May 2008 Your Turn

Nearly seven in 10 of you (69 percent) said your district does a good job of meeting the mental health and special education needs of your students. Another 25 percent said that you have “made some progress” in these areas but that more needs to be done. None said you have “a long way to go to meet these challenges,” and 6 percent answered “none of the above.”

“There is always room for improvement,” said Illinois board member Katherine Moore. “But we feel that we are doing a good job at meeting the special needs of our children.”

Among the biggest impediments you cited is a lack of funding. Ironically, this problem can be exacerbated by a program’s success.

“Our special ed program is excellent and in some ways we are our own worst enemy,” said Peggy Taylor, a board member from Missouri. “We do so well, more families are moving into our district for special ed services. Our local taxpayers are carrying this underfunded federal program.”

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