Wednesday, December 15, 2010

What is Special Education Supposed to Accomplish? Are Our Expectations Reasonable?

Let’s consider two forms, extreme, no doubt, of state sponsored education:
Type A: every person gets exactly, precisely, the same education; they are treated as if they were in no way different; or,
Type B.Every single person is treated as if he or she were in all aspects different from all others -- educational plans would individualized down to the individual.
Some further explanation:
1. Type A will provide 10,000 (or, whatever) hours of a fixed curriculum to the student, irregardless of that student’s age, sex, religion, physical condition, or social background.
2. Type B would consider all the things disregarded by Type A and include also so things as student likes, dislikes, desires, preferences, moods, memory, inclinations, knacks, whims, etc.
Note the following things:
a. for neither type of education would there be “special education.”; type A rules it out; type B goes far beyond what special education would do.
b. Type A would probably be quite cheaper than Type B.
Type B would not only be very expensive but it is far from clear where the instructional services would come from or what would count as a curriculum.
c. People would probably reject both types as undesirable but for very different reasons.
What would some of those reasons be? Could you flesh out these two types so as to make it more obvious what their good or bad points are?

What is so good about our schools now that type A or B would be unacceptable? What is so bad about them that special education is necessary?

To examine these issues further, see Special Education: misgivings and reconsiderations

--- EGR

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