5 Lies About Special Education Transportation, and How You Can Overcome the Lies and Get Your Child

Are you the parent of a child with autism or a physical disability, that receives special education services? Does your child need transportation services? Do you think that special education personnel are not being truthful about what the federal special education law (IDEA 2004) says about transportation? This article will be discussing 5 lies that are commonly told to parents about transportation. Also, discussion on how to overcome these lies to help your child receive needed, transportation services.Lie 1: We can keep your child on the bus for as long as we want. While IDEA 2004 does not address length of bus ride, long bus rides can be negatively affecting a child’s education (causing stress, negative behavior).The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) stated in a policy letter to anonymous (1993) that lengthy bus rides may be discriminatory, and may result in denial of FAPE. Why could a long bus ride be discriminatory? If children with disabilities are on the bus longer than children without disabilities, this could be considered discrimination.Lie 2: No one says that we have to provide transportation to your child, and we are not going to. Transportation is considered a related service and needs to be given to a child, if they need the service so that they can receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE).Lie 3: The transportation director makes decisions about whether a child needs transportation not the IEP team. In a document from OSEP entitled Questions and Answers on Serving Children with Disabilities Eligible for Transportation OSEP states “The IEP team is responsible for determining if transportation is required to assist a child with a disability to benefit from special education and related services… ” If your child needs transportation make sure that it is listed in your child’s IEP as a related service (if child not riding regular education bus).Lie 4: The state says that we can bring your child to school 15 minutes late every day, and take her out 15 minutes early due to transportation issues. Ask the school to show you in writing any documentation that proves that they have the right to do what they want to do. In the above example you could ask for “Please show me in writing where it states that our State Department of Education is allowing cutting short of education due to transportation issues!”
Actually the above OSEP document makes it clear that the school day for a child with a disability should not be longer or shorter than the school day for general education students. Since a child would receive less educational time this could also be a denial of FAPE.Lie 5: If you want your child to participate in extracurricular activities then you must provide transportation, we do not have to. Actually IDEA 2004 states that a child with a disability has a right to transportation for required after school activities as well as for extracurricular activities. Make sure that the extracurricular activity is listed on your child’s IEP, and also listed that they require transportation in order to participate in the activity.How do you overcome these transportation lies?1. Learn about transportation requirements in IDEA 2004 (which is the federal special education law). I use the book Special Education Law 2nd edition from Peter and Pam Wright, which is fantastic. This book as well as a lot more advocacy information for parents can be found at: http://www.wrightslaw.com.2. Call your states Parent Training and Information Center (PTIC) for help with advocating for transportation issues.3. Bring all of the above information to an IEP meeting to assist you in your advocacy.Good luck in your advocacy!

