April 18, 2016
DID YOU KNOW: According to Wikipedia, spe·cial ed·u·ca·tion is the practice of educating students with special educational needs in a way that addresses their individual differences and needs. Ideally, this process involves the individually planned and systematically monitored arrangement of teaching procedures, adapted equipment and materials, and accessible settings. These interventions are designed to help learners with special needs achieve a higher level of personal self-sufficiency and success in school and their community, that may be available if the student were only given access to a typical classroom education.
At-risk students (those with educational needs that are not associated with a disability) are often placed in classes with students who have disabilities. Critics assert that placing at-risk students in the same classes as students with disabilities may impede the educational progress of people with disabilities. Some special education classes have been criticized for a watered-down curriculum.
The practice of inclusion (in mainstream classrooms) has been criticized by advocates and some parents of children with special needs because some of these students require instructional methods that differ dramatically from typical classroom methods. Critics assert that it is not possible to deliver effectively two or more very different instructional methods in the same classroom. As a result, the educational progress of students who depend on different instructional methods to learn often fall even further behind their peers.
Parents of typically developing children sometimes fear that the special needs of a single “fully included” student will take critical levels of attention and energy away from the rest of the class and thereby impair the academic achievements of all students.
Linked to this, there is a debate about the extent to which students with special needs, whether in mainstream or special settings, should have a specific pedagogy, based on the scientific study of particular diagnostic categories, or whether general instructional techniques are relevant to all students including those with special needs.
Some parents, advocates, and students have concerns about the eligibility criteria and their application. In some cases, parents and students protest the students’ placement into special education programs. For example, a student may be placed into the special education programs due to a mental health condition such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, anxiety, panic attacks or ADHD, while the student and his parents believe that the condition is adequately managed through medication and outside therapy. In other cases, students whose parents believe they require the additional support of special education services are denied participation in the program based on the eligibility criteria.
According to the Department of Education, approximately 6 million children (roughly 10 percent of all school-aged children) currently receive some type of special education services. As with most countries in the world, students who are poor, ethnic minorities, or do not speak the dominant language fluently are disproportionately identified as needing special education services.
Poor, black and Latino urban schools are more likely to have limited resources and to employ inexperienced teachers that do not cope well with student behavior problems, “thereby increasing the number of students they referred to special education.”
During the 1960s, in some part due to the civil rights movement, some researchers began to study the disparity of education amongst people with disabilities. The landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision, which declared unconstitutional the “separate but equal” arrangements in public schools for students of different races, paved the way for PARC v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and Mills vs. Board of Education of District of Columbia, which challenged the segregation of students with special needs. Courts ruled that unnecessary and inappropriate segregation of students with disabilities was unconstitutional. Congress responded to these court rulings with the federal Education for All Handicapped Children Act in 1975 (since renamed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)). This law required schools to provide services to students previously denied access to an appropriate education.
In 2016 and beyond, E. H. Mott Learning Center will provide services to learners using a spe·cial ed·u·ca·tion model designed by a higher authority. The case of Hamer vs the “system” will be the next landmark decision, reminding us that “all are created equal and endowed by the Creator.
Our mission is to provide learners with “invisible disabilities” the highest quality of instruction, mentoring and coaching to minimize barriers that block positive performance and behavior. Our passion is to nurture learners through intentional, active and creative systems that not only meet but exceed learner, parent, and societal expectations. We aspire to “Pave a New Way” to learning.
Please support the E. H. Mott Learning Center by making a donation to https://www.gofundme.com/ehmottlc-com; or buy a be laser engraved brick in memory of a loved one, in recognition of a special event, or just to help out the cause. Any donation will be appreciated and put to good use!