Taking Sides : Clashing Views in Special Education

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  • Edition: 5th
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  • Copyright: 2010-11-04
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill/Dushkin
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This Fifth Edition of TAKING SIDES: SPECIAL EDUCATION presents current controversial issues in a debate-style format designed to stimulate student interest and develop critical thinking skills. Each issue is thoughtfully framed with an issue summary, an issue introduction, and a postscript.

Table of Contents

TAKING SIDES: Clashing Views in Special Education, Fifth Edition

Table of Contents
TAKING SIDES: Clashing Views in Special Education,
Fifth Edition

Unit 1 Special Education and Society

Issue 1. Are Labels Good for Kids?
YES: Gwyn W. Senokossoff and Kim Stoddard, from “Swimming in Deep Water: Childhood Bipolar Disorder,” Preventing School Failure (vol. 53, no. 4, pp. 89–93, Winter 2009)
NO: Scott M. Shannon, from Please Don’t Label My Child: Break the Doctor-Diagnosis-Drug Cycle and Discover Safe, Effective Choices for Your Child’s Emotional Health (Rodale, 2007)
Gwyn W. Senokossoff, an instructor in childhood education and literacy, and Kim Stoddard, associate professor in special education (both at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg), describe the first author’s struggles to find a diagnosis, appropriate intervention, and support for her son with childhood bipolar disorder. Scott M. Shannon, psychiatrist and former president of the American Holistic Medical Association, explains why he believes it is advantageous to look for ways to relieve stressors in a child’s environment rather than seek a label, which might do more harm than good.
Issue 2. Does IDEA 2004 Contain Substantial Changes?
YES: H. Rutherford Turnbull III, from “Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Reauthorization: Accountability and Personal Responsibility,” Remedial and Special Education (November/December 2005), 320–326
NO: Tom E. C. Smith, from “IDEA 2004: Another Round in the Reauthorization Process,” Remedial and Special Education (November/December 2005) 314–319
H. Rutherford Turnbull III, cofounder and codirector of the Beach Center on Disability at the University of Kansas, sees major changes in IDEA 2004. In line with the Bush administration’s priorities, Turnbull identifies a shift toward requiring parents and students to take more responsibility for their own behavior and for relationships with schools. Tom E. C. Smith, professor at the University of Arkansas, focuses his research on disability law and inclusion. Reflecting on IDEA 2004, Smith believes that although some changes seem significant, they will make little difference in the daily practice of special education teachers.
Issue 3. Is Eliminating Minority Overrepresentation Beyond the Scope of Public Schools?
YES: M. Suzanne Donovan and Christopher T. Cross, eds., from “Executive Summary,” in Minority Students in Special and Gifted Education (National Academy Press, 2002), pp. 1–14.
NO: Daniel J. Losen and Gary Orfield, eds., from “Introduction: Racial Inequity in Special Education,” in Racial Inequity in Special Education (Harvard Education Press, 2002), pp. XV–XXXVII
M. Suzanne Donovan and Christopher T. Cross, researchers representing the findings of a National Research Council (NRC) study on minority students in special and gifted education, believe overrepresentation issues are complex and not easily resolvable. While teachers can make a difference, environmental factors and poverty have a large impact and require interventions beyond schools. Daniel J. Losen and Gary Orfield, both policy experts, present the results of research commissioned by the Civil Rights Project (CRP) of Harvard University. While agreeing with some of the NRC recommendations, these findings suggest that patterns will change with stricter enforcement of federal and state regulations.
Issue 4. Can Whole-School Reform Reduce Discipline Problems?
YES: Howard S. Adelman and Linda Taylor, from “Rethinking How Schools Address Student Misbehavior and Disengagement,” Addressing Barriers to Learning (vol. 13, no. 2, Spring 2008)
NO: William C. Frick and Susan C. Faircloth, from “Acting in the Collective and Individual ‘Best Interest of Students’: When Ethical Imperatives Clash with Administrative Demands,” Journal of Special Education Leadership (vol. 20, no. 1, pp. 21–32, March 2007)
Howard S. Adelman and Linda Taylor, codirectors of the UCLA School Mental Health Project, based in the Center for -Mental Health in Schools, believe that many discipline problems could be eliminated by whole-school initiatives that create and sustain an environment that addresses positive social and emotional development as well as academics. William C. Frick and Susan C. Faircloth, assistant professors at the University of Oklahoma and The Pennsylvania State University, respectively, present dilemmas faced by principals torn between balancing the needs of one particular student who exhibits disruptive behavior with those of the rest of the student body whose learning is affected by the single student’s actions.
Issue 5. Are Charter School Doors Open to Students with Disabilities?
YES: Center for Education Reform, from “Annual Survey of America’s Charter Schools” (Center for Education Reform, July 2008)
NO: Thomas Hehir, from Hearing on “The All Students Achieving through Reform Act of 2009, H.R. 4330,” Testimony before the House Committee on Education and Labor (February 24, 2010)
The Center for Education Reform (CER) advocates for school change, emphasizing charter schools. Through gathering and disseminating information on charters, CER shares promising instructional options. The 2008 Annual Survey illustrates how charters successfully educate a range of students, including those who might be eligible for special education. Thomas Hehir, prominent educational policy maker, agrees that charter schools can offer desirable options. Testifying before Congress, Hehir expresses his strong concern that the doors of charter schools are often closed to students with disabilities. He cautions that these closed doors might constitute a denial of civil rights.
Issue 6. Should Insurance Cover Treatments and Services for Autism?
YES: Autism Speaks, from “Arguments in Support of Private Insurance Coverage for Autism-Related Services,” www.autismspeaks.org (February, 2009)
NO: Victoria C. Bunce and J.P. Wieske, from “Health Insurance Mandates in the States 2009,” (The Council for Affordable Health Insurance, February 10, 2009); and “The Growing Trend Toward Mandating Autism Coverage Issues & Answers,” The Council for Affordable Health Insurance’s Issues & Answers (no. 152, March 27, 2009)
Autism Speaks, the nation’s largest autism science and advocacy organization founded by Suzanne and Bob Wright (former vice chairman of General Electric and CEO of NBC and NBC Universal), presents eight arguments in support of legislation mandating health insurance coverage of autism services. Writing for the Council for Affordable Health Insurance, an organization that promotes the affordable health care access for all Americans, Victoria C. Bunce and J.P. Wieske discuss national trends in state-mandated health care benefits for children with autism, -arguing that responsibility for these costs belongs elsewhere.

