Accommodating eric need special student

01 Mar

Compounding the issue is the reality that students of color are disproportionately assigned to special education.Do the programs perpetuate inequality and stifle socioeconomic mobility? What if the ones who benefit most aren’t the students but the companies that often get to rely on their labor for free?“They have something to prove, and they want my son to be the guinea pig in their experiment.”Many school districts now seem to be pivoting away from full-blown inclusion toward more-specialized options like the workforce academies that are, oddly, in some ways reminiscent of the institutionalization era.Not surprisingly, the same concerns are re-emerging, with some critics worrying that such programs are an extreme form of tracking in which students perceived to have limited potential are pigeonholed into non-academic settings and low-paying jobs that nobody else wants.

A few raise their hands gingerly; some look around, smiling; some stare off in another direction completely.Then there’s the question of whether these programs are truly effective in improving students’ prospects at getting jobs they want.While the country’s schools are still struggling to shepherd students with disabilities into fulfilling lives, experts tend to agree that they’re getting there—and that, with a little trial and error, the newly emerging workforce-preparation programs may be a model that sticks.* * *Kelly Custer stands at the front of a classroom at the River Terrace Special Education Center, gesturing as he walks his students through the math of a problem-solving exercise about money.Historically, specialized programs faced scrutiny for separating disabled students from their peers, a practice that fueled emotional, often bitter, debates over how to best educate kids with unique and complex learning needs.Through the early 1970s, many students with disabilities were denied access to regular public schools and forced into special schools—a practice known as “institutionalization.” Broader stigmas also developed around vocational academies, which, American Radio Works’s Emily Hanford has reported, were perceived as “a kind of dumping ground for kids who weren’t succeeding in the traditional academic environment.”By the 1990s, the pendulum had swung in the other direction: Institutionalization had become a taboo word in special education, and “inclusion”—the integration of special-needs students into mainstream classrooms as much as possible—became the gold standard.