Thursday, February 19, 2009

Drilling Down Into the Stimulus / $12.2 Billion for Special Education

The irony of special education is that children and parents tend not to want an education that is special. The instructional benefits of the classification, including pullout/push-in time with specialists and smaller classes, are typically not embraced by children and parents because of the stigma of the classification and how the classification reifies itself to create internal self-doubt in the child. Ultimately, the classification as learning disabled or emotionally disturbed is often seen by parents and children as more harmful than helpful--and they may be right. The meta-studies of special education conclude that the benefits of special education are questionable. In New York State, the percentage of special education students who earn a Regents degree in four years is 5 percent, a number that’s hard to view as a success under any circumstances.

Special education services might not successful because they are not provided well, and that seems to be the case in New York City, as GothamSchools has posted articles on limited Advanced Placement choices for students in Collaborative Team Teaching classrooms, limited kindergarten options for special education students, and poor data management of special education records. The $12.2 billion stimulus funds for continued grants under IDEA are an opportunity to address problems and also shape a more positive future for special education

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