My First Parent: Special Ed-Conomics

I am very nervous. I am about to meet my very first parent of one of my special ed students.

I have worked almost 8 hours preparing for my first “IEP” conference—a time when the teacher assesses and reports on the Special Education child’s progress toward the goals which were set months earlier. The conference takes place with the principal, assistant principal, psychologist, nurse, teacher, and parent.

I carefully and slowly explain each point to the mom, waiting while my words are translated into Spanish. She remains silent during the entire report, even when asked for input. When I finish, I ask her again, “Do you have any questions for us at all?”

Well, yes, as a matter of fact, she does:

“Can I get extra money from the state because I have another one of my children in Special Ed?”

That’s all she wants to know. Not “How can I help my daughter?”, or “Isn’t there more YOU could do to help my daughter?”

I learn that this mom has eight older children, all of whom were labeled Special Ed and all of whom are serving time in prison. (No—I am not making this up.) I also learn that, yes indeed, when a parent is on welfare, the state gives extra money for each child labeled “Special Ed”.

I don’t want to think what I’m thinking. But I bet you are thinking it too.

Special Ed Versus Regular Ed Spending Pie Chart

How Many Kids FIT On That Special Bus?

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