First of all, I would like to let you know that there are many special education teachers who, day in and day out advocate for special education children, and teach your child to the best of their abilities. The fact is that these teachers are not being supported, and are being made to put their license on the line, and first and foremost serve the local high-profile students first. What do I mean by high-profile students? I mean students whose parents are school administrators, lawyers, local politicians, or work for some other local high-profile organization. That’s right, if you are not one of these parents, then you need to investigate whether or not your child is being served properly, according to his IEP. The excuse that the administration give the teachers for this behavior, is that they do not have enough money to hire enough special education teachers.
Let me take a moment here and educate you as to what that statement actually means. Not having enough money does not mean that the state or the city does not have enough money to hire teachers. What it means is that they did not budget enough money to hire the teachers necessary to accomplish the balanced service of special education students. They have budgeted many thousands of dollars in states such as South Carolina, for roads, highways, and research to stop flooding on city streets, and at the same time laid off teachers. Oh, of course they don’t call it a layoff, they cover that by calling teachers positions slots, and just tell you the parents that there are no slots left. The parents tend to buy into what the school system says, because the school system is very good at covering their tracks.
At this point you may be asking how I know these things, and where I was able to acquire my information. I have been a special education teacher in two states and in at least three major counties. I have relatives who are teachers in other states, so my information is about as inside as it gets. In fact you can hang your hat on it. As I am writing this I am in contact with state officials and am trying to create a task force for this very purpose. I don’t know if I will be able to pull this off without the backing of many parents with children having special needs, and attending public schools. Now that you understand that I am in contact with many special education teachers, I want you to know the unbelievable truth, and that is that when these teachers complain that they are serving high-profile cases, and they are not able to find the time to serve others, that do not have parents in high places, they are threatened, they are told that they will lose their jobs if they say the wrong thing, they are given extra work to do, sometimes in an attempt to have teachers quit if they rock the boat.
The teacher knows that the administration will not back them and that their license is on the line. Yet they also know that they will be fired if they say or do the wrong thing. Many teachers have contacted me in tears, and believe me it is not just one or two, nor is it just one school system, but many. The sole purpose of this article is to let you know the truth, so that if you have a child who is in special education and you are not one of those high-profile cases, the first thing you should do after reading this article is get on the telephone with your school system and find out exactly what services your child is getting, and when they are getting them. some of you will be shocked to find that your child may not have been served properly for many months. The heart of the law that protects our special education students is based on equality.
If the state does not have enough teachers to be in compliance with the law, shame on them. I would call your governor’s office, your senator’s office, your state education office, and let your legislators know how you feel about the situation. Don’t stand silent, silence does not change things. Although the school system itself is completely upside down and a mess, overall throughout the country, it is in the area of special education that we fail I students the most. Don’t believe for a moment that is the teachers fault when children don’t learn, and that we have to create programs to keep good teachers and classrooms, and get rid of the bad ones. The truth is good teachers are being taken out of classrooms by mandated education, and in services that they have to perform or they will not be able to keep their certification. When good teachers are not in classrooms, children don’t learn. we all have heard it said that the squeaky wheel gets the oil, well, I am telling you it does.
I have found many cases where special education students have not been served properly since October or November of 2011. if I were a parent of a special education student, I would certainly want to know if it was my child they were talking about. Because the teachers have integrity, and because of the privacy laws, the teachers I interviewed could not give names, dates, or any information other than an overall picture of what is happening to the students and how the administration is putting the pressure on the teachers to comply with the administration’s political agenda. Being an investigative reporter with integrity, I have withheld all names of school systems, teachers, and administrators who were honest enough, and caring enough to help get this warning out to parents of special needs children.