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Special Needs and Programs


Special Education also known as Special Needs is the practice of educating students with special needs in a way that addresses their individual differences and needs. Classes designed for children who have special needs due to physical, mentally, social, emotional or learning problems. Due to these special requirements, students’ needs which cannot be met within the traditional classroom environment. The Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) defines special education as “specially designed instruction, at no cost to the parents, to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability.”

Under the IDEA, disabilities are categorized into the following: Autism Spectrum Disorder (AS), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Speech and Language Impairments, Intellectual Disability, Visual Impairment, Hearing Impairment, Developmental Delay, Emotional Disturbance, Orthopedic Impairment and Specific Learning Disability.http://www.merriamwebster.com/dictionary/special%20education
The growing need for special education teachers and programs are rapidly increasing. First, the number of students with special needs is continuing to grow, the student-to-teacher ratio in many programs is higher compared to the general education ratio. In 2015, New York City has 282 Charter Schools opened to educate children. How has the new charter schools designed special education services, and do these services meet individual needs of students with disabilities? Charter schools help work to meet the goals and objectives outlined in students’ Individualized Education Plans (IEP). However, just as with district schools, not every charter school provides an appropriate placement for every child. A majority of charter schools have appropriate placements and programs for children with less restrictive environments written into their special education program, while some offer a wider array of placements and services.

Have federal education and disability laws affected charter schools’ admissions, operations, or student performance ratings? What were the levels of special education funding and compliance with federal and state regulations? Is there a relationship between special education funding and special education compliance with rules and regulations? http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/28/nyregion/28specialed.html?_r=0
Second, the specialized lesson plans along with the additional workload and the documentation of their efforts are highly important on a daily basis. Finally, cost, the most important factor of any program. New York City now spends more than $200 million a year on private, special education schools and services since the 1990’s that budget have only raised a few million dollars. For a normal mind that prices sounds increasingly high, but the issue was the amount of children with disabilities has increased drastically throughout the years.

The Craft of Research by Wayne Booth, Gregory Colomb and Joseph Williams (2008) meets the needs of all researchers by guiding them through the complexities of turning a topic or question into research problems. Chapter 3 focuses on how to find the topic in an interest and then how to focus and question in. In Chapter 4 it shows how to transform those questions into a research problem. (Booth, Colomb and Williams (2008) chapters 3 and 4)


Literature Review

Everyone deserves a fair chance at getting an education. No matter your circumstances, such as, being disabled, not being able to afford proper education, you should have the rights to your education. Our topic or main focus is, funding for special education students in elementary school. We are interested in finding if there is enough funding such as affordable access, knowledgeable, outgoing educators who enjoy being with their students, child ratio to teacher, and last but not least, quality time spend with each student. Are they getting equal share of education as non- special education students. In order for us to answer these questions, we will conduct different research and strategies. The research strategies that we will be using are survey for both parents and teachers. The following articles would help us to dig deeper and be able to get more of a concrete answer.

Lack of Special Education Teachers

According to “The need grows for special education teachers in the U.S,” by the College Foundation of North Carolina (2001), the lack of special education teachers has increased. There aren’t enough teachers. As a special education teacher, you have to be devoted and passionate about your job. You need to spend an excessive amount of time and energy into you students. Most importantly, you have to love your job. According to “demand for special education teachers,” by the USC Rossier,(2014) there are various ways in which one can pursue becoming a special education teacher. One must first earn a bachelor’s degree and also a state issued license and/or certificate. Many teachers who are teaching special education students, they lack the various training to be a successful special needs teacher.

