Funds for special needs long overdue in schools

Funds for special needs long overdue in B.C. schools

To the editor;

Re: Straight A’s: SD73 gets funding” in your April 30th/2012 paper.

I’m a parent of a child with disabilities. You might think I should be happy to see a Learning Improvement Fund to support special needs. The BC Education Plan Fund to help struggling readers sounds great too. Unfortunately, I wonder how much if any, will be seen in our community.  Too little and too late comes to mind after years of struggle trying to get support for my child.

In the past, I’ve seen many reports of funds coming to support this area of need followed by a steady decline in services. I’ve seen teachers concerned about the system failing children like mine. I’ve seen support workers struggling to balance with minimal staff. I’ve seen my child wait for months or even years for equipment to help her academic needs and then no training for the school staff to operate it. I’ve seen therapy support cut drastically. I’ve seen support workers bumped out of positions without any consideration on how this impacts the child’s needs. My child has missed enormous amounts of school and school field trips. This is partly because the school district hasn’t provided accessible transportation. The School District recently purchased five new buses and none were accessible for children with disabilities.

Straight A’s – really? Should the government or school district be boasting about the increased money coming? That increase is a result of operational savings from the teachers strike last month. Is that what takes to get funds for children with special needs? Do our teachers have to walk out and our children miss school?

Our teachers are striking for our children, not to save the district or government money so they can finally create funds like these and expect a pat on the back.

Funds to support special needs are long overdue. Education, inclusion and services for children with disabilities seem to be determined by money, not need. The fund won’t even come close to correcting the problems families face. That being said, I respect and appreciate the team of people trying to support my child in what has proven to be a struggling system.

Straight A’s would not be the grade I would give. Not even close. This system needs a complete overhaul and parent input on why it’s failing. School District 73 and our government should think about some learning improvement of their own.

Rhonda Chandler

 

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