An interesting topic that I came across while reading the "Teachers, schools, and society" textbook was special education, and how it compares later years to today's society. It mentions bits and pieces of information about how special education came about, and a little historical background of some important information. It was weird to read how people in the 1800's and earlier, perceived this type of movement. Before the revolutionary war, the most that was offered to these students was protective care in an asylum, which is definitely inadequate to say the least. After the revolutionary war, procedures were made to help the blind and the deaf, which was the first step in the right direction. In the beginning of the 19th century was the first time people were attempting to educate these students.
It's good to see that there were movements made at that time, but it wasn't until post world war 2 where the world saw and emergence of new pioneers (Grace Fernald, Marianne Frostig and Heinz Werner) that helped further develop special education. Finally, in 1970, parents took this issue to the courts where they decided on five critical principles of special education: zero reject, nondiscriminatory education, appropriate education, least-restrictive environment and procedural due process.
The zero reject principle states that no child with disabilities may be denied free, appropriate education. The nondiscriminatory education principle states that all children with disabilities be fairly assessed so they are protected from inappropriate classifications. To me, this is important because a correct assessment of the student will determine what the next step will be do helping them. If students were assessed wrong and were told to do certain things they cannot, it's not giving them a fair chance to succeed, and will most likely end up in failure. The appropriate education principle goes along with the first two previously stated. It assures that the student's education will be based on his individual needs. Least-restrictive environment states that children with disabilities are no segregated from the rest of there peers. The ideal situation would be for students with disabilities to work with students who are no disabled. This is where inclusion comes into play because if possible, you want all your students to be together, all doing the same activities. Lastly, the procedural due process principle which entails that family to be notified of any decisions that are going to be made about that child. These 5 principles were passed in 1975 and were recently expanded in 1991 by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The IDEA provided a more in depth description for these principles and expanded to cover all disabilities.
Another positive that came along with the expansion of the IDEA is the law that states each student must have an Individual Education plan (IEP) written for them. This is awesome because the parents can make sure the teacher is doing the right thing, and the parent can see the long term goals for there student. In a situation like this, both the parents and the teacher can work towards these goals which will give the child a better chance at succeeding. In today's society, one in every eight students has special needs, which has grown 30% since 1990. If the number keeps rising, more and more will need to be done to accommodate, but for now things are going good in this field, and the progress made throughout the years is amazing.