Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Independence Day

Friday is Independence Day. The Fourth of July is a big holiday for our country, and these days we really need a big holiday. Independence Day is also a time to reflect on the concept of independence.
For people with disabilities, independence is an important goal. Congress has stated that encouraging independent living for people with disabilities is the policy of the United States government. IDEA, Section 601(c). Indeed, one of the purposes of special education is to prepare children with disabilities for independent living. IDEA, Section 601(d)(1)(A).
Before passage of the EHA, the predecessor of the IDEA, in 1975, education of children with disabilities, who were then called "handicapped," was iffy at best. According to the legislative history of the EHA, which is quoted in the seminal Rowley decision by the Supreme Court, millions of children with disabilities were then either totally excluded from school or were warehoused until they were old enough to drop out. Bd. of Education v. Rowley, 458 U.S. 176, 191, 103 LRP 31848 (1982). At the time, it was estimated that of the eight million children who required special education, only about 3.9 million were receiving an appropriate education. Bd. of Education v. Rowley, 458 U.S. 176, 191, 103 LRP 31848 (1982).
These numbers are shocking. 1975 was not long ago. Yet we have made real progress since then. Special education may have its detractors, but it is now widely accepted. Very few children with disabilities are now excluded from school. Some still do not receive an appropriate education, but there are now remedies available when that happens. We have come a long way!
I realize that we are not finished. I do not advocate the display of a banner reading "mission accomplished." But as we look forward on this Independence Day to how we can do a better job of educating children with disabilities, let us also look back for a moment and congratulate ourselves on the excellent progress we have made in what in public policy terms is a very short time.
Happy Independence Day.

7 comments:

  1. Love your site. I really enjoyed reading the information here, good stuff.

    I voted for you too.

    Love and Blessings,
    AngelBaby

    ReplyDelete
  2. For a topic over the cool ocean breeze summer months, how about "scheduling." Right now I'm racking my brains out trying to make all the accomodations to the general education classroom schedules. Any past posts?
    By the way, I eat lunch out almost everyday during the summer...see Rickyslunch.com.
    Bruce from LI

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm not sure I get your drift Bruce. Let's do lunch!

    JG

    ReplyDelete
  4. As a special education leader in my educational community, I find it difficult to convince parents, general educators, and administrators that independence is achievable for our youngsters with disabilities. As special educators it is a constant uphill battle. Once we seem to gain some ground, a change in LEA procedures or a newly introduced curriculum knocks us back two feet. Various LEAs seem to interpret the laws (and their changes) differently, while others are consumed with helping the 'almost proficient' students to pass the state tests. So, where does the concept of independence for students with disabilities come in? Do you have any suggestions on how we can work with our parents, general educators, and/or administrators to help them understand our goal?

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  5. Hi JHenry,

    The more severe the disability, the more the challenge that independence presents. I think that this is a long process, and I encourage you to keep on working on your goal.

    Good luck to you and the kids you work with.

    ReplyDelete
  6. PhD Dissertation Defenses – March 2009

    PhD Program in Educational Leadership, Whitlowe R. Green College of Education

    Michelle Cloud defends her dissertation on Monday, March 23rd at 9am in Delco 217.
    Doctoral Committee: Dr. David Herrington, Dr. Wanda Johnson, Dr.Lucian Yates, III - Dissertation Chair: Dr. William Allan Kritsonis
    Dissertation: Factors Impacting Student Success in Grades 6-8 during School Of Choice Transition at Two Middle Schools

    Janetta Gilliam defends her dissertation on Monday, March 23rd at 10:30am in Delco 308.
    Doctoral Committee: Dr. Camille Gibson, Dr. David Herrington, Dr. Lucian Yates, III – Dissertation Chair: Dr. William Allan Kritsonis
    Dissertation: The Effects of Student Engagement and Other Factors on the Retention of African American Freshmen Students Attending a Public Historically Black College and University in Texas

    Robert Branch defends his dissertation on Monday, March 23rd at 1:00pm in Delco 217.
    Doctoral Committee: Dr. Camille Gibson, Dr. Douglas Hermond, Dr .David Herrington – Dissertation Chair: Dr. William Allan Kritsonis
    Dissertation: The Impact of Recruitment and Retention of Hispanic Teachers on the
    Academic Performance of Hispanic Students in Selected Texas Schools

    Eunetra Ellison Simpson defends her dissertation on Thursday, March 26th at 10:00am in Delco 217. Doctoral Committee: Dr. Camille Gibson, Dr. David Herrington, Dr. Tyrone Tanner – Dissertation Chair: Dr. William Allan Kritsonis
    Dissertation: A Mixed-Method Analysis of the Effectiveness of Tutoring Programs in Public Schools

    Jennifer Butcher defends her dissertation on Monday, March 30th in Delco 217 at 1:00pm.
    Doctoral Committee: Dr. Donald Collins, Dr. David Herrington, Dr. Ron Howard –Dissertation Chair: Dr. William Allan Kritsonis
    Dissertation: An Examination of Factors Related to the Job Satisfaction and Retention of Alternatively Certified Teachers

    Rhodena Townsell defended her dissertation on January 26th 2009
    Dissertation: Rural African American Administrator Career Trajectories. Dissertation Chair: Dr. William Allan Kritsonis

    ReplyDelete