All parents want to see their children succeed in school with adequate resources to improve learning and teachers that are well qualified. However, children with special needs really benefit the most from better resources and specially trained teachers, who can give them specific attention and help them master skills and achieve goals.
In 2014, three big things happened that should improve special education nationwide.
- Benchmarks Raised. The first is that the benchmarks for special education programs have been raised. The new benchmarks will consider graduation rates and test scores when defining successful programs. States whose programs do not meet the benchmarks three years in a row will risk losing funding. If these new benchmarks were applied to current programs it is estimated that only 18 states would meet the benchmarks, as opposed to the 40 states that met the current benchmarks. The government is hopeful that the programs will rise to meet the new challenges and that students will be the big winners.
- Positive Mainstreaming Impact. The second piece of great news for last year was a study that showed that special needs preschoolers who spent some time in a mainstream classroom had improved verbal skills at the end of the year when compared to students that spent 100% of their time in a special needs classroom. The study also showed that the students without special needs in the mainstream classroom were in no way impaired by the presence of the special needs students. Studies like this will improve educational outcomes for all students.
- Anti-Bullying Protection Clarified. Finally, according to the article in the Huffington Post, "3 Big Wins for Special Education in 2014" by Matthew Lynch, "Education Department's Office of Civil Rights is working to clarify anti-bullying protections for students with disabilities. Assistant Secretary of Civil Rights Catherine Lhamon sent a letter during National Bullying Prevention Month with new legal guidance to the country's public schools. The letter was an attempt to explain that federal anti-bullying protections extend to around three quarters of a million more students than schools believe."
This is great news for all students who need a little extra help in the classroom. The physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy services offered in a special needs setting can really improve the life of students, and when bullying is monitored and stopped more students get the help they need.
If you are looking for a job in a field where you can work with a special needs population, please contact us. We place exceptional talent with organizations in the Healthcare, Human Services and Education environments.
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