We reside in autism purgatory.
Tucker doesn’t have classic autism – therefore, doesn’t qualify for more extensive services at school.
Tucker still has autism – therefore, needs a bit more support than his neurotypical peers.
This support often comes in ‘non-standard’ ways – in ways that cannot be designated by his IEP. This support comes in more adults at his school, smaller class sizes, more small group instruction, more eyes and ears looking for signs of trouble. At this point – I’m afraid. I’m afraid for him, for our school district, our state, and our nation.
I have really tried not to get political in my discussions and thoughts – but today? Today, I must.
I am a teacher. I understand this gives me a certain bias. I grew up in a home where ‘dollars spent on education are always well-spent dollars.’ I honestly believe that monies spent on education can bridge the gap of most ills in society. Being an educated person reduces the likelihood that you will spend time in poverty, in hunger, in incarceration – just to name a few.
So – it makes ‘simple’ sense. Be proactive. Spend money on education. This reduces the likelihood that monies need to be spent in a reactive way to support those in poverty, those who are hungry, those who are incarcerated. There is proof in the pudding – and not just for the ‘feel-good’ reasons that I tout. For ‘real’ reasons…
In “A Well Educated Workforce is Key to State Prosperity,” Berger and Fisher found Noah Berger a strong link between the educational attainment of a state’s workforce and both productivity and median wages.
- Overwhelmingly, high-wage states are states with a well-educated workforce. There is a clear and strong correlation between the educational attainment of a state’s workforce and median wages in the state.
- States can build a strong foundation for economic success and shared prosperity by investing in education. Providing expanded access to high quality education will not only expand economic opportunity for residents, but also likely do more to strengthen the overall state economy than anything else a state government can do.
- Cutting taxes to capture private investment from other states is a race-to-the-bottom state economic development strategy that undermines the ability to invest in education.
- States can increase the strength of their economies and their ability to grow and attract high-wage employers by investing in education and increasing the number of well-educated workers.
- Investing in education is also good for state budgets in the long run, since workers with higher incomes contribute more through taxes over the course of their lifetimes.
Unfortunately – education is under assault.
Our district needs to cut $800,000 or more dollars for the upcoming school year, and this is not uncommon in Iowa. The added slap in the face? Our legislators cannot decide on an increase in funding for education. They are at a crossroads of a 1.25% or 2.625% increase. (According to http://wcfcourier.com/news/local/education/schools-districts-contemplate-big-cuts-as-they-grapple-with-state/article_ae7384f1-7b5d-5b76-9572-351f2072010d.html)
Either of those numbers are horrifying.
A decision was to be made early in last year’s legislative session. It didn’t happen. Our legislators can’t ‘get it together’ enough to make a decision for our CHILDREN.
So – our schools are in purgatory. Can you even imagine? It’s April, six weeks of school left – and our administrators have no idea what next year looks like.
That image is horrifying.
All of these facts cause me to have grave concern for all of our children – but especially my son who resides in autism purgatory…and now school purgatory.
Some of this money has been recouped through early retirement programs – but let’s be honest. We all know that it will be staff reduction, in one way or another – less adults serving our children. Much of Tucker’s strong educational progress has been due the quality of his school. The smaller class sizes, more small group instruction, more eyes/ears looking for signs of trouble – these are characteristics of his school and have little to do with his IEP. His services are minimal – but they are SO important to keep him on track. To help him keep up with his peers. To problem-solve in the instance that something goes wrong. It’s his lifeblood. It’s our lifeblood.
These are characteristics that are hanging in the balance – because school funding has been made a ‘party-affiliated’ issue.
I’m sick – just sick.
This isn’t about party lines – it’s about our children. All of our children…but especially for my own.
Please, I beg of you – do not leave my son in purgatory. Fund our schools so that he can rise up and meet his potential.