Issue 6: Should Special Education be Redefined and Redesigned?

Issue 6: Should Special Education Be Redefined and Redesigned? by Mariana R. Pereira
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Issue 6: Should Special Education Be Redefined and Redesigned? by Mariana R. Pereira

Slide 1 - Tekstslide

Slide 2 - Tekstslide

What do Special Education Administrators think is important?

Slide 3 - Woordweb

"A Surprising finding of this study is that RTI did not rate as high a priority as one might have expected. This is somewhat contradictory to the spirit of CCSS recommendations for special education teachers in both ELA and math which allude to the importance of prioritizing standards for instruction and designing appropriate, targeted instruction around those standards." (Haager & Vaughn, 2013; Powell et. al. 2013 in Van Boxtel, 2017). 
"This sample of administrators agree that special education teachers need to be skilled with adapting both the ELA and math standards [...] a need for more sophisticated mathematics instruction, and deeper understanding of the standards for students with disabilities was implied in a specific PD recommendation of one administrator."(Van Boxtel, 2017)

Slide 4 - Tekstslide

"When asked about recommendations for general education teachers, one administrator commented:
Finding opportunities to weave in Universal Design for Learning and Multi-tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) training and also weave into as many trainings as possible the theme of UDL/MTSS are for all students and that it is not just one more thing you "have to do" for students in special education."(Van Boxtel, 2017)

Slide 5 - Tekstslide

What are some aspects of Special Education that might more urgently need to be redefined or redesigned, then?
A possible list may include: 
1. Money (be it for funding for projects, reseach & qualification, new hires or adequate pay)
2.Time (to collaborate, learn new tools, research and access information or produce material / interventions)
3.Not enough qualified staff members / too many students or caseloads assigned per teacher.
4.Paperwork and burocracy overburdening teachers.
5. Equitability in special education referrals, practice and services. 

Slide 6 - Tekstslide

One reoccurring issue that needs redefining is job boundaries / expectations regarding students with special needs. Too many of our special education staff, who feel overworked and stretched beyond their capabilities, end up leaving the field. Meanwhile, general education teachers might not be getting sufficient training or means to use UDL more effectively. Also, faulty implementation of MTSS, or lack of adequate RTI  knowledge could be jeopardizing supports and fruitful collaboration to boost performance in LRE.

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So where do we go for answers about the future of special education?

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"In education, however, as new tools and approaches are developed and found to be effective, they become the standard of care in some parts of the country, but not all. And the schools they do not reach are not random; they can be predicted by zip code. 
If we're truly interested in equity, we should be sure the decisions we make for all our students are informed by the latest advances in pedagogy, the science of learning, and other relevant fields. We should be sure to cultivate an expectation of research-informed practice.(Berg, 2021)"

Slide 10 - Tekstslide

Issue 6: Should Special Education Be Redefined and Redesigned?

Berg, J. H. (2021) Leading Together / The Role of Research in Raising Professional Practice. Educational Leadership, 78 (8), 78-79. Retrieved June 3, 2021 from

Van Boxtel, J. (2017). Common Core Expertise for Special Education Teachers: What Do Special Education Administrators Think Is Important? Teacher Education Quarterly, 44(3), 57-73. Retrieved June 2, 2021, from

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