will admit, I visit Kali for comfort about as much as the kids.
Last night at Leadership Academy, we were lucky enough to host Dr. Matt Fenster who is the director of Special Education here in Bellevue. He nearly knocked me out of my chair with one fact. IDEA is [t]he Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a law that makes available a free appropriate public education to eligible children with disabilities throughout the nation and ensures special education and related services to those children.). Pretty much, that means that our special education mandates come from the federal government. The problem is that the federal government has simply said that the states have to pay for this. The states have no money. for this expense; therefore, our budget for special education was only funded at 56 percent last year. The rest of the money came from the district. This is the epitome of an "unfunded mandate" and it is attacking the most vulnerable of our society. That just stinks and, quite frankly, depresses me to no end.
However, there are people out there working here and across this great nation to help special needs kids achieve and succeed.
I should know. Two of my babies qualify for SPeD services and I couldn't be prouder. They are getting the help they need to achieve as much as they humanly can in life. The districts are doing this at a tremendous cost, but the benefits are exponential.