Are you the parent of a child with autism receiving special education services? Are their services that your child needs but your school district is refusing to provide? Have you heard that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 has extra money for special education services? Would you like to know a few items that school districts may spend the money on? This article will give __ suggestions on what the ARRA money for special education can be spent on.
The ARRA funds have 4 principles that are attached to them. Principle 1: Spend funds quickly to save and create jobs. Principle 2: Improve student achievement through school improvement and reform. Principle 3: Ensure transparency, reporting and accountability. Principle 4: Invest one time ARRA funds thoughtfully to minimize the funding cliff.
Funds need to be used for short term investments that have the potential for long term benefits.
6 Suggestions for use of special education ARRA funds are:
1. Teacher salaries and salaries for other trained educators. Possible use could also be trained para professionals that will help a child benefit from an inclusive placement.
2. Scientifically research based curriculums in the areas of reading and math, which are required by No Child Left Behind and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Many school districts are continuing to use outdated curriculums that are not proven to help children learn reading and math. Once a school district purchases the curriculum and trains their teachers the benefits will continue for years to come.
3. Obtain state of the art assistive technology devices and also provide training in their use to enhance access to the general curriculum for students with disabilities.
4. Provide intensive district wide professional training for regular and special education teachers, that focuses on research based curriculums and strategies in the areas of reading, math, writing, and science.
5. Provide intensive district wide professional development in the area of positive behavioral supports and plans to improve outcomes for children with disabilities. Many children with disabilities are continuing to be suspended and expelled for behavior that is part of their disability; though this is not allowed under IDEA. School wide use of positive behavioral supports and plans will benefit all children not just those with disabilities.
6. Hire transition coordinators to work with employers in the community to develop job placements and training for youths with disabilities. This will ensure that children graduating will have a job and a future!
These are just a few suggestions that can benefit all children with disabilities in America. I hope that you will get involved with your school district and have input on how the money will be spent to benefit children with disabilities in your district!