In Texas, I guess it’s go big or go home.
The state thought they had squandered/not spent $33 million in Federal money earmarked for special education, but it turns out they were slightly off on their figures. Off to the tune of $200 Million for a total of $233 million in unused funds.
Any state that takes federal money, or any money, meant for special education or anything to do with disabilities and doesn’t use it, simply disgusts me.
These are our kids. “Our kids” as in the kids of this country that we’re all supposed to love and cherish. Whatever happened to “children are our future?” It’s sick to think that the state of Texas decided to reduce funding for special education when they had federal money sitting on the books.
What kind of people do that? Apparently, the people at the Texas Education Agency who seem to think this isn’t that big a deal. According to the Disability Scoop article I read, it seems as if the department is calculating their fines, deciding what other programs they can strip as it’s not clear where this money is, and going about their merry way.
According to a 2016 investigation by the Houston Chronicle, back in 2004 the state put a cap on how many kids with special needs each district could serve.
You read that correctly. Texas put a cap on how many special needs kids they would serve. What happens to the rest of the kids that can’t get served? Well, it’s like taking your old cow Bessie out behind the barn to shoot her because she’s not producing milk anymore. And by that I mean they’re left to fend for themselves and see if they can find the motivation to figure out a way to educate themselves.
Guess what? That just doesn’t happen.
Districts are essentially killing these kids because they’re not educating them in the proper environment for the student and that basically kills any future they could have.
Nationally, the average school district will have approximately 13% kids with special needs. The federal government stepped in and did prove that Texas had indeed put a cap in place at 8.5%, leaving them short by a third.
Now 4.5% may not sound like many kids, but in a district with five thousand students, that’s 225 that wouldn’t get help in that district alone.
In 2018 there were 1,031 school districts in Texas. Realizing that some are much smaller and rural and that others in major cities are huge, let’s take a conservative number of 1,500 per school district. That’s 67.5 students not being served properly in a smaller district.
Now let’s multiply that number by the 1,031 school districts so we can really see what this means in real numbers.
I suggest you sit down for this.
There are approximately 69,592 students that because of a cap and because Texas doesn’t feel like spending federal money for special ed, will go to school tomorrow without the legally protected education that benefits them and is given to them by the federal government.
If you live in Texas. If you have family, friends or loved ones in Texas, I urge you to share this with them and get them to contact their lawmakers so this can be made right.
If you’re the parent or guardian of a student who has been denied a seat at the table because of a cap or “lack of funding”, contact the federal department of education and tell them your story. Normally I would tell you to go to the state, but it seems as if the state is in on this scam, so going to them would be no good.
This is the time to put on your advocate pants and start spreading the word so states like Texas get the message that they’re not messing with our kids. They can try but they ain’t gonna win, y’ all.
Keep fighting for what’s right and join me back here next Thursday!
What’s Next? Talk with others. Take action.
We are proud of our SOCIAL INTEREST GROUPS—WEEKLY PHONE CALLS to discuss, gain insights, build communities— and help solve some of the most difficult challenges the world has today. Calls are for Members Only (although you can join the first call for free). Not yet a member of The Good Men Project? Join below!
Photo courtesy Unsplash.