Well, it finally happened. The sequester has come, and with it a 5% cut to most Special Education budgets. While that’s certainly not good news, it is better than the proposed 9% cut that had been talked about ad nauseum for the last several months.
The big question now is: What happens next?
For a lot of programs, this cut means re-evaluating how services are offered and trying to figure out ways to meet the needs of students as cost-effectively as possible.
With that in mind, let’s look at a couple tips that can help you meet the requirements of the IDEA law, prepare your students for success after High School, and stay within your (slightly smaller) budget.
1. Don’t Panic
This is most people’s initial response to any type of negative change, but the phrase “cooler heads will prevail” is especially true in today’s economic climate. Tough decisions have to be made, and taking time to make sure your head is clear will help you accurately evaluate what changes need to be made. As Bob Dylan once said, “The times, they are a-changin’” – but there’s still a job to do and we have to figure out the best way to do that with limited resources.
2. Use Assessments That “Self-Administer”
As more and more districts are being forced to “do more with less,” it’s important that you maximize your most important asset – your teachers’ time. When their workload gets increased, they no longer have the time to sit down with each individual student and administer the assessments required by the IDEA law. A student-driven system like Conover Online can help in this area by freeing up teachers to do what they want to do – teach!
3. Utilize Technology
We all know that technology makes our lives easier by allowing us to do things quicker, easier, and cost-effectively. Typing and publishing is much easier with a computer than a typewriter. By taking advantage of cloud-based tools that are available (like Conover Online), you can access assessments anywhere and anytime that it’s convenient for you. You could even assign the program for homework, freeing up valuable class time.
While no one likes to see money disappear from important educational programs, take comfort knowing that there are ways to keep setting your standards high in the classroom and help your students reach their full potential. Feel free to contact us for more information about how Conover Online can help you continue to offer quality education in the face of budget cuts, to students who deserve nothing but the best.