Unit 2 Access and Accountability

Issue 7. Has the ADA Accomplished Its Goals?
YES: John Hockenberry, from “Yes, You Can,” Parade Magazine (July 24, 2005), pp. 4–5
NO: Lynda A. Price, Paul J. Gerber, and Robert Mulligan, from “Adults with Learning Disabilities and the Underutilization of the Americans with Disabilities Act,” Remedial and Special Education (November/December 2007), pp. 340–344
John Hockenberry, an award-winning television commentator, a radio host, and a foreign correspondent, who happens to use a wheelchair, celebrates the increased access brought about by implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Lynda A. Price, Paul J. Gerber (university faculty members and researchers), and Robert Mulligan (a district special education admini-strator) contend that the opportunities for ADA-mandated access are underused by individuals with learning disabilities.
Issue 8. Is Response to Intervention (RTI) Ready for Implementation?
YES: Rachel Brown-Chidsey and Mark W. Steege, from “What Is Response to Intervention (RTI)?,” in Response to Intervention: Principles and Strategies for Effective Practice (The Guilford Press, 2005)
NO: Douglas Fuchs and Donald D. Deshler, from “What We Need to Know About Responsiveness to Intervention (and Shouldn’t Be Afraid to Ask),” Learning Disabilities Research & Practice (May 2007)
Rachel Brown-Chidsey and Mark W. Steege, faculty members at the University of Southern Maine, who have conducted extensive research in the area of student assessment, describe Response to Intervention (RTI) as a systematic way for educators to help all children experience appropriate educational practices. Douglas Fuchs and Donald D. Deshler, professors at -Vanderbilt University and the University of Kansas, respectively, prolific scholars, and co-directors of the National Research Center on -Learning Disabilities, urge educators to identify and explore -unresolved -aspects of RTI before wholesale implementation.
Issue 9. Should Special Education and General Education Merge?
YES: Mary T. Brownell, Paul T. Sindelar, Mary T. Kiely, and Louis C. Danielson, from “Special Education Teacher Quality and Preparation: Exposing Foundations, Constructing a New Model,” Exceptional Children (Spring 2010), pp. 357–377
NO: Margaret J. McLaughlin, from “Evolving Interpretations of Educational Equity and Students with Disabilities,” Exceptional Children (Spring 2010), pp. 265–278
Mary T. Brownell, Paul T. Sindelar, and Mary T. Kiely, policy scholars from the University of Florida, Gainesville, and Louis C. Danielson at the American Institutes for Research (Danielson) link political changes with special education teacher preparation. They conclude that the future of special education rests within -content-rich Response to Intervention (RTI) practices. Margaret J. McLaughlin, policy architect and analyst from the University of Maryland, sees a disconnect between the singular -academic outcomes of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act/-Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and the individualized needs of students with disabilities. Merging is not wise when some -students with disabilities are treated unjustly if held to unitary -academic outcomes.
Issue 10. Can Scientifically Based Research Guide Instructional Practice?
YES: Samuel L. Odom, Ellen Brantlinger, Russell Gersten, Robert H. Horner, Bruce Thompson, and Karen R. Harris, from “Research in Special Education: Scientific Methods and Evidence-Based Practices,” Exceptional Children (Winter 2005), pp. 137–148
NO: Frederick J. Brigham, William E. Gustashaw III, Andrew L. Wiley, and Michele St. Peter Brigham, from “Research in the Wake of the No Child Left Behind Act: Why the Controversies Will Continue and Some Suggestions for Controversial Research,” Behavioral Disorders (May 2004), pp. 300–310
Samuel L. Odom, Ellen Brantlinger, Russell Gersten, Robert H. Horner, Bruce Thompson, and Karen R. Harris, all college faculty members and educational researchers, begin their article with definitive support for research-based methodology. They herald -proposals for quality indicators, to establish rigor in an array of research -methods that can identify effective educational practices. Frederick J. Brigham, associate professor at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, William E. Gustashaw III and Andrew L. Wiley, both doctoral candidates at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, and Michele St. Peter Brigham, a special education practitioner, believe that disagreement, mistrust, and the shifting general education environment preclude the usefulness of scientifically based research to guide daily instruction.
