Insight On Special Needs Education Options: Part 2
In our last blog post, we discussed necessary things that parents need to know for their student with special needs if they decide to let the district teach their kids. We also made mention of the fact that many parents wonder if a private school option will work better for their children. While students with special needs have many protections in a public school, many students excel and grow quicker in a private school. When it comes to private education, there are many schools that are held to state-approved standards while providing a less restrictive environment for students with special needs. Private day schools in Arizona also give parents the opportunity to take control of their student’s learning through Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESA). Private schools for students with special needs are often able to structure their classrooms and curriculum to provide for the unique need of students, while also maintaining state-specific learning standards. Together, these things work well to give students with special needs the best opportunity for academic and social growth without relying on public school environments.
Why Private School Works So Well For Certain Students
Students in public schools often go underserved, despite the best effort of many education professionals. There are sometimes too many students or not enough resources to accurately manage the needs of individuals with special needs. Private classrooms can integrate solutions for a student’s needs, including an adjusted academic focus that helps students learn without strict traditionalism. Schools meant specifically for students with autism, like Lexington Life Academy, provide appropriate positive behavior interventions for students that struggle. Staff in a private school for students with special needs are highly trained and prepared to manage the needs of each unique student.
Private Education Vs Public Education
Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), public school districts are required by law to educate students with disabilities according to a certain standard. These standards are set forth by the IEP team and must be adhered to. Everything must be structured for accuracy and compliance because these schools are funded by the state. However, districts are still reliant on standardized curriculum for all or most students, as well as standardized testing to gauge instruction accuracy and school performance. The problem for special education students is that often times these standards, or attempts to adhere to these standards, can interfere with how they learn. Standardized tests aren’t necessarily to blame. Instead, it may be the environment in which these standards are applied and how a public school must conform to certain requirements for their whole student body over students with special needs.
Conversely, private schools are not directly funded by the state and can have more choice in how they apply academic standards. Proponents of public education are quick to point out that private schools are not required to adhere to IDEA standards. However, some private schools, such as Lexington, are approved by the Arizona Department of Education(ADE) and must conform to IDEA requirements. Approved schools like Lexington must meet strict standards with curriculum, testing, licensure, and administration. An approved school must provide services and education equal to state standards, which means that students receive the best education possible in an environment that works for them. It’s not a bad idea to make sure that you examine private institutions properly to ensure they are suitable, but there are many schools specifically designed for students with special needs.
Private schools like Lexington follow evidence-based practices and provide standards-based curriculum for their students while working to expand a student’s understanding and quality of life. Arizona private schools take students placed by the district, but they can also take students on ESAs or through STO scholarships, as well as students that haven’t received funding from either option but need an academic change. In the case that a child is placed by the parent, not the district, a school like Lexington has more leeway to adjust academic standards to meet that child’s needs.
(If you are unfamiliar with what an ESA or STO is or what they can do for your child, look out for our next blog post on that topic.)
How Do I Know What’s Right For My Child?
There are so many reasons why children struggle in the public education system and not all of them have to do with academics. A student might have sensory struggles or they might be bullied. Speak to your child and pay attention to the non-verbal signs that let you know what they are experiencing. Some students excel in a public school.
If your student struggles at a public school, either socially or academically, it might be a good idea to look into private education. Make sure to pursue schools like Lexington that are approved by the ADE and apply evidence-based practices and standards-based curriculum. A private institution structured to meet your child’s requirements can have a massive positive effect on your student with special needs. We have seen first hand how much a difference our education model has made in people’s lives and why people choose Lexington.
Check out our previous blog here.