One of my favorite quotes about the media is this one from the movie, Argo: “If you want to sell a lie, get the press to sell it for you.”
This is exactly what’s happened.
There have been decades of decline in the health of children—developmentally, behaviorally, physically—and the press has reported on it all. It’s been endless, even tedious. We’ve been fed a steady diet of autism increases that should have stopped us all dead in our tracks, but officials have never been sure if higher rates mean more kids have autism. Autism has merely been a “concern” to the guardians of our health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There is no need for worry, and that’s how the press spins it.
But it’s clearly more than just autism happening to more and more kids. Mental health is now a major focus of schools everywhere. Social—emotional learning is right up there with math and reading. Keeping kids calm is as important as final exams. The special needs student today is more likely to have behavioral problems than just learning difficulties.
Add to that the stunning numbers of kids with chronic health problems that schools are forced to deal with--asthma, allergies, seizures, diabetes, bowel disease. In-school clinics are becoming standard in lots of places because the need is there.
So why is this happening? Why are children today so unwell? No one is really sure, and no one really wants to find out. Awareness, acceptance, and accommodation are the only things we really care about. I know this for a fact because I’ve been following these stories specifically for a year and half and NO ONE EVER DEMANDS THAT WE FIND OUT WHAT’S GOING ON.
The real job of the media has been to tell us how bad things are and to pretend nothing is really wrong, and they’ve been very successful. We’re now so used to having kids with chronic illnesses and disabilities that numbers mean nothing.
But maybe the problem is that they’re all isolated stories. There’s little national coverage (except for each autism rate increase when all the big news outlets assure us it’s more “better diagnosing”).
No, it’s local reporting that shows us what’s really happening, and if you start to add it all up, it’s a disaster unfolding right before our eyes.
To that end, I went back over stories published just since January, 2018, and I just picked out statistics to show you what I mean. It’s the numbers, the costs, and the increases. These are real and they will only be getting worse, because that's what's been happening for years.
It’s things like:
Winchester, KY: About 30 percent of students in the school district take special education classes…
Minneapolis, MN: In Minneapolis alone, one in 48 children has been diagnosed with ASD, the CDC says. …
Dublin, Ireland: Currently, there are 1,307 special classes of which 1,048 are designated for students with ASD, more than double what it was a decade ago, and The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) expects to open about 180 more next September.
Israel:…Davidovitch found that the rate of ADHD diagnoses more than doubled between 2005 and 2014. By then, he says, one in every seven Israeli children, or 14.4 percent, had been diagnosed, the highest reported diagnosis rate of any nation.
Northumberland, England: Between 2013 and 2017 there was a 32% increase in the number of pupils at Northumberland's eight maintained special schools.
Raleigh, NC: Schools also dealt with a 75 percent increase in student chronic health conditions such as asthma, diabetes and food allergies from 2002-2015….
Dublin, Ireland: Ms Quinn explained how one in five children in Ireland suffer from asthma, some diagnosed, some not.
Presque Isle, ME: SAD 1 provides special education to 18.5 percent of its students, more than the state average of 16 percent and national average of 12 percent. … Wahoo, NE: “Currently at least 20 percent of our study body right now is special education,” she said.
Reno, NV: According to the Center for Disease Control, up to 1 in 5 children suffer from a mental health disorder.
Ridgefield, CT: Enrollment is anticipated to fall 74 students, from 4,912 this year to 4,838 in 2018-19.
Of the proposed $3,922,000 spending increase, $752,000 is for special education. …
Manchester, England: The number of children permanently excluded in the year to June rocketed 43pc - more than half of them pupils with special educational needs. …
Scotland: Figures from the Scottish Government in December revealed that 26.6 per cent of pupils have additional support needs, ranging from dyslexia, ADHD, and autism to behavioural and emotional problems. …
Norfolk, VA: Three to five children a day arrive in the hospital’s emergency room in need of a mental health evaluation, a number that has increased by 40 percent during the past four years, according to CHKD. …
National statistics are showing that 1-in-5 children need mental health services.
York, Ontario, Canada: When the term school violence is used, ...the discussion needs to revolve around the increasing incidents of student on teacher violence, Clegg explained.
In 2013-14 school year, 194 incidents were reported in York Region District School Board’s elementary schools, by the end of this school year, the ETFO York expects to have more than 1,000 incidents reported, nearly double what was reported last year.
Brookings, SD: It’s a start, he said, but more will be needed with a survey finding that as many as 22 percent of Brookings High School ninth-graders have contemplated suicide at one point.
New Haven, CT: … The proposal is $590,000, or 3.2 percent, higher than the current $18.4 million budget. Rising special education costs along with contractual obligations are the driving forces behind the increase, …
The other major factor responsible for driving the proposed increase is special education costs, which school officials said continue to soar. The district recently had an additional special needs student move to Derby, who required placement outside the school system. Educating just one student outside of Derby’s school walls can cost $80,000 to $100,000 in tuition, Izzo noted.
Tuition, in total next year, for special education students placed outside of Derby schools, is proposed at $2.2 million, an increase of 15 percent. ...
A total of $544,599 has also been budgeted for transportation for special education students, which is an increase of $43,000, or 8.6 percent. …
“Sixty-seven percent of the increase is for special education costs. ... It drives the budget,” Izzo said.
Keene, NH: The $282,291 budget increase is driven largely by rising special-education costs, according to budget numbers released by the school board.
just like these from the last twelve months.
Salem, OR: About one in five — 20 percent — youth nationwide are affected by some type of mental disorder to such an extent they have difficulty functioning, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
Salem-Keizer Public School’s rate is even higher — closer to one in four of the district's nearly 42,000.
Students respond to mental health crises differently. But Moore has seen attacks involving punching, hitting, kicking and spitting on a regular basis. Some have destroyed property or choked peers and staff. Moore said about 5 percent, or 2,000 students, in the district engage in that extreme behavior. …
Here are Submission STATISTICS: endless statistics from dozens of stories just like the ones above, routinely reported on by unconcerned members of the press.
Here are SPECIAL ED PERCENTAGE: a look at the percent of students in special education in numbers ABOVE the national average of 13 percent, cited by local reporters with cheerful indifference.
This leads me to another quote about the media from an anonymous source: “The two most misguided notions held in America: Our government wouldn’t really do that to us; if they did, they would tell us about it on TV.”
They are telling us, and that’s part of the cover-up. We've been conditioned to believe that it's not as bad as it sounds or someone somewhere would be doing something--and they're not.
All these numbers should mean something to someone in authority, but sadly, they don’t. . We’ve been led to believe that there is oversight. Someone is in charge. We can go about our lives because other people are looking out for us.