The impact of funding inequities on education and transition outcomes for special needs students
Frounfelker, Savra A.
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During the 2008-2009 school year there were approximately 6.5 million children enrolled as special education students in the United States. Historically, research has found that fewer resources in schools have negatively impacted students' ability to succeed. School social workers are entrusted with collaborating with schools, families, and the community to ensure all children, especially children receiving special education, receive equitable educational opportunities. With that in mind, the current study was designed to test a theoretical model based on two main objectives: 1) Examining the effect of school district funding on overall school level educational outcomes of adolescents receiving special education services and 2) Examining the effect school district funding has on outcomes for all special education adolescents in a school as they transition out of school. Utilizing secondary data analysis on a data set obtained from the Institute of Education Sciences it was found that while variables associated with funding inequities had an impact on the resources a school provided, the number of resources a school could provide neither directly impacted education outcomes nor did they act as a mediator between funding inequities and education outcomes. However, funding inequities did directly impact some transition outcomes for youth who had received special education services in high school. Social work researchers need to focus on other factors that may be related to funding inequities having a negative impact on education and transition outcomes for youth receiving special education. Furthermore, social workers need to advocate for policies that help reduce funding inequities.