Crucial Readings in Special Education / Edition 1

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Overview

This thoroughly compelling book is a compilation of 45 essays from experts in the fields of Special Education, Sociology, History, Social Work, Psychology, and others. The selections span all of the disability categories. Its goal is to support a high level of optimism with thought-provoking and appealing readings. Contributors from a broad array of fields contribute to the scope of the readings, enriching readers' knowledge of the issues and ideas involved in the special education arena. Themes include historical and sociological analyses, research and thought, challenges, public policy issues, transition issues, relationships, instructional practices, and social, emotional and behavioral issues in the classroom. While obviously this book will serve special education educators, it can also be compelling reading for those who work in any area of this field, including sociologists, historians, those in social work, psychologists, and therapists.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780130899293
  • Publisher: Pearson
  • Publication date: 5/30/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 626,125
  • Product dimensions: 7.48 (w) x 9.05 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Read an Excerpt

The days of confident clarity of purpose and action in the field of special education in the United States are behind us. In the 1970s and 1980s, a relatively young profession bolstered by new federal legislation and astronomical growth in the numbers of professionals burst forward with tremendous optimism. The reasons for this wide-eyed optimism were many. Legal battles over the rights of students with disabilities had resulted in not only court victories breaking down walls of segregation but also a federal law mandating the education of all children regardless of disability. Funding for research, training, and program development initiatives flowed freely. And a new science called "behavior modification" was coupled with an old science of psychological measurement to form what appeared to be a promising knowledge foundation for the expanding and hopeful field.

But the optimism of a youthful profession soon transformed into the complexity and conflict of adolescence. In the 1980s and 1990s, special educators realized that the victory of a guaranteed education for all students had been only a defeat of segregation. Public education was very willing to segregate within the boundaries of public schools by excluding students with disabilities from general buildings and classrooms. The attention of many special educators turned to the new antisegregation movement—inclusive education. Yet even this goal divided special educators into two groups: those who sought the radical reform of public schools and communities and those who sought politically milder objectives concerning student performance and skills.

Simultaneous to the inclusion debate was the serious questioning of the optimistic sciences of psychological measurement and behavioral technology and the practical value, political leanings, and theoretical meaning of these knowledge bases. Issues concerning quantitative and qualitative research methodologies were just the "tip of the iceberg" as the field ruminated over deep philosophical questions about science and belief.

By the turn of the century, one could look back to view the simple clarity of purpose and professional practice that marked the field of special education during the 1970s and most of the 1980s as a brief stage of innocence in the historical development of this field. What to do and why to do it were questions that seemed neatly settled to the young profession. From that ostensible consensus, it seemed that this profession could move forward toward lofty goals for students and families. By the beginning of the twenty-first century, these very questions—ethical, practical, and political—are open to examination, critique, and discussion across the profession.

The most recent development in this brief history of modern special education is what we call the challenge of disability studies. Quite simply, people with disabilities have united in many quarters to question the ways that they are understood and treated by the nondisabled majority, including the nondisabled professionals who make up special education, rehabilitation, and the other disability service fields. While the young field of special education put much emphasis on viewing human activity and identities from the standpoint of an objective science touted as unbiased and accurate, disabled scholars, writers, and activists have questioned the inherent ableism and overwhelming power of the perspective of the nondisabled professional fields. Who gets to define the meaning of disability? Can one truly understand disability if one does not have a disability? Can a nondisabled person claim to hold an objective, unbiased perspective on a way of living that is foreign to his experience? What kinds of ableism hide behind the social sciences and professions that claim to have the best knowledge of disability? These questions and others are now at center stage as special education and the disability service fields contend with a new level of complexity and challenge.

The naive optimism of special education in 1975 has aged and changed. It is currently weathering into what we hope will be a different brand of optimism, what we would describe as a more mature hopefulness. The field is becoming humbler, more hesitant, more critical about what we think we know. Frequently, special educators are acknowledging that the perspectives on any issue or topic are multiple, and disagreement across the perspectives is a sign of a healthy democracy. In many circles, top-down monologue is giving way to egalitarian dialogue as persons who are disabled and their families increasingly take valuable seats at decision-making tables.

Our goal when putting together this group of readings is to support this move toward a new, more mature form of optimism and hope in the field of special education. We want to do justice to the complex and ultimately uncertain nature of the profession of special education in this current era of challenges and questions. Rather than long nostalgically for a simpler time when optimism came more easily, our goal is to honor the maturation of this field into debate and complication by attending to the widest range of concepts and professional practices possible. Our reason for doing so arises out of our deep conviction that the daily work of special educators and other disability service personnel is incredibly multifaceted and contingent.

