Underfunded, Understaffed, and Abandoned

The United States’ educational systems have an ethical responsibility to offer equal educational opportunities to all children across the nation. Unfortunately, due to funding and politics this is often not the case. One demographic, special needs students, fails to be offered the same opportunities by federal/state governments. This lack of care, education, and empathy often sets these students up for failure in the future.

According to the National Center of Education Statistics, 13% of all public-school students ages 3-21 are receiving special education services. Out of these students, 34% have specific learning disabilities. (NCES, 2018) In other words, there are over 6.7 million students who depending on their local school systems may be able to pursue a standard career and life, or will be unable to hold a career and ability to pursue additional educational goals in the future.

Currently many schools are simply underfunded, the Michigan special education system is currently underfunded by $700,000,000 for example. (Detroit Free Press, 2017) This lack of funding means less special needs instructors, aides, and programs. Individuals with special needs education career experience are also less likely to want to move to an area in the country that pays them significantly less. The long-term impacts of a failing system like Michigan’s are going to have a lasting effect on the unfortunate students that are forced to suffer through their sub-par education system.

Bandura was important in the studies of observational learning, and that humans model behavior based on observations. This information applies to social behaviors significantly. A special needs student who is unable to attend classes with students without special needs would be isolated and segregated from the rest. This would prevent exposure to social interactions and settings that would potentially lead to important developmental progress. An individual who cannot be exposed to normal social settings will not be able to act perceivably “normal” in future social settings when inevitably exposed to them. This stunted social development may make finding a career later in life both impossible and frightening for that individual.

Special needs students should be presented a fair chance and opportunity to have a future in our country like every other student. The lack of funding presented by both federal and state governments presents a problem both ethically and academically for these special needs students. In order to prevent the increasingly large problems this may cause the government needs to put politics aside and increase funding to underfunded school systems.


Detroit Free Press. (2018, October 02). Michigan’s special education efforts near bottom in nation: U.S. report. Retrieved from https://www.freep.com/story/news/education/2018/10/02/michigan-special-education/1425314002/

National Center of Education Statistics. (2018). Retrieved October 28, 2018, from https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator_cgg.asp

Nelson, A. (2018). Lesson 10: Education . Retrieved October 28, 2018, from https://psu.instructure.com/courses/1942493/modules/items/25002539

Schneider, F.W., Gruman, J.A., Coutts, L.M. (2012). Applied Social Psychology: Understanding and Addressing Social and Practical Problems (2nd ed).  Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.


1 comment

  1. Hi!

    It’s truly heartbreaking to read this information, but so important. Thank you for sharing! Politics do need to be put aside and funding needs to be increased. ALL students deserve a fair chance at education in order to be successful in the future. What exactly is preventing the funds for the school systems? I will have to find some time to read about this because I don’t understand why the government isn’t helping the schools, especially special needs students, as well as teachers. Money should be taking out of somewhere else and put into the school system because education is one of the most important things, if not the most important. Without an education we wouldn’t be able to go as far in life. Special needs students deserve the best education possible and should never be treated as “less-than”. By not attempting to provide better funds, that is exactly what the government is telling them.


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