Around the world, many schools are struggling with their special education requirements, and it’s the children who are coming off second best!
Trying to navigate complicated special education systems in schools around the world can be a time consuming and often complicated process for many parents. This complicated and stressful situation often adds even more stress to a household which is already close to the breaking point. It isn’t all just about the parents either. For the schools, balancing the needs of all students is a constant struggle for adequate resources, staffing and comes with a heavy load of responsibility.
One district in the United States is feeling the struggle first-hand. South-central Idaho is facing many serious challenges as it attempts to provide all students with the highest level of education possible. The South-central region has experienced Idaho’s biggest increase in student numbers who currently require special education services and every day more student with special needs are enrolling. With federal funding drying up, schools are being forced to take money from their general funds to try and cover the shortfalls. When you combine this with an overall teacher shortage, support staff shortage, and speech and occupational therapist shortage, you’re seeing an education system close to the brink of collapse.
According to a report in January 2018 by Idaho’s Educator Landscape, over 10.4% of students receive special education services. This is equal to the national average, but the region has experienced a 3.3% increase over the last five years. There are several different reasons for the increase in students requiring special education assistance. “We were also under identifying a few kids, at least statistically,” said Kindel Mason, special services director for the Jerome School District. “For us, it was probably that we caught up with the state average.”
This isn’t a new problem, nor is it isolated to one district, state or country. All around the world schools are facing rising numbers of students requiring special assistance. As awareness and understanding of special needs arise, so to the number of people being identified with learning difficulties. One way to address the issue is to promote awareness among students studying to become teachers. If students can be influenced towards special learning roles early on, the number of teachers entering the sector will increase.