Ask Dr. Blank: Students with physical disabilities require certain technologies to keep up with other classmates. How can we make sure these technologies are readily available in every school in America?

This is an excellent question—but one that unfortunately cannot receive an upbeat response.  American education varies greatly, state by state; then within each state, funding is based on local school districts and the tax base that is available in that district. So richer districts have better infrastructure, higher paid staff, smaller class size and on and on.

 By contrast, Finland which is thought to have one of the best educational systems in the world has equal funding for all—regardless of the economics in an area. Equal opportunity has a fantastic payoff for the children, their families and the country. Our federal government can create conditions that would support brining more technology in classrooms throughout the nation (e.g., offering funding to schools/states that meet certain criteria).

In the current political climate, however, increased funding for social services such as education is not likely. Given the new activism that is starting in so many areas, perhaps parent groups will mobilize and pressure government officials at both the state and federal level to ensure that students with physical disabilities have access to the technologies that can be so important in their development.

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