The Education System in America

The role that the educational system should play in the live of people is to educate them to be conscious, critically thinking individuals who do not passively accept knowledge but question the knowledge that is being taught to them. Education should be taught to give students the skills and intelligence they need to understand the world and how the world works in order to survive in it. However, the American educational system has been known to produce students whom are woefully ignorant about the world and different cultures. One of the reasons is because the educational system in its current state does not leave much room for critical thinking but trains individuals to be docile, worker bees in a global economy that keeps the status quo wealthy and “others” barely making it. The problem becomes evident if we look at the varied curriculums and subjects that are being taught. There is a lack of emphasis on academic learning, and the only thing that matters is high stakes testing. The schools in this country have become swamped with fuzzy curriculums that assume that through constant testing, students will be prepared for life in a new global society . . . whatever that is.I recently had a conversation with a co-worker and we were discussing how African-Americans were treated forty years ago and I was amazed by her naivety about the subject, considering the fact that she was a college graduate and an African-American. From the moment I entered college, I was eager to explore the history of African and African-American history from a view point that did not make them seem sub-human and college affords students that opportunity. I could not help but wonder what type of history and sociological classes she had taken; from her conversation, none. But the sad truth is that when most people make the decision to attend college, it is for the purpose of reaping economic rewards, not for expanding one’s consciousness.In order for the educational system in this country to produce students who are not clueless about its history and the world surrounding them, it should be restructured in several ways. Parental involvement should be mandatory, just as school attendance for students is mandatory for graduation. Lack of parent involvement is an enormous contributing factor to the current failing educational system. Parents need to instill in their children just how detrimental a lack of education is to their future. Teachers are wonderful people who can take students from the top of Mount Olympus to the cold and desolation of Antarctica but they are there to teach, not parent. Many teachers spend a great deal of their class time disciplining children and playing babysitter, two things that are not a part of their job duties. Teachers need involvement from parents in order for the educational system to work and education begins at home.Funding for the educational system should also be restructured. Public schools are traditionally funded by property taxes which results in a very unequal distribution of educational opportunity. Communities that are wealthy have more funding for their local schools than those who do not. This situation directly affects the quality of education that children in urban and poor rural areas receive. The No Child Left Behind Act will only make it worse because of the required testing and public reporting of results. When parents are buying a new house, they want to live in a school district that has strong test scores. This drives up the property values in those areas, meaning that only affluent families can afford to live in the top performing school districts. This means more property taxes to those areas, while the lower performing schools lose their funding if they do not meet federal standards. There should be a fair tax system for education that is not based on property taxes of homeowners. Government funding, for the most part, is distributed to the various schools by state and local governments and there is huge disparities in this funding based on race. According the text American Education by Joel Spring, there is a gap of more than $1,000 per student nation wide based on race, with large states like New York, Illinois, and Pennsylvania, who lead the nation in their unwillingness to fairly fund education (Spring, pg. 77). Children should not suffer because of their economic background or ethnicity and public education should make no distinction between rich and poor, or black and white. Every child attending a public school should be granted an equal education. Equal funding would grant teachers the proper resources to better educate students. School choice and the privatization of the public school system would not be a factor because under my plan, the educational system in America would be fully and equally funded by the federal government and closely monitored. With the influx of money pouring into the educational system from the government, schools would change dramatically for the better because that is the biggest issue in most public schools: lack of money.The educational system’s curriculum would be changed in order to fit in with the nation’s melting pot of different cultures and ethnicities. From elementary to high school, students are bombarded with facts and figures about wealthy, white men as if women and other minorities do not exist or contribute anything worthy to the history of America. No wonder so many students blank out historical facts: they do not care these fact because they cannot relate to the actors in the story. Student should be required to take courses that have will give them a more in depth understanding of the world surrounding them, courses that will discuss the history of marginalized and oppressed individuals in this country and around the world. They should be required to read books that make them think, not just process information for the next test. If more students understood the values and cultures of people unlike themselves, it would not be easy or maybe even possible for the government to lie and use propaganda techniques to lull the masses into believing everything was okay and its leaders competent. High stakes testing would be eliminated because most of the tests are designed by people who do not have a clue about the demographics, ethnicities or economic backgrounds of the students who are to be tested and these tests are biased against minorities and the poor. If students are to be tested, extra tutoring would be available to students, at no cost to the parents.Having competent teachers, board members, and administrators are also a vital part of restructuring the educational system. Having qualified administrators and board members who know and enforce standards and guidelines is important. What are the qualifications for an administrator? Are there required qualifications? These are the questions that need answers. Just because someone has obtained a degree does not make this person the best for the job. Board members should not be chosen because they golf with the mayor; all board members should have a Master’s degree in Education or have an extensive social justice background. As for teachers, the educational system should make sure that the best teachers are chosen for the positions and evaluations should be given frequently. This would give parents and the educational system a chance to find out what is wrong and what is needed to correct the problems. Public education needs teachers and board members that actually care about the children and their education, not individuals who want the perks of working for school system: summers and holidays off, steady raises and a fat compensation package. American children are suffering due to the inadequacies of the individuals involved with the educational system.The “culture of poverty” theory that has been used by several politicians to explain differences in learning between different ethnicities would be exposed as a blatant attempt by the status quo to “blame” individuals for their poverty if the educational system was restructured to meet the needs of all students, not just the wealthy. Huge educational gaps between poor students and wealthy students do not occur because the poorer students have adapted to their poverty-stricken existence but because they do not have resources needed to succeed in school. If students have to deal with textbooks that are outdated, lack of toiletries, and computers from the late 1980s, their opportunity to advance academically is dismal and their chances of dropping out of school likely.In a just and an equal society, the educational system I have discussed would have already been implemented decades ago but it has not and more than likely will not. In a hierarchical society such as in America, there will always be someone on the low end of the totem pole and the best way to do that is through the mis-education of its most vulnerable: the children. The neglect of the educational system in the US threatens the economic well being of the entire nation. Unless the inequalities in education is diminished and its system totally restructured, the wealthy gap between the rich and the poor will continue to widen and the US will be infamous for being the nation of the undereducated. Spring, Joel. American Education. (2006). New York: McGraw-Hill

