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Is the Duluth News Tribune taking potshots at special education?

The DNT has run two recent articles on special education in our public schools. Both articles seem to be to be blaming the current overcrowding and school budget crisis on special education costs.

Special education costs squeeze all classrooms
State rule forces Duluth district to pay costs for special education students in other districts

Now, I am not unbiased here, I am the father of an autistic boy in the Duluth public school system. I am also a home owner and I pay taxes in Duluth. Does educating special needs children cost more? I am sure it does, but by helping special needs children become educated, we are increasing the chances that they can become productive members of our society. Like all forms of public education, it is an investment! My son does not have an aid to help him through the day, nor does he receive any “Cadillac benefits,” he also does not participate in several school programs: He doesn’t participate in art, music, or gym. He does not play any organized sports. If the Duluth school system could become more competitive in offering services needed by special needs students, it would not have to send funds to other districts that can.

It’s articles like these that show why we need federal mandates to provide for our special needs children.

10 Comment(s)

  1. I had two impressions after reading these. One is that unfunded mandates are unfair (a particularly old saw). The other was classic DNT — let’s see if we can pit two groups against each other instead of looking for common ground that helps every one.

    TimK | Mar 25, 2013 | New Comment
  2. As a current Masters of Education student I can say what the DNT is writing about is pretty spot on. It isn’t a pot shot at all, it is an issue that all school districts face, special needs children cost a lot more money to educate. Also, helping special needs kids is already federally mandated through Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and individualized education programs.

    nss | Mar 25, 2013 | New Comment
  3. But a thoughtful analysis would look at places where there is a model that works so that all students have access to quality education and services with adequate funding. At least they could talk to some legislators to see if there is anybody looking at the issue legislatively. The Trib is a printing company for ad sales that puts journalism last.

    TimK | Mar 25, 2013 | New Comment
  4. It seems likely that the DNT got the idea from a similar story the Star Tribune ran earlier in the month. Getting people talking about mandates that lack adequate funding and helping to make sense of school budget issues is a worthy conversation to have.

    MJ | Mar 25, 2013 | New Comment
  5. Nah, it just gets them noticed so they can be defended because deficit. The “job creators” and the military industrial complex need their tax breaks and tanks. It’s gotta come from somewhere right? | Mar 26, 2013 | New Comment
  6. … let’s see if we can pit two groups against each other …

    Otherwise known as presenting both sides of a story.

    … instead of looking for common ground that helps every one.

    It is not the responsibility of a newspaper to find solutions to governmental problems.

    Barrett Chase | Mar 26, 2013 | New Comment
  7. Wow! I read the comments about this on the Star Trib page and I was disgusted! Granted, special ed costs a ton, but some of the posters over at the Star, some who even claim to be teachers!, would advocate that we all but euthanize special needs kids. Have we really, as a society, become so cold?

    Joel | Mar 26, 2013 | New Comment
  8. In absolutely no way do comment trolls represent the rest of society.

    Barrett Chase | Mar 26, 2013 | New Comment
  9. My wife teaches special ed at a Duluth charter school. It seemed the articles presented the situation factually.

    My only issue is the Duluth school district implying that other school districts “…may just provide the Cadillac of services to (Duluth’s) student.”

    Cadillac implies excess and luxury. Moments ago I fished a can out of the recycling bin for a 10 cent Box Tops for Education coupon. The $250 classroom supply tax credit doesn’t cover all we personally pay for her students. My wife’s students get good care but it’s not excessive.

    Nick L | Mar 26, 2013 | New Comment
  10. This smacks of another womp womp womp to justify more cuts to education…them rich folk are missin out on way too much money. Teachers haven’t been scapegoated enough for the Great Recession. | Mar 26, 2013 | New Comment

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