Issue 11: Does NCLB Leave Some Students Behind?
YES: Jennifer Booher-Jennings, from “Rationing Education in an Era of Accountability,” Phi Delta Kappan (June 2006), pp. 756–761
NO: U.S. Department of Education, from “Working Together for Students with Disabilities: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB),” http://www.ed.gov/admins/lead/speced/toolkit/index.html (December 2005)
Jennifer Booher-Jennings, a doctoral candidate at Columbia University, finds the accountability pressures of No Child Left -Behind (NCLB) are leading some administrators to advise teachers to focus only on those children who will improve their school’s scores; other students don’t count much. The U.S. Department of Education FAQ Sheet on IDEA and NCLB advises readers that the link between these two statutes is sound, emphasizing how they work together to ensure that every student’s performance and needs receive appropriate attention.
Issue 12. Should Students with Cognitive Disabilities Be Expected to Demonstrate Academic Proficiency?
YES: Kevin S. McGrew and Jeffrey Evans, from Expectations for Students with Cognitive Disabilities: Is the Cup Half Empty or Half Full? Can the Cup Flow Over? (Synthesis Report 55) (National Center on Educational Outcomes, December 2004)
NO: James M. Kauffman, from Education Deform: Bright People Sometimes Say Stupid Things About Education (The Scarecrow Press, 2002), pp. 184–192, 247–252, 258–260
Kevin S. McGrew, educational researcher and director of the Institute for Applied Psychometrics (IAP), and Jeffrey Evans, con-sultant and educational researcher for IAP, are wary that stereotypes of individuals with cognitive disabilities are used to form limited (and limiting) expectations and self-fulfilling prophecies. James M. Kauffman, professor emeritus of education at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, and special education -philosopher/researcher, believes that educators and parents must -acknowledge that some students with cognitive disabilities cannot reach high academic standards and are best served by programs that develop other skills.
Issue 13. Is Full Inclusion the Least Restrictive Environment?
YES: Rosalind Vargo and Joe Vargo, from “Voice of Inclusion: From My Friend Ro Vargo,” in Richard A. Villa and Jacqueline S. Thousand, eds., Creating an Inclusive School, 2nd ed., pp. 27–40 (Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2005)
NO: Amy Dockser Marcus, from “Eli’s Choice,” The Wall Street Journal (December 31, 2005)
Rosalind and Joe Vargo, parents of Ro, use their voices to tell a powerful story of their daughter’s success in fully inclusive educational programs, from kindergarten through college. Amy D. Marcus, staff reporter at The Wall Street Journal, records the voices of Eli’s parents and teachers as they react to his message to leave a fully inclusive program in favor of a separate -special education class.
Issue 14. Should Colleges Be More Accommodating to Students with Disabilities?
YES: Hazel Denhart, from “Deconstructing Barriers: Perceptions of Students Labeled With Learning Disabilities in Higher Education,” Journal of Learning Disabilities (November/December 2008), pp. 483–497
NO: Melana Z. Vickers, from “Accommodating College Students with Learning Disabilities: ADD, ADHD, and Dyslexia,” Pope Center Series on Higher Education (The John W. Pope Center, March 2010)
Hazel Denhart, who lectures at Portland State University, uses disability theory perspective to analyze the perceptions of students with learning disabilities about their experiences in higher education. Her interviewees identify social barriers that make college a less-than-welcome experience, and she recommends steps to reduce institutional intolerance. Melana Z. Vickers, an editorial writer for USA Today, uses information from interviews with on-campus experts, professors, and students to raise serious questions about the legitimacy of accommodations and disability services. Many of her interviewees think disabilities leading to accommodations can be purchased, to the detriment of everyone’s experience.

