Saturday, May 16, 2009
Let me float an idea for discussion. If a child is being served in a general education setting, and not under IEP, the general education establishment serves whatever needs that child may have when seeking education in the public formal education environment. Consider all the medical, emotional, intellectual, etc., continuum's public schools must consider in order to do what they have been charged to do: provide a free, appropriate, public, education. Most schools where I have worked try, for some sadomasochistic reasons, to use those resources designed to serve the general education population toward addressing the needs of students with disabilities receiving the majority of their comprehensive school site formal education as members of the special education population. This most often results from discipline and/or behavior problems loud enough for the school administrators or busy body general educators.The resources available to the school site and school district toward addressing even the seemingly worst discipline and behavior issues in members of the general education population are quite impressive; they have to be since the courts increasingly require school districts to directly teach all the children, at least children of the general education population. Yet, once a child is made a citizen of the special education population, all the issues, problems, suddenly fall into the domain of special education. The route from gen ed to spec ed is in reality a one way alley away from regular education, FAPE for all, and toward irregular education. The terms "regular" and "irregular" education raise the hair on the back of neck when the uniformed use them referring to general and special education. However, when considering the tendency of the public school system to progressively move identified emigrants from the truely free, appropriate, public, education that we expect for every child in neighborhood schools into a whole new realm of education where accountablility, in the really big picture, is seen as fundamentally different because the children being considered are too different, then the terms regular and irregular might be the intent.