Oct 16, 2018, Detroit News: Lawsuit alleges state failing Flint special education kids https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/michigan/flint-water-crisis/2018/10/16/lawsuit-alleges-state-failing-flints-special-education-kids/1660550002/ Attorneys for Flint schoolchildren allege the Michigan Department of Education is systemically failing to meet the needs of special education students in the wake of the city’s lead crisis. Flint's special education population is growing at a time it lacks 25 percent of its special education teaching force, according to a motion filed Monday on behalf of Flint schoolchildren by the ACLU Fund of Michigan and the Education Law Center. Both legal teams allege that Flint Community Schools, in which nearly 20 percent of students qualify for special education, lacks a quarter of its special education teaching force "let alone the additional staff that may be needed to serve the growing numbers of students with disabilities," attorney Lindsay M. Heck said. The statewide special education rate is 13.6 percent. The percentage of special education students in Flint schools has increased by from 14.88 percent in 2014-15 to 19.77 percent in the 2017-18 school year. … "Stated differently, in a district with 902 special education students as of the 2017-18 school year, between one-fourth and one-third of these students have been left with no special education teacher," the suit alleges. … The lawsuit also alleges that in 2014 when Flint’s water source was changed and lead from the city’s deteriorating pipes began leaching into the city’s water supply, the district faced a deficit of $21 million in its budget…. "The severe budgetary shortfalls trapped FCS in a dilemma of the state’s making. Its resources were unduly constrained at a time when ... the district urgently needed to prepare for a surge in the needs of its students," the suit alleges. Attorney Greg Little, with the Education Law Center, said the state needs to provide the financial resources to hire the additional staff or provide the staff to meet the needs of Flint's growing special ed population. … Flint's water was contaminated with lead when officials used corrosive river water from April 2014 to October 2015 that wasn't properly treated. In children, lead exposure can result in serious effects on IQ, ability to pay attention and academic achievement.
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Children today are noticeably different from previous generations, and the proof is in the news coverage we see every day. This site shows you what’s happening in schools around the world. Children are increasingly disabled and chronically ill, and the education system has to accommodate them. Things we've long associated with autism, like sensory issues, repetitive behaviors, anxiety and lack of social skills, are now problems affecting mainstream students. Blame is predictably placed on bad parenting (otherwise known as trauma from home).
Addressing mental health needs is as important as academics for modern educators. This is an unrecognized disaster. The stories here are about children who can’t learn or behave like children have always been expected to. What childhood has become is a chilling portent for the future of mankind.
Anne Dachel, Media editor, Age of Autism
(John Dachel, Tech. assist.)
What will happen in another 4 years? How can we go on like this? This is a national (and international) problem of monumental proportions. We have an entire new class of children who cannot be accommodated by the system: many are manifestly neurologically impaired. Meanwhile, the government and the medical profession sleep on regardless.
UK media editor, Age of Autism
The generation of American children born after 1990 are arguably the sickest generation in the history of our country.
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
It seemed to me that with rising autism prevalence, you’d also see rising autism costs to society, and it turns out, the costs are catastrophic.
They calculated that in 2015 autism cost the United States $268 billion and they projected that if autism continues at its current rate, we’re looking at one trillion dollars a year in autism costs by 2025, so within five years.
Toby Rogers, PhD, Political economist
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