In this text, we have gathered together readings that we believe are crucial to the intellectual and practical development of advanced educators working with students who have disabilities. We neither endorse nor reject any of the ideas put forth in these pages. We fully support the necessity of hearing, digesting, and discussing these readings. These are words and ideas that deserve to be honored with serious thought, that deserve to be traded and tested in active dialogue, and that deserve to be pulled apart and unpacked in vigorous criticism. A teacher who takes the time and makes the effort to seriously consider the ideas within these readings opens many doors of personal and professional growth, allowing an opportunity for a deepening and broadening of both theory and practice.

TEXT CONTENT

One logical way of organizing this text would have been to gather readings under common disability headings: a few on "learning disabilities," a few on "emotional/behavioral disorders," and so forth. We have avoided this tactic out of our conviction that a number of serious topics and concerns cut across these categorical subfields. While there are undoubtedly issues specific to certain subfields that deserve our attention, we would do better to wander purposefully across the various categorical boundaries, appreciating the problems and possibilities that exist across the social grain rather than within the standard categorical nooks.

We have gathered readings that address what we consider to be vital topics of concern, areas to which our eyes and minds and hearts should focus, questions that our dialogues should raise and flesh out. Some of these topics are fairly obvious. Almost any special educator would speak to the importance of these. Others are more obscure, bringing forward oftneglected but highly valuable kinds of research and theory.

The chapters are as follows:

• Chapter One—Historical and Sociological Analyses of Disabilities Issues

Often, we have little notion where the current ideas and practices shared by special educators originally developed or how they came to be prominent. Historical, sociological, and philosophical scholarship has often been overlooked by the field as we have prided ourselves on practicality. Yet, as these readings demonstrate, an understanding of the cultural, conceptual, and political developments that surround and inform our work is indispensable to any educator hoping to make a meaningful and ethically defensible impact.

• Chapter Two—Special Education Research and Thought

As noted earlier, the "science" of disability, first constructed and touted by the field of special education, has been critically questioned and reformulated in the past two decades. These readings provide a quick introduction to the central issues that have energized special educators of many ideological stripes.

• Chapter Three—The Challenge of Disability Studies

The new interdisciplinary field of "disability studies" is growing quickly in North America, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere (see www.uic.edu/orgs/sds/ for the Society for Disability Studies or www.aera.net for the Disability Studies in Education Special Interest Group of the American Educational Research Association). These readings provide a healthy glimpse of the central themes of this work and the ways that it seriously challenges special educators to think and act in new ways.

• Chapter Four—Public Policy Issues

From the start, special education in the United States has been supported by legal leverage and filled with policy questions. How should a democratic society best educate those individuals commonly understood to differ in significant and marked ways? These readings introduce a series of yet unresolved issues that are pertinent to special and general educators alike.

• Chapter Five—Transition Issues and Practices

Too often, the field of special education has framed disability concerns as childhood issues with insufficient attention to the lifespan of persons who are disabled. The subfield of "transitions" addresses the practicalities of planning and programming for adult life, while also raising many important issues about the lives of persons with disabilities after they leave public education.

• Chapter Six—Relationships Between Schools and Parents, Families, and Communities

While Individual Education Plans (IEPs) seemingly assure the parents of students with disabilities of a pivotal role in the planning processes, all special educators know tales of too common, antagonistic relationships between parents/families and public schools. The divisions and conflicts often loom large, and the challenges of creating better working relationships continue to confront this profession. These readings call upon educators to question both belief and practice in order to create more healthy and productive working relationships between schools and parents/families.

• Chapter Seven—Instructional Practices

Both the location and the method of instructing students with disabilities have been hot topics for research and debate in many circles. At times, it seems as if special educators are searching for the magic feather, the silver bullet, the cure, the one best way. At other times, the profession is attempting to adapt the most current practices of general educators to a diverse group of students. At all times, how to best teach the difficult to teach is a crucial concern. Given the incredible amount of research on instructional practices, these readings provide a quick but informative introduction to this large area of research and development.

• Chapter Eight—Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Issues in the Classroom

In practice-oriented texts, this section might be called "behavior management" or "classroom management." We are construing the issues a bit more broadly by including a variety of writings, not only about how to lead a safe and productive classroom, but also about social conflict, deviant behavior, and mental health issues. These readings help us explore our understandings of human behavior and the roles of professionals in relation to working with students who behave in odd, deviant, or disruptive ways.

