If you’ve heard your child’s teachers complaining more than ever about scarce classroom resources – or worse, your child has lost classroom support, such as a paraprofessional or an extra teacher – there’s a reason. The most recent data gathered by Washington, DC – based Advocacy Institute shows that Miami-Dade Public School District has cut special ed funding by over $46 million dollars! And Broward by over $32 million. In my work I’ve seen some kids with Autism or severe ADHD being placed in classrooms with intellectually disabled kids because it’s cheaper than giving them the support they’re entitled to in a general ed class!
How are they able to get away with this, you ask. Well, the surprising truth is that the Obama Administration is allowing school districts, like Dade and Broward, to reduce their special education funding by these outrageous amounts – permanently and for no good reason! No one is sure exactly why the Obama Administration would expressly allow districts to do this, except perhaps to make some friends at the school districts at a time when they are low in the polls.
The details: You might remember that a few years ago Obama granted economic stimulus monies (called “ARRA” funds) in the billions to school districts – particularly for special education and low-income students. That money has now been spent – no surprise there. But during that time – before it was spent – school districts were allowed to cut back on the amounts they were spending on special education because they were getting increased federal money. Well, last June the Obama administration officially told them that they can continue cutting their special education funds even though they’re no longer getting extra federal money! You might imagine that in these tough budgetary times school districts, like Dade and Broward, are just thrilled to cut back on sped funding and use the money meet other obligations.
Myself and others are working to get this changed in the coming years – this years budget is already set – and we need your help. Email the Dade and Broward Superintendents – and your school board representative (Dade and Broward) and complain about these cuts. Your voice matters – seriously!