Another bite at special education

Today’s Wall Street Journal reports that a “Wave of New Disabilities Swamps School Budgets.” The article features students suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome. The reporter writes carefully, and respectfully, about the challenges facing students, families AND schools when students are too tired to come to school or complete their work. The student featured most prominently in the article received home tutoring, online instruction, and various other interventions – none of which really worked.

As the article notes,” the sharp rise in such diagnoses has strained the special-education resources of school districts, which are legally prohibited from factoring in cost when deciding how to address a student’s special needs.”

I find myself torn about these cases. On the one hand, I believe that every child deserves an education. On the other hand, it seems that well-educated parents who understand their legal rights can sometimes require schools to spend virtually unlimited funds on a tailored education for their children. With budgets increasingly constrained, this means fewer resources for everyone else.

The education establishment’s usually responds like Oliver Twist: “‘Please, sir, I want some more.” But if there isn’t going to be more, or even if we acknowledge that more does not mean infinite, how do we dish out the porridge?

As always, your thoughts are welcome. Here’s the link:
online.wsj.com

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