Philosophy of Special Education The process of evolution special education is mostly a hidden process. Rarely are heard the opinions of those who were students in this system. Yet during the 20th century a great number of children were recognized as having learning difficulties and directed in segregated special schools. The 1944 Education Act established a compulsory secondary education for all children excepting (until 1970) the children with heavy learning problems. The 1981 Education Act considered a course of this ‘inclusive’ philosophy with the abatement of categories of special educational necessity and an assessment policy grounded distinctly upon the idea of a sequence of educational necessity (Armstrong, 2004, p. 4).
“There are important continuities in special educational policy as well as some significant divergences, yet little is known about the experiences and perspectives of those who were ‘included’ within the special education sector as a result of these policy shifts” (Stough & Palmer, 2003, p. 206).
Special education, like many other social phenomena, is the result of competing and usually contrary ideas, practices, philosophies, theories, social interests and policies. Despite the fact that there are a lot of variations and coincidence between them, three theories particularly can be considered as having influenced gravely upon the evolutionary course of special education (Gallagher, 1998, p. 107).
The Term Paper on The ten educational philosophies and educational theorists and their contributions
Social reconstructionism is a philosophy that emphasizes the addressing of social questions and a quest to create a better society and worldwide democracy. Reconstructionist educators focus on a curriculum that highlights social reform as the aim of education. Rather than "teaching as banking," in which the educator deposits information into students' heads, social reconstructionism saw teaching ...
The first of these is a theory of exclusion and segregation, which was founded on the base of the eugenics thoughts of the 19th and early 20th centuries.
The second is a theory of ‘normalization’, which influenced educational policy in the second half of the twentieth century. More recently an idea of ‘inclusion’ has obtained its prominence, especially in the critical literature on special education as well as in the rhetoric, at least, of school practices and government policies (Berlau, 2001, p. 20).
For example, Kauffman suggests that children with EBD (emotional and behavioral disorders) are “under identified”, though possibly the sticking point is not so much in “under or over identification” (Kauffman, 199, p. 244).
There is a point of view that the problem is more with the very concept of identification itself and what is seems to imply for many people. Identification in special education, has, in general, appeared to be a dirty word. “It allegedly perpetuates the negativity of labeling, the segregation of those with disabilities from those without them, and, for many in our field, is the ultimate stigma whereby children are doomed to the “special education hell” of academic and interpersonal failure” (Mostert, 2004, p.
Though, for example, Lipsky & Gartner (1996, p. 767) consider: “Special education plays a sorting role, both for those consigned to it and for those students who remain in general education. It limits expectations of the former, and gnarls the attitudes of the latter….Thus, the system of special education, and the attitude towards disability that undergird it, have harmful consequence for both those labeled “disabled” and those not. Among those labeled their capacity is denied and, thus, expectations of them are limited. Those not labeled are encouraged to believe that people with disabilities are limited and, thus, they are encouraged to offer sympathy toward, but not to value the participation of, persons with disabilities. Neither view provides a basis for a society of inclusion and equity”. For instance, through Ulrich Beck’s (1992) idea of the “risk society”, the theory of “inclusion” may be viewed as basing on an alternative articulation of the “issue” as one of “risk management” or, saying in other words, as the “management of excluded populations”.
Creation v. Evolution: An Educational View Many words have been written about the origins of things. Numerous ancient people believed that several powerful gods were responsible for creating human beings (Warburton 12). Another theory is parallel evolution, humans evolving simultaneously in several parts of the world (Allman, 54). The metaphysical assumptions and moral implications demonstrated in ...
The extremely powerful eugenics philosophy of the late 19th and early 20th centuries has resulted in a lasting influence upon educational policy. On the other hand it was grounded on the opinion that the only way to preclude “physical, mental and moral contamination” of the “healthy” population was to recognize and segregate those who were viewed as ‘”degenerate”, preventing them from breeding (Gallagher, 1998, p. 384).
