In addition, education has failed to provide those “related services” which serve to improve the quality of life. The most glaring deficiency in programming has resulted in a failure to provide employment skills, which is what parents as well as students say they want and need from education. The situation has gotten worse over time. Disabled Americans are less likely to hold jobs now than they were earlier in the decade. Something less than 15 percent of the disabled obtain full-time competitive employment after secondary school.
With all of the training in independent living, few of the handicapped achieve an independent existence. Studies show that the vast majority, up to 82 percent, still live at home two years after leaving school.
But not only is education failing its special students in terms of desired results, its current efforts give little hope that a special-education wake-up call is in the offing. Teachers, in their efforts to maintain a socially ac ceptable decorum in the classroom, become overly controlling. As a re sult, they tend to subvert their stu dents’ need for independence. And even with new and necessary legisla tion, with the infusion of massive amounts of money, and with reams of research, the disabled are as adjusted as their educable peers were prior to P.L. 94-142, which is to say not much.
Mr. Zirkel is right when he says that pressures are threatening efforts to meet the needs of the handicapped. But his emphasis is wrong. The “pres sures” are not necessarily money and litigation. The pressures lie in special education’s inability to produce. The head-in-the-sand approach is simply a refusal to recognize that there is a problem. Once there is recognition and acceptance of the problem, then special education’s metamorphosis will begin. And none too soon!
Melville J. Appell
The column on private schools in your Aug. 1 issue states that the average annual salary for lay principals in Catholic elementary schools in 1988-1989 was $37,437. According to United States Catholic Elementary Schools and Their Finances 1989, published by the National Catholic Educational Association, that figure is the average annual salary of lay principals of Catholic secondary schools in 1987-1988. Also, the ncea states that the average salary of lay administrators in Catholic schools in 1989 was $25,867. This figure seems closer to the actual average than $37,437.
The column further stated that the median (mid-point) salary for lay teachers in Catholic schools was $19,740. This figure applies to teachers in secondary Catholic schools. The average salary of teachers in Catholic elementary schools was $15,578.
Director of Instruction
Catholic Schools of Northwest Indiana
A version of this article appeared in the September 12, 1990 edition of Education Week as Letters to the Editor