I'm so glad my dear friend invited me to guest blog with her. I don't expect people to agree with me all the time, but if I made you stop and read this I've done my job. As long as people are talking about the problem we're headed in the right direction. Thank you again Hun for allowing me this.
So my last blog got me started, and then I realized, maybe everyone is at each others throats because the correct information is NOT being given out. Again this is just my opinion, I’m sure there are many who won’t agree with me, but that’s ok. That’s democracy. It doesn’t matter if you're pro inclusion, pro private, whatever. At the end of the day we all need to have a common goal of providing the best quality of life to our children. Regardless of their label(I’ll touch on labels later on)
First the schools in Manitoba, here in Manitoba we have 686 public schools, which house 13,100 teachers and teach over 179,802 students each year. Now a report out earlier this year stated the government of Manitoba spends approx. $10,000 a year per student to attend public school. Since January the province has announced it spends about 3 million dollars a year in a “bright start” program, which will help students remain in school and graduate. They have also suggested paying students. Yes that’s right. If you want to be a drop out, the government is willing to pay you to finish school. On January 27th, they also announced that they would increase the funding to “special need students”. Apparently since 1999 they have improved the funding for special need students and now spend $186.1 million dollars annually. They have also stated in the report that for the 2011-2012 year they will increase the special needs funding $1.3 million dollars and increase level 2 and level 3 funding by 3%. Now from a bystanders view that’s pretty good, no? If we re-elect the government they will increase the funding for special need students. Hmm it should be a win-win for all special need students. Well as the report in the Winnipeg sun showed, although there is new funding and not just for the special needs department, once you pay ALL the division people, and janitors, ALL the new funding the province announced will trickle down to less than $60 a student. That’s right. ALL the announcements this year, and by the time they pay all the high end people who don’t even work with our children, our children will actually see about $60 in the class. Now I’m still looking on stats to find out how many special need students there are in Manitoba, but I’m going to take a rough guess. If 1-6 students are “disabled” that’s roughly 29,996 students in Manitoba have “special needs” Which isn’t a lot compared to the yearly enrolment. Now take the 186.1 million dollars a year for special need funding, That’s about 6.2 million dollars a year per special need student. SERIOUSLY? Yes it took me a little bit to do that math, but if the province is stating that they spend 186 million dollars a year, and we roughly have 30,000 special need students in this WHOLE province, 6million a piece. I can tell you right now that in my son’s education, he does NOT see 6 million a year. This is his first year in school and all year the school has been complaining because they won’t get the level 2 funding GRANT, which is just a $8500 tax credit to the division. Without the grant he’s not entitled to anything. No 1-1 aid, no modification, no speech, no OT, NOTHING. Seriously? Something is seriously flawed in this system. If we’re spending 186.1 million dollars a year and 76% of special need kids ARE NOT getting help, where’s the money? Even the 34% of kids that do get help, aren’t getting TRAINED help. The province is quick to offer tuition rebates to “in demand jobs”, doctors, trades, ect. But you can’t offer something to interest people to work with our children? I think if this is the ONLY option. Because really here in Manitoba it is the ONLY option. If you home school your out on your own(jeez give me the 6 million dollars a year and I can assure my son will get ALL the modifications and resources he needs..lol), public for our kids is the only choice. Maybe we should have more say. In daycare 2/3 of the staff have to be TRAINED. You cannot operate a daycare full of CCA’s. At least 2/3 of the staff has to be ECE2 or ECE 3. So why aren’t we applying the same guidelines to our education department. 13,000 teachers in Manitoba and how many are trained to modify, adapt, and teach these children?
So again, these are just my thoughts. To the parents that believe the system is working for them, that’s great. The sad part is, for all the fancy announcements and all the “promises” a lot of our children are NOT getting the help. I know of several people who aren’t getting the help. So I think it’s time we as parents step it up and start demanding what our children need. Not just assuming that they are getting the best because personally when my child is being told to “stay home” or “I should just accept this is as good as he’ll get” this is not the best situation.