Why do school not help? Why such a reaction?
From their perspective, there are some good reasons. As it can cost $20,000 to over $60,000 a year in educational expenses, such as in specialists, assessments and speech therapy and so much more, even covering medical expenses for any specialized services. And they can accommodate some, but not all in the budgets the districts allocate to each school. Yet, these services, they must employ and that is a fraction they get from the state. Which in California on the avenge is $10,467 per student (2018 stat). However, they still must provide the services when needed. So, they will drag their feet, take months to assess, lose paperwork, will not call you back or monitor the situation. Hoping you will just go away. Sometimes, this has been going on for years, like in our case. To the point, I had to get an attorney to fight them, which was ridiculous.
The irony is I am a Special Ed Teacher, I help other’s kids, no one wanted to help me. And they do not want anyone in their school to lower the standard test scores or make them look bad, where they get their approval rating from. In the process of my fight, I got a look under the murky hood of dysfunction and a total disregard of what education is all about.
Here is what you as a parent can do:
- Leave, find the exit and walk as fast as you can out of the door and campus. I wish I did this a lot sooner. Then?
- Consider a Charter or a private school. Look for a good alternative school. If private is not affordable and many are not as good as a Charter School. The private school, we were in and so many others will not put any effort to help a student with special needs or will lower their test scores. And their teachers were not even credentialed or qualified. Consider this, a Charter School gets less funding, as it comes from the district they are “chartered to,” and they have more expenses like building rents, and still manage to have an average of a 15 to 1 student to teacher ratio. Some Schools have an 8 to 1 or better. And are more teacher focused not administer driven. They have qualified credentialed teachers who are not overwhelmed and frustrated or in burnout. They have a more of a commitment to handle your students’ needs better. And a better handle on what education is supposed to be.
- Move. Find a school district that is good, such as San Marino. And since the cheapest home there is over a million dollars for a small box, it is affordable; well, not so much.
- Homeschool. You can’t? There are many that have their credentialed teachers and curriculum do the teaching and the parent coaches, like a good charter school.
- You like to fight? Then, hire a lawyer. There are ones who specialize in this field and will cut the time of months to years dealing with it this to a few days. However, the school may still refuse to comply and site no funding, which happened in our case.
- Want to stay no matter what? Make it better yourself. Join the PTA, get to know the teacher, volunteer and be their advocate and help them out.
What can a school do?
- What it is supposed to do, students first, teach them, inspire them, awaken the joy and wonder and prepare them for life. Give them the help they need!
- What not to do? Playing political games and use our children as pawns and conduct meaningless social science experiments.
- Do not warehouse them and squash the potential just to collect a paycheck.
I do not want to sound overly harsh, but that is the reality of many school districts and the experiences many parents and teachers I have talked to. But not all schools are like this and not most public charter schools, which are a great alternative. In fact, there would be no need for charter or private schools or even homeschooling if the public schools are doing their job just right. But, since they seem to refuse to, then the American spirit will come up with a plan with alternatives.
Stats from http://www.governing.com/gov-data/education-data/state-education-spending-per-pupil-data.html and http://www.ccsa.org/understanding/faqs/ ($10,467 per student in 2015)
Dr. Richard Krejcir is an Author, Researcher, seasoned Special Education teacher and the Director of a nonprofit that does educational training in third-world countries. He is also a STEAM teacher and a father of a son with autism.