Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Special Education in Public and Private Schools and at What Cost?

Interesting column by Lisa Belzberg, the Founder and Executive Chairperson of the non-profit organization PENCIL (Public Education Needs Civic Involvement in Learning). She is also an Adjunct Professor at NYU/Steinhardt School of Education.

NEW YORK, N.Y. -- One of my daughters is intelligent, creative, hard-working and highly dyslexic. She attends a private school where class size is often as small as 8 children. My child is truly fortunate because the school has the staff and resources to help her overcome her learning challenges and help her to reach her full potential and work toward her dreams. One thing the administration and parents at this wonderful school bemoan, though, is that our kids won't have nearly enough, diversity among their classmates.
Increasingly, it is the children of affluent parents who can afford to take advantage of non-public special education school options. And while public schools struggle mightily to improve their special-ed programs, private schools, with better student-teacher ratios, technology and greater access to innovation, generally remain the better option to help a child with learning challenges get the help they need. (Not surprising enrollment in special education programs continues to rise dramatically -- nationally there has been a 12.5 percent jump in the last five years.)

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