Special education is a very important subject area for students requiring special education. Students requiring special education are students with disabilities that cause them to be limited in their educational or physical abilities. Each disability is different with each child. In other words, two or more children will have the same disability but each child will function differently with the same disability. Two or more children will have different disabilities, but each will have his own personality, character and each child may have to be taught differently in order to get optimum results with how they are learning and how they are being taught.
Children with disabilities are put in special education classes and an Individualized Education Program (IEP) is planned for their education. This plan is written up by the teacher and approved by the parent. It can also be written up by the teacher with significant parent involvement.
However, even with an IEP, inner city schools may not always deliver what the parent expected for the child. A special education teacher may be incompetent, lying about the child’s development and not really teaching, but fooling parents and the administration in to thinking the best is being done for a particular child. There are some very fine teachers out there, but there are also teachers who use the system to their advantage like it was just a job. Teaching is not just a job. It is a profession where teachers should care deeply about the students they are teaching. They should want the very best for each child in their classes.
Schools themselves, depending on the administration, may be filled with people who were just able to land a job. They may not always be dedicated to the students they are teaching.
Dedicated schools and teachers needed
Disabled students need dedicated schools and dedicated teachers. Disabled students can not help themselves until they learn how to help themselves. They need the help of their teachers and their parents in order to learn how to help themselves and to get the best education to reach their potential.
Every student has a potential, no matter how lacking in educational or physical ability; or how over-the-top children are in their abilities, such as the gifted students with very high IQ’s who are also special students and need special attention.
The worst thing to do to a disabled child or person is to treat them like they are sick and helpless. Disabled people do not need to be helped that way, for in so doing, they can not excel to their optimum potential. They must instead be taught how to help themselves. When people can help themselves they feel empowered no matter who they are. Being helped all the time is belittling and causes a loss of self-esteem and personal dignity. All people need to feel self-worth and personal dignity.
In support of mainstreaming
Also, special education students are supposed to be mainstreamed. They are really not supposed to be put in special classes. They should be in all classes all other children take so that they aren’t meant to feel that they are different. And after all, children – and all people – are all different anyway so why set the genetically disabled and other disabled students apart from others.
Inner city schools generally group special education students into special education classes. The students with disabilities such as cerebral palsy and developmental disabilities are grouped into a special education class. Students with severe physical disabilities may be grouped into another class. Gifted students are grouped into the gifted class. Learning disabled students may also be grouped into a special class for the learning disabled. Learning disabled students have average to high IQ’s but have difficulties in learning such as in concentration and focus.
But often emotionally disturbed children who also need special education are grouped with children with genetic disabilities, such as developmental disabilities. This is a practice set up by schools and their teachers, which hampers the education of children with genetic disabilities.
Since the only way children with genetic disabilities, such as the developmentally disabled, learn is by modeling, they will model all the worst behaviors of the emotionally disturbed children; and one may find their genetically disabled child coming home with bad behaviors they have learned in school. Parents don’t want their children learning bad behaviors. If anything, they want their genetically disabled children learning the very best of manners.
Inner city schools often get away with grouping their special education students by saying the child is mainstreamed in the cafeteria and during assembly; or maybe one particular class such as music or art, but usually only if the parent requests this.
Therefore special education students should be mainstreamed into all classes. Who knows what gems of knowledge this special education student will learn if grouped into all classes with other students. This student may learn from their peers how he fits in the world and the values of all people rather than what they’ve learned in a closed system that only projects limited values.
One way of mainstreaming for both the gifted and the genetically disabled is to have them in classes with each other. The gifted who learn quickly and know a lot more than the average student will find themselves drawn to the developmentally disabled by finding students they can teach. The developmentally disadvantaged can emulate the behaviors of students who are gifted.
Mainstreaming all students should mean that all teachers will learn in college how to teach special education. Each special student will still have his IEP, but will learn in a class with other students where the teacher is equipped to teach all students including the special education students.
Revamping college teaching curricula
Presently, most colleges are still teaching students the subjects called special education, secondary education and elementary education. These are three different curricula. They should either all be combined or Special education should be combined with Secondary Education or with Elementary education. This way all students will be optimally educated.
Teachers in all cases should be taught how to subvert bullying in their classrooms, the hallway, the playground and the cafeteria. Bullying should just not be allowed anywhere in the schools. If teachers and the administrators really cared about their students they would not allow bullying to go on in their schools. This doesn’t mean that teachers should unduly punish perpetrators of bullying but that they should be educated enough to know how to stop it, how to talk to the one doing the bullying and how to talk to the one being bullied.
As bullying has become an issue in inner city schools and could also be an issue in country and suburban schools, how to combat bullying should also be taught to those studying to be teachers.
Therefore the curricula that teachers should be taking in college should include not only Special Education combined with Secondary or Elementary education; but how to deal with bullying should also be part of that curriculum. Teachers should learn how to teach students who are in the early grades in order to instill in students correct ways to behave toward peers and teachers.
In order for all children to reach their full potential teachers and schools must be dedicated to their students. All students should be mainstreamed and all teachers should know how to teach children in special education.