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Table of Contents

Introduction. Examining the Practical Implications of Special Education Paradigms of Social Thought.

PART ONE: SOCIAL, HISTORICAL, THEORETICAL, AND PHILOSOPHICAL FOUNDATIONS OF SPECIAL EDUCATION.

1. Historical and Sociological Analyses of Disabilities Issues.

2. Special Education Research and Thought.

3. The Challenge of Disability Studies.

4. Public Policy Issues

PART TWO: ISSUES AND INNOVATIONS IN SPECIAL EDUCATION PRACTICES.

5. Transition Issues and Practices.

6. Relationships Between Schools and Parents, Families, and Communities.

7. Instructional Practices.

8. Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Issues in the Classroom.

References.

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Preface

The days of confident clarity of purpose and action in the field of special education in the United States are behind us. In the 1970s and 1980s, a relatively young profession bolstered by new federal legislation and astronomical growth in the numbers of professionals burst forward with tremendous optimism. The reasons for this wide-eyed optimism were many. Legal battles over the rights of students with disabilities had resulted in not only court victories breaking down walls of segregation but also a federal law mandating the education of all children regardless of disability. Funding for research, training, and program development initiatives flowed freely. And a new science called "behavior modification" was coupled with an old science of psychological measurement to form what appeared to be a promising knowledge foundation for the expanding and hopeful field.

But the optimism of a youthful profession soon transformed into the complexity and conflict of adolescence. In the 1980s and 1990s, special educators realized that the victory of a guaranteed education for all students had been only a defeat of segregation. Public education was very willing to segregate within the boundaries of public schools by excluding students with disabilities from general buildings and classrooms. The attention of many special educators turned to the new antisegregation movement—inclusive education. Yet even this goal divided special educators into two groups: those who sought the radical reform of public schools and communities and those who sought politically milder objectives concerning student performance and skills.

Simultaneous to the inclusion debate was the serious questioning of the optimistic sciences of psychological measurement and behavioral technology and the practical value, political leanings, and theoretical meaning of these knowledge bases. Issues concerning quantitative and qualitative research methodologies were just the "tip of the iceberg" as the field ruminated over deep philosophical questions about science and belief.

By the turn of the century, one could look back to view the simple clarity of purpose and professional practice that marked the field of special education during the 1970s and most of the 1980s as a brief stage of innocence in the historical development of this field. What to do and why to do it were questions that seemed neatly settled to the young profession. From that ostensible consensus, it seemed that this profession could move forward toward lofty goals for students and families. By the beginning of the twenty-first century, these very questions—ethical, practical, and political—are open to examination, critique, and discussion across the profession.

The most recent development in this brief history of modern special education is what we call the challenge of disability studies. Quite simply, people with disabilities have united in many quarters to question the ways that they are understood and treated by the nondisabled majority, including the nondisabled professionals who make up special education, rehabilitation, and the other disability service fields. While the young field of special education put much emphasis on viewing human activity and identities from the standpoint of an objective science touted as unbiased and accurate, disabled scholars, writers, and activists have questioned the inherent ableism and overwhelming power of the perspective of the nondisabled professional fields. Who gets to define the meaning of disability? Can one truly understand disability if one does not have a disability? Can a nondisabled person claim to hold an objective, unbiased perspective on a way of living that is foreign to his experience? What kinds of ableism hide behind the social sciences and professions that claim to have the best knowledge of disability? These questions and others are now at center stage as special education and the disability service fields contend with a new level of complexity and challenge.

The naive optimism of special education in 1975 has aged and changed. It is currently weathering into what we hope will be a different brand of optimism, what we would describe as a more mature hopefulness. The field is becoming humbler, more hesitant, more critical about what we think we know. Frequently, special educators are acknowledging that the perspectives on any issue or topic are multiple, and disagreement across the perspectives is a sign of a healthy democracy. In many circles, top-down monologue is giving way to egalitarian dialogue as persons who are disabled and their families increasingly take valuable seats at decision-making tables.

Our goal when putting together this group of readings is to support this move toward a new, more mature form of optimism and hope in the field of special education. We want to do justice to the complex and ultimately uncertain nature of the profession of special education in this current era of challenges and questions. Rather than long nostalgically for a simpler time when optimism came more easily, our goal is to honor the maturation of this field into debate and complication by attending to the widest range of concepts and professional practices possible. Our reason for doing so arises out of our deep conviction that the daily work of special educators and other disability service personnel is incredibly multifaceted and contingent.

