Special Education

Special Education

June 20, 2001 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Inclusion and Reform

A recent study highlights the challenges schools face in including students with disabilities in their improvement efforts.

The study, issued last month by the National Association of State Boards of Education, found that schools that had adopted a full-inclusion approach to educating students with disabilities were more likely to consider the students when planning their schoolwide-reform efforts.

For More Information

Read the report, “Implementing Reform: What Success for All Teaches Us About Including Students with Disabilities in Comprehensive School Restructuring,” from NASBE. Copies of the report are available for $12, from NASBE, 277 S. Washington St., Suite 100, Alexandria, VA 22314; (800) 220-5183. (Requires Adobe’s Acrobat Reader.)

NASBE examined the implementation of the Success for All reading-improvement program in four urban elementary schools. The program divided students into homogeneous groups based on their reading levels.

For such an effort to serve all students equally requires changing the basic organizational structure of a school, according to the report, “Implementing Reform: What Success for All Teaches Us About Including Students with Disabilities in Comprehensive School Restructuring.”

Special educators and general educators, for example, need to work more cooperatively with each other, the study’s authors say. Some general educators at the schools in the study said they lacked training in how to teach students with disabilities, the report adds.

Before Success for All, the four schools had not integrated students with disabilities into their general academic curricula, and they used the program to shift the students to the general education reading curriculum, the report says.

But the attitude of special education teachers posed a major barrier to change, it says. Some teachers, for instance, viewed the reading program as separate from their students’ individualized education plans, rather than a platform for working on skills highlighted in the IEPs.

Schools must work from the outset to facilitate the goal of including students in reforms, the NASBE report says. For example, it says, before choosing an improvement program, a school’s staff should gather information about how students with disabilities would be included.

The report details how the four schools studied selected the reform models. The four schools all opted to include students with disabilities, but the degree of their involvement varied, the authors found.

A grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s office of special education programs paid for the study.

—Lisa Fine

A version of this article appeared in the June 20, 2001 edition of Education Week

Events

Teaching Webinar Examining the Evidence: What We’re Learning From the Field About Implementing High-Dosage Tutoring Programs
Tutoring programs have become a leading strategy to address COVID-19 learning loss. What evidence-based principles can district and school leaders draw on to design, implement, measure, and improve high-quality tutoring programs? And what are districts
Classroom Technology Webinar Building Better Blended Learning in K-12 Schools
The pandemic and the increasing use of technology in K-12 education it prompted has added renewed energy to the blended learning movement as most students are now learning in school buildings (and will likely continue

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Special Education 6 Ways to Communicate Better With Parents of Students With Learning Differences
For students who learn or think differently, a strong network of support is key. Here are 6 tips for bridging the communication gap between families and schools.
Marina Whiteleather
3 min read
network of quote bubbles
cagkansayin/iStock/Getty
Special Education New York City Will Phase Out Controversial Gifted and Talented Program
The massive change is aimed at addressing racial disparities in the biggest school system in the country.
Michael Elsen-Rooney, New York Daily News
4 min read
Students write and draw positive affirmations on poster board at P.S. 5 Port Morris, an elementary school in The Bronx borough of New York on Aug. 17, 2021. New York City will phase out its program for gifted and talented students that critics say favors whites and Asian American students, while enrolling disproportionately few Black and Latino children, in the nation's largest and arguably most segregated school system.
Students write and draw positive affirmations on poster board at P.S. 5 Port Morris, an elementary school in The Bronx borough of New York on Aug. 17, 2021. New York City will phase out its program for gifted and talented students that critics say favors whites and Asian American students, while enrolling disproportionately few Black and Latino children, in the nation's largest and arguably most segregated school system.
Brittainy Newman/AP
Special Education 3 Reasons Why Being a Special Education Teacher Is Even Harder During the Pandemic
Special education teachers were often left to navigate the pandemic on their own, a new survey shows.
6 min read
Paraprofessional Jessica Wein helps Josh Nazzaro answer questions from his teacher while attending class virtually from his home in Wharton, N.J.
Paraprofessional Jessica Wein helps Josh Nazzaro answer questions from his teacher while attending class virtually from his home in Wharton, N.J.
Seth Wenig/AP
Special Education Opinion Inclusive Teachers Must Be 'Asset-Based Believers'
Four veteran educators share tips on supporting students with learning differences as they return to classrooms during this pandemic year.
16 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
iStock/Getty