Education is the True Path to Success

Government has a big role in providing its citizens proper education. Pakistan has undergone a number of changes since 1980s. Recent policy changes is slowly shaping the nation, making it look more and more like Western nations that embrace “Americanization.” Pakistan is rapidly losing its social democratic status. Unfortunately, the so-called economic restructuring that is currently taking place is having adverse effects on the Pakistani school system and its students also. By analyzing the changes made to Pakistan’s education system we can track neoliberalism’s level of growth in the country. Privatization of education means transferring taxpayers’ money designated for public education to luxuries of the Government, corporations, and/or individuals instead of to public schools, colleges, and universities. For the poor and middle class people, to have access in proper education, government’s educational free facilities are most vital; should be available.It is undisputed that common man creates government. Government exists to assure and protect the will of the people. Contrarily, against our will, almost all our costs of living including cost of education are now blatantly rigged against us. A huge percentage of our tax ultimately ends up in the pockets of politicians. Experience of the past about five years proves that our tax money is not going into our community; it is going into the pockets of the billionaires called our leaders – it is obscene. Our ruling elite have engineered a financial coup and have brought war to our doorstep; they have launched a war to eliminate the Pakistani middle and lower class. They have deprived the people of getting affordable quality education. Private and self-finance public institutes have high fees so the poor cannot afford that fee. Private or self-financing education is nothing but making our country back because not only rich people, who can afford, but also lower class and middle class families also have brilliant children and they want to study further in good institutions but financial problems create much stress upon them, students get a lot of stress, and sometimes it make them so desperate that they think to commit suicide thus who lose the talent? Our leaders, our country!The state of the Pakistani educational system began to change and ultimately crumble after the 1980s. So called reforms have dramatically changed Pakistan’s educational system, both from an economic and pedagogical perspective. There are clear signs that an affordable quality education in Pakistan is under threat. Pakistan’s education system has fallen victim to neo-liberal globalization. Neo-liberalism has regarded the educational institutes more as a commodity exchange and commercial body than as a sacrosanct academic institution or means of social and national integration.It is generally accepted that the educational level of each country have a direct relationship with its development; as much people have access to education, the country has more opportunities to grow. Therefore government has to spend an important part of its budget to provide good educational levels for its people. With the help of Government, the public institutions should promote access, affordability and attainment in education including higher education by reining in costs, providing value for poor families, and preparing students with a high quality education to succeed in their careers. The more hardworking students must be provided with a fair shot at pursuing higher education, because education is not a luxury: it is an economic imperative that every hardworking and responsible student should be able to afford.Educational system is today being formulated only to meet the demands of government to meet neo-liberal agenda. Political leaders have been able to get away with these changes. The quality of education is going down, students are feeling the pressure to get the grades and teachers are left to deal with the ambiguity and the uncertainty of how to achieve the objectives and standards set by the state. This has had negative consequences on the educational system in Pakistan, which are impacting students, teachers and communities. Our educationists and the Government have done nothing to upgrade the quality of Pakistan’s education system.The bitter truth is our corrupt political elite don’t want common people getting world-class education. PPP Government is out to systematically wipe out the HEC’s achievements and destroy it in absolute terms. The poor are more marginalized after education is commercialized. Our children want education but they fail to cope in universities because everything is out of reach for middle and lower middle class students. Pakistan needs highly educated people to deal with the growing political dynamics that prevail – we should not be looking at the possibilities of outsourcing decision-making to external forces simply because we do not have people educated enough to strategize Pakistan’s policies. To achieve this goal there must be affordable higher education in place. The government should also direct its efforts towards villages. It should open more schools and employ more teachers.Opening of schools does not mean erecting costly buildings and employing an army of unwilling teachers who are not fit to do what they are required to do, as had been the case during last five years. Only merit based dedicated staff can make the dream of education for all a reality. The government should provide scholarships to brilliant students. The Government should be committed to placing a good education within reach of all who are willing to work for it helps build a strong Pakistani middle class. Equal opportunities of development to all the children during the period of growth should be the aim of the Government. Healthy and educated citizens are the driving force of a nation’s productivity; the government should invest on this for the people to achieve their optimum well-being. We believe the government has an obligation to ensure that ample funding is made available to education sector. By investing in education, the government will be investing in its own success story of human resource development.