What Do Budget Cuts in Education Mean to Your Family?

The news just recently reported that there are a lot of budget cuts coming for the new school year. There are plans to lay off thousands of teachers, cancel summer school programs and after school programs and increase classroom size. Every parent that sends their child to public school should be very concerned. The U.S. in its current state is not up to par with education and making such drastic cuts can only be detrimental to future generations.

Once these budget cuts become effective parents should expect the drop out rate to climb. Programs that offer extra help to students who struggle in reading or math may soon be a thing of the past. This will put a lot of extra pressure on parents to compensate for the lack of support from the school system.

The US Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, is urging schools and parents to do all they can to prevent these changes from occurring. The loss of many of these programs will have serious effects on the quality of the education our children will receive.

What can parents do? Now more than ever, parents must be involved in making sure their child can read before they begin school. Since reading is the backbone of all other learning, parents need to be encouraged to invest some time in teaching their child to read before they even get to school. By sending a child to school that cannot read parents are gambling with their child’s future.

Studies show that a child that is struggling to read in the third grade never catches up to their peers. With less funding and less remedial reading programs, parents are left with no choice. It boils down to this, if you want your child to do well in public school and get a good education, get prepared to be involved.

Teaching a child to read is not a hard or complicated task for parents. A child learns to read much easier in a one on one setting, such as would be provided in their home, with the guidance of a loving parent. Many programs are available to guide parents in teaching their child to read.

Parents should certainly invest in one of these programs and begin teaching their child to read beginning around age 4. With an investment of just 15 minutes a day a child can learn to read well before the age of 5. The United States is facing an economic crises, which will affect those dependent on the public school systems. Parents would be wise to prepare their child for success by assuring they can read well.

Getting Important Methodologies Like ABA in Your Child’s Special Education Program

Are you the parent of a young child with autism that thinks that your child needs an applied behavioral analysis (ABA)program? Are you the parent of a child with dyslexia or other learning disabilities who thinks that your child needs an Orton-Gillingham Based multisensory reading program? Would you like to learn how to advocate for these particular methodologies for your child? This article will discuss what methodology means, and information that you can use to advocate for the appropriate methodology for your child.

Methodology means the specific curriculum or program that special education personnel are going to use, to teach your child. Some of the most popular methodologies for teaching children are ABA (for children with autism) or an Orton-Gillingham based multisensory reading program for children with dyslexia or other reading disabilities.

Many special education personnel continue to tell parents that they have no right to tell them what methodology to use. Below are 4 points that you can make with school personnel to get the methodology that your child needs in order to benefit from their education.

1. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) 2004 states under 300.26 that: special education means specially designed instruction means adapting as appropriate to the needs of the eligible child . . .the content, methodology, or delivery of instruction.

This section is one of the most important clarifications in the IDEA law. It
gives parents the right to discuss the content, methodology and delivery of education to their child. The discussion of methodology is important for all children but especially those children with autism or language based learning disabilities.

2. In a recent court case entitled KL vs. Mercer Island School District found that: The particular teaching methodology that will be used. . .will need to be discussed at the IEP meeting and incorporated into the student’s IEP.

3. Another court case the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois discussed methodology in the case of TH vs. Palatine School District. The court held that the school’s argument that it had the right to choose methodology was not valid since the school district had no methodology. The US Supreme Court decision in Rowley could only apply if the school had chosen and implemented a methodology calculated to allow the child to make meaningful progress.

4. There is no legal basis for school districts decision to not discuss or specify the methodology in a child’s IEP! School districts position on this contradicts common sense. IDEA regulations require that the IEP should include related services and supplementary aids and supports to be provided to the child, and a statement of the program, modifications or supports. It is mind blowing that school districts take the position that it should specify the supports and modifications which may be dependent on the methodology, but not specify the methodology.

If you feel that your child needs a particular methodology in order to benefit from their education, bring it up at an IEP meeting. If the IEP team feels that they do not have to put the methodology in your child’s IEP, bring up all of the 4 points above! Put special emphasis on the wording of IDEA which does include the word methodologies. You may have to fight for a particular methodology that your child needs, but it will be well worth it!

Special Education Acronyms – What Do All Those Letters Mean?

Do you sometimes wonder what some of the Acronyms in special education mean? Do the acronyms make your head spin? This article will discuss common special education acronyms and what they mean. This will make it easier for you to actively participate in your child with disabilities education.

1. FAPE: stands for Free Appropriate Public Education. Each child has the right under IDEA to receive a free appropriate public education.

2. IDEA: stands for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act; which is the federal law that applies to special education.

3. IDEA 2004: This is the federal law that was reauthorized in 2004. If you see this in an article, it usually means that something was changed in IDEA, by the reauthorization in 2004.

4. LEA: stands for the local educational agency, which is your local school district.

5. SEA: stands for the state educational agency, which is your states board of education.

6. IEP: stands for the Individual Educational Plan, which must be developed for every child that receives special education services.

7. LRE: stands for Least Restrictive Environment. LRE means that children with disabilities need to be educated in the least restrictive environment, in which they can learn. LRE starts at the regular classroom, and becomes more restrictive.

8. NCLB: stands for the No Child Left Behind Act.

9. IEE’s: stands for an Independent Educational Evaluation. These are initiated and paid for by parents, to help determine their child’s disability or educational needs.

10. IEE’s at Public Expense: stands for an IEE where the school district pays for it. There are rules that apply to this, that you must learn before requesting an IEE at public expense. Many special education personnel try and do things that are not allowed under IDEA, so you need to educate yourself.

11. ASD: stands for Autism Spectrum Disorder, which some school districts use in their paperwork.

12. ADD: stands for Attention Deficit Disorder.

13. ADHD: stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

14. PWN: stands for Prior Written Notice. Parents must be given PWN when the school district wants to change things in the child’s IEP. (such as eligibility, change services, refuse to change services etc.).

15. ABA: stands for Applied Behavioral Analysis that is an educational treatment for Autism.

16. SID: stands for Sensory Integration Disorder. A lot of children with Autism have difficulty with sensory integration.

17. SPD: stands for Sensory Processing Disorder which is the same as above, but some people in the special education field, call it different names.

By understanding the acronyms used by special education personnel, you can be a better advocate for an appropriate education for your child.