In this text, we have gathered together readings that we believe are crucial to the intellectual and practical development of advanced educators working with students who have disabilities. We neither endorse nor reject any of the ideas put forth in these pages. We fully support the necessity of hearing, digesting, and discussing these readings. These are words and ideas that deserve to be honored with serious thought, that deserve to be traded and tested in active dialogue, and that deserve to be pulled apart and unpacked in vigorous criticism. A teacher who takes the time and makes the effort to seriously consider the ideas within these readings opens many doors of personal and professional growth, allowing an opportunity for a deepening and broadening of both theory and practice.

TEXT CONTENT

One logical way of organizing this text would have been to gather readings under common disability headings: a few on "learning disabilities," a few on "emotional/behavioral disorders," and so forth. We have avoided this tactic out of our conviction that a number of serious topics and concerns cut across these categorical subfields. While there are undoubtedly issues specific to certain subfields that deserve our attention, we would do better to wander purposefully across the various categorical boundaries, appreciating the problems and possibilities that exist across the social grain rather than within the standard categorical nooks.

We have gathered readings that address what we consider to be vital topics of concern, areas to which our eyes and minds and hearts should focus, questions that our dialogues should raise and flesh out. Some of these topics are fairly obvious. Almost any special educator would speak to the importance of these. Others are more obscure, bringing forward oftneglected but highly valuable kinds of research and theory.

The chapters are as follows:

• Chapter One—Historical and Sociological Analyses of Disabilities Issues

Often, we have little notion where the current ideas and practices shared by special educators originally developed or how they came to be prominent. Historical, sociological, and philosophical scholarship has often been overlooked by the field as we have prided ourselves on practicality. Yet, as these readings demonstrate, an understanding of the cultural, conceptual, and political developments that surround and inform our work is indispensable to any educator hoping to make a meaningful and ethically defensible impact.

• Chapter Two—Special Education Research and Thought

As noted earlier, the "science" of disability, first constructed and touted by the field of special education, has been critically questioned and reformulated in the past two decades. These readings provide a quick introduction to the central issues that have energized special educators of many ideological stripes.

• Chapter Three—The Challenge of Disability Studies

The new interdisciplinary field of "disability studies" is growing quickly in North America, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere (see www.uic.edu/orgs/sds/ for the Society for Disability Studies or www.aera.net for the Disability Studies in Education Special Interest Group of the American Educational Research Association). These readings provide a healthy glimpse of the central themes of this work and the ways that it seriously challenges special educators to think and act in new ways.

• Chapter Four—Public Policy Issues

From the start, special education in the United States has been supported by legal leverage and filled with policy questions. How should a democratic society best educate those individuals commonly understood to differ in significant and marked ways? These readings introduce a series of yet unresolved issues that are pertinent to special and general educators alike.

• Chapter Five—Transition Issues and Practices

Too often, the field of special education has framed disability concerns as childhood issues with insufficient attention to the lifespan of persons who are disabled. The subfield of "transitions" addresses the practicalities of planning and programming for adult life, while also raising many important issues about the lives of persons with disabilities after they leave public education.

• Chapter Six—Relationships Between Schools and Parents, Families, and Communities

While Individual Education Plans (IEPs) seemingly assure the parents of students with disabilities of a pivotal role in the planning processes, all special educators know tales of too common, antagonistic relationships between parents/families and public schools. The divisions and conflicts often loom large, and the challenges of creating better working relationships continue to confront this profession. These readings call upon educators to question both belief and practice in order to create more healthy and productive working relationships between schools and parents/families.

• Chapter Seven—Instructional Practices

Both the location and the method of instructing students with disabilities have been hot topics for research and debate in many circles. At times, it seems as if special educators are searching for the magic feather, the silver bullet, the cure, the one best way. At other times, the profession is attempting to adapt the most current practices of general educators to a diverse group of students. At all times, how to best teach the difficult to teach is a crucial concern. Given the incredible amount of research on instructional practices, these readings provide a quick but informative introduction to this large area of research and development.

• Chapter Eight—Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Issues in the Classroom

In practice-oriented texts, this section might be called "behavior management" or "classroom management." We are construing the issues a bit more broadly by including a variety of writings, not only about how to lead a safe and productive classroom, but also about social conflict, deviant behavior, and mental health issues. These readings help us explore our understandings of human behavior and the roles of professionals in relation to working with students who behave in odd, deviant, or disruptive ways.

Read More Show Less

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