The right to a quality education is one of the most intrinsic privileges of our great nation. Sadly, it is not unusual for this critical expenditure to be underfunded. According to the New York Times, “States cover about 47 cents of every dollar spent on public education, with a further 45 cents raised locally, mostly through property taxes, and 8 cents coming from the federal government.” This can often fall short of what’s needed. And when that happens, the children who suffer the most are the ones whose success is often created and determined in the classroom: those with special needs.
Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act, students with specialized education needs are required to have an Individualized Education Program (IEP). Budget or no budget, our public and charter schools are held accountable and required by law to provide this. But as the needs of our students are growing at the same time budgets and staff are depleting, it can be difficult for many schools to comply.
According to The National Coalition on Personnel Shortages, “Eighty-two percent of special educators across the globe find that there are not enough professionals to meet the needs of students with disabilities. Forty-nine states report a shortage of special education teachers/related service personnel. Additionally, fifty-one percent of all school districts and 90 percent of high-poverty schools report having difficulty recruiting highly qualified special education teachers.”
Fortunately, a solution has emerged to fill in the gaps for schools and geographies that have become short-strapped for cash and quality education: outsourcing. According to Ann Marie Geissel M.Ed., ABD, National Special Education Director for special education staffing agency, Therapy Source, Inc. “If the school is shorthanded; if they’re located in a part of the country where there’s a shortage of therapists; or if they require a specific set of credentials…outsourcing to a staffing agency is often the way to go. An agency is capable of calling upon existing data and experience to fill positions efficiently and effectively.”
Despite the discouraging statistics, staffing agencies have illuminated a greater future for our educators and students. Combining its broad pool of talent and low overhead cost, staffing agencies are able to streamline budgets and enhance the quality of care we may extend to each student.
Therapy Source, Inc. is at the forefront of the special education crisis, says Geissel. “When the budget runs dry, it is often those students with special needs that are hit the hardest. Therapy Source, and companies like ours, help schools to transcend their deficits and tap into the true strength and potential of each child’s future.”
And if there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that our children’s future is what matters the most.
I’m a single mother of 2 living in Utah writing about startups, business, marketing, entrepreneurship, and health. I also write for Inc, Score, Manta, and Newsblaze