In the 2nd half of the 20th century this philosophy was replaced by the theory of “normalization”, which admitted the educational needs of children with learning difficulties and suggested schooling opportunities, mostly within a highly expanded segregate special school system. From the 1970s much interest was shown in the policies of integration and this theory was taken up in the Warnock Committee’s Report on Special Educational Needs (Armstrong, 2004, p. 5).
Later, “inclusive” education has formed an important policy theory. Just after the 1981 Education Act there were some signs of a curtailment in segregated placements but it was in the 1990s that new philosophy began to develop around “inclusive education”, informed particularly by the life experiences of people with EBD and their struggles for human rights (Berlau, 2004, p. 95).
“However, running parallel to this latter discourse, the 1980s saw a significant shift in educational policy towards marketisation of educational services and an audit-based culture of accountability. The apparent dichotomy between these two perspectives has led to questioning of the ‘assimilationist’ objectives that seem to underpin ‘inclusive’ policies” (Mostert, 2004, p. 311).
“Rights talk seeps into spheres of American society where a sense of personal responsibility and of civic obligation traditionally have been nourished. An intemperate rhetoric of personal liberty in this way corrodes the social foundations on which individual freedom and security ultimately rest.” Because I agree with this quote, I firmly resolve the resolution that establishing a safe ...
These contradictory theories have created the background against which practical fights over the meaning and aim of educational policy have been fulfilled out: what Gillian Fulcher (1989) has named ‘enacted’ philosophy.
The expanding of special education in the 19th and 20th centuries cannot be viewed without the wider context of the contested aims and structures of the education system as a whole. As we’ve mentioned above much of the history of special education has been a “hidden history”. The history that has been interpreted has to a great extent been that of the policy makers and the professionals who have created the edifice of special education. Thousands of opinions have gone unnoticed in this ‘official’ history: particularly, the opinions of those whose life roads have been mostly damaged, that is, those who were recognized and categorized as being ‘in need’ (Armstrong, 2004, p. 9).
Felicity Armstrong (2002, p.
437) has argued: “Historical accounts which trace the development of special education only through formal policy making and its documents (i.e. education acts, policy documents) leave out the messiness, variety and unpredictability of policies as they are enacted through social practice. Social practices are socially and culturally rooted within particular political, temporal and spatial contexts. Importantly, what is going on, where, who is involved and in what historical period are all crucial elements in the unraveling of social practice”. References Armstrong, D. (2004).
Experiences of Special Education: Re-Evaluating Policy and Practice through Life Stories. New York: RoutledgeFalmer.
Armstrong, F. (2002) ‘The historical development of special education: humanitarian rationality or “wild profusion of entangled events”?’ History of Education, 31 (5).
Beck, U. (1992) Risk Society: Towards a New Modernity. Mark Ritter, London: Sage. Berlau, J. (2001, June 4).
Special Education for Everybody? Insight on the News, 17, 20.
Through the prism of juvenile justice, Feld (2003) discusses the historical and contemporary roots of liberalism and conservatism as they affect criminal justice in the United States. Summarize these historical roots and comment on their impact on contemporary criminal justice. Does Feld’s article reflect an ideological bias? If so, what is it and why do you think so? Feld`s article about ...
Fulcher, G. (1989) Disabling Policies: A Comparative Approach to Educational Policy and Disability, Lewes: Falmer Press. Gallagher, D. J. (1998).
The Scientific Knowledge Base of Special Education: Do We Know What We Think We Know?.
Exceptional Children, 64(4).
Kauffman, J. M. (1999).
Commentary: Today’s Special Education and Its Messages for Tomorrow. Journal of Special Education, 32(4).
K. & Gartner, A. (1996).
Inclusion, school restructuring, and the remaking of American society. Harvard Educational Review, 66, 762-796. Mostert, M. P. (2004).
A Response to Kauffman’s the Devaluation of Special Education. Education & Treatment of Children, 27(4), 325+. Stough, L. M., & Palmer, D. J. (2003).
Special Thinking in Special Settings: A Qualitative Study of Expert Special Educators. Journal of Special Education, 36(4), 206+..