Statistical findings

“How many children with disabilities receive services?” According to the statistics on the article, “Fast Facts,” by the Institute of education science, the Individual with Disabilities education act (IDEA) which was enacted in the year 1975, stated that all children ages three to twenty one, with a disability be provided with free and appropriate public school education. According to the article, from the year 1976-77 the enrollment of public school children increased from 8.3 to 13.8 percent. According to, “School-Aged Children With Disabilities in U.S. Metropolitan Statistical Areas: (2011),” the graph compares disability status and types for school aged children inside and outside metro areas in the United States. Overall, children outside metro areas with disabilities, rate at a higher percentage. When the graph is broken down into different types of disabilities such as hearing, vision, cognitive, ambulatory and self-care, children outside the metro area still rated higher. One characteristic is the concentration of population in metro areas, which provides children with more schooling options like private, charter, and magnet schools. While education is pre- dominantly a local issue, aggregating this population to the national level can highlight commonalities across states and metro areas.


According to “Policy effects of special education funding formulas,” (1980) establishes the educational rights of physical, mentally, and emotionally handicapped children and in majority of states now requires that all handicapped children be provided with free appropriate education. In order to establish these goals, the funding provided for special education increased. In this article, they spoke about the four main topics of funding which are, relationships between special education programs and cost, primary funding formulas used for special education, policy issued affected by the funding formulas and lastly the potential incentives and disincentives of the various funding formulas.


Ethical Consideration

Informed participation

As a research team, we will ensure that each of our participants are well informed about the purpose, methods and intended possible use of the research. As research leaders, we will inform the participants that the survey that they are participating in is to find out whether or not children ranging from grades K-6, who have disabilities and/ or, who are special educated are receiving equal programming and funding, as they deserve. The group of participants we would ask to engage in our survey is parents and teachers. These participants would be knowledgeable before taking the survey that it is anonymous and it is optional and also based on their opinion. They will be informed that in order for our research to be successful, the help of completing our survey is one step closer to accomplishing our research.

Voluntary participants

Our participants will be ensured that the survey that is being asked if them is not mandatory. We will make sure that they are fully aware that this survey again, is anonymous. We will also inform them that they too can be apart of our research, beyond the survey portion.

Confidentiality and anonymity

Our survey will be entirely anonymous. Those who wish to share personal information it will be strictly confidential.

Protection from harm

Some participants may get upset over the topic or may have emotional reactions towards the topic. We would assure them that this survey does no harm. It is a way in which we can get better education for our children with special needs


As a researcher or even as any human being, there will be biases. Sometimes we may not agree with someone’s survey or opinion, but as researchers we have to put aside our differences because it’s their opinion and that will help us have a successful research. We will make sure that our biases will not affect our research.

Data security.

All data will be stored safely and securely. Identifiable data will be in encrypted data files. Any type of paper survey and/or video recordings will be kept in individual sectioned filing cabinets. Data that are confidential such as names and addresses will be kept in secured locker drawers with passcode that only our research team is granted access.

Dissemination and use of research.

In society many people misunderstands and misinterpret things. That’s because we all don’t think alike. As a research team, we will work extremely hard to ensure that our participants are fully aware of the concept and the purpose of our research.


Data Collection Methodology


Method 1: What is the specific type of qualitative data collection method you will use? Why?

Refer to and cite an article that discusses the use of this method, and why it is relevant to the study you are proposing.

We are using survey to gather and collect data about the lack of funding and programs for children with disabilities. We are using survey as our method to be able to have a yes, no and why they feel a certain way towards their child’s program or lack of.


Population and Sample

  1. Who is your population of interest?
  • Our populations of interest for our survey are parents and teachers of children with disabilities.
  1. We will not be using a participatory approach, since we do not have students and children participating in our survey.
  2. Sampling techniques
  • Yes, we wanted to gather information based on parents and teachers of children with disabilities to see how the feel about the programs for disabled children.
  • For this sample we are going to use 30 adults, 15 parents and 15 teachers.
  • How many within each category if there are multiple?
    • Just one.
  1. We will be using Purposeful sampling technique.
    • By selecting this sample we have a clear view of whom we want to hear from.
  2. Simple random sample
    • Cluster sample
    • Stratified sample
    • Study site
  3. We will be using schools to talk to teachers and parents along with sending them e-mails to do the survey at home/work.
  4. We want to gather information and research about parents and teacher’s feelings and reactions to programs dedicated to help educate children with disabilities.
  5. We will be studying only one site.
  6. By gaining access to our study site, we need to obtain permission from the principal of the school along with certain teachers to have access to the teachers, parents and classrooms.

Data collection procedures (some possibilities based on my polling of the class…)

  1. We will distribute 30 surveys’ to 15 parents and 15 teachers.
  2. We will disseminate it by mail, in person and also email. E-Mail is the most successful way for us to distribute these surveys’ due to the fact parents and teachers are so busy in school and work and during the day, these participants have the access and the ability to do it at anytime they have a handful of free minutes.
  3. This survey should take about 5-10 minutes the most to complete if the participants want to answer the why part of each question we ask.
    • Include: Sample of your survey


  • Are there enough programs or schools to help educate your child with disability/special needs?

YES                        NO                         SOMETIMES                         Why-

  • Is there enough help to provide your child with disability/special needs enough guidance throughout the school day?

YES                        NO                         SOMETIMES                         Why-

  • Are you ever afraid for your child/student being ignored or treated poorly?

YES                        NO                         SOMETIMES                         Why-

  • Do you think there are enough teachers/aides to help the disabled children?

YES                        NO                         SOMETIMES                         Why-

  • Do you think the curriculum is beneficial for your child/student with a disability?

YES                        NO                         SOMETIMES                         Why-


Collecting Quantitative Data

In our experiment, the independent variable would be the number of disabled students that did not get a fair education or the proper funding for their education. To lead this part of our experiment, we will conduct one on one interview with students themselves on their experience with the type of education they are receiving. We will also ask parents and teachers to part-take in a small anonymous survey. Our control group would be the students who feel that their education is being pulled away from them. Our dependent variable would be parents and teachers who agree that their child or students are being cheated of their education. The univariate tools we will be using to understand our variables would be, both bar graphs and pie charts. These will help us to analyze data from different types of disabilities such as Autism, Deaf/Blind, Developmental Delay, Emotional Disturbance, Hearing Impairment/Deafness, Intellectual Disability, Other Health Impairment, Orthopedic Impairment, Specific Learning Disability, Speech Language Impairment, Traumatic Brain Injury, and Visual Impairment/Blindness.

The level of measurement of our experiment would be discrete and not continuous. The data we will be collecting would show the different types of disabilities who are affected for poor education systems and funding. We will be using discrete data rather than continuous that measures for time. The type of bivariate tools we will use to uncover relationships between variables will be correlation coefficient. It coefficient that illustrates a quantitative measure of some type of correlation and dependence meaning statistical relationships between two or more random variables or observed data values. After collecting our data, we will be able to move forward with our research. If the data collected all adds up to children with disabilities receiving an unfair amount of education and funding, further actions will be taken such as taking it into the hands of higher authorities in the department of education.


  1. Balancing Special-Education Needs With Rising Costs (The New York Times)

By: Baker, Al. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/28/nyregion/28specialed.html?_r=0


  1. Merriam-Webster) http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/special%20education


  1. What is Special Education? (Teachcom) http://teach.com/what-is-special-education


  1. College Foundation of North Carolina (2001) https://www1.cfnc.org/Plan/For_A_Career/Career_Cluster_Profile/Cluster_Article.aspx?articleId=wmpz3NDihGoZXAP2BPAXoj8Gw4PFAXAP3DPAXXAP3DPAX&cId=BI1JKTSUyth8XAP2FPAXn7VPoxI8gXAP3DPAXXAP3DPAX&sectionId=3


  1. USC Rossie (2014) https://rossieronline.usc.edu/blog/demand-for-special-education-teachers/


  1. IES, Fast Fact. https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=64


  1. IES, Fast Fact. https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=64


  1. William T. Hartman. Journal of Education Finance Vol. 6, No. 2 (Fall 1980), pp. 135-159. http://www.jstor.org/stable/40703269?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

BY: Corisa Ramkissoon & Tayla Goldberg

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