Unit 3 Exceptionalities

Issue 15. Do Gifted and Talented Students Need Special Schools?
YES: John Cloud, from “Are We Failing Our Geniuses?,” Time Magazine (August 27, 2007)
NO: Susan Winebrenner and Dina Brulles, from The Cluster Grouping Handbook (Introduction) (Free Spirit Publishing, 2008)
John Cloud, a staff writer for Time Magazine since 1997, profiles a number of extraordinarily gifted young people challenged for the first time in a specialized school that pushes them to reach their potential in a way that public schools could not. Susan Winebrenner and Dina Brulles work with educators to design and deliver cluster-based programs that address the needs of the gifted within their neighborhood school and provide options for a range of students to reach their potential.
Issue 16: Can RTI Reduce the Number of Children Identified with Specific Learning Disability (SLD)?
YES: Lynn S. Fuchs, from NRCLD Update on Responsiveness to Intervention: Research to Practice (National Research Center on Learning Disabilities, Winter 2007)
NO: Cathy G. Litty and J. Amos Hatch, from “Hurry Up and Wait: Rethinking Special Education Identification in Kindergarten,” Early Childhood Education Journal (February 2006)
Lynn S. Fuchs, a prolific scholar in the area of learning disabilities and one of the several researchers in the National Research Center for Learning Disabilities, explains how Response to Intervention (RTI) strategies can separate a struggling learner from one with specific learning disability (SLD). Cathy G. Litty (Western Carolina University) and J. Amos Hatch (University of Tennessee) discuss the increasing academic pressures for kindergarten children; they believe special education services should be provided as soon as possible to students who will eventually be found eligible.
Issue 17. Is Mental Health Screening an Unwarranted Intrusion?
YES: Nathaniel S. Lehrman, from “The Dangers of Mental Health Screening,” Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons (vol. 11, no. 3, pp. 80–82, Fall 2006)
NO: Mark D. Weist, Marcia Rubin, Elizabeth Moore, Steven Adelsheim, and Gordon Wrobel, from “Mental Health Screening in Schools,” Journal of School Health (vol. 77, pp. 53–58, February 2007)
Nathaniel S. Lehrman, clinical director (retired) of the Kingsboro (NY) Psychiatric Center, warns that new mental health screening -requirements, heralded as a way to increase the health of the -nation, will intrude on basic freedoms, lead to inappropriate labels, and -increase revenue for pharmaceutical companies. Mark D. Weist, Marcia Rubin, Elizabeth Moore, Steven Adelshiem, and Gordon Wrobel, consultants and researchers in mental health, see this screening as a way to identify those who need early intervention in order to prevent the development of debilitating mental illnesses.
Issue 18. Is ADHD a Real Disorder?
YES: Evelyn B. Kelly, from Encyclopedia of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders (Greenwood Press, 2009)
NO: Hara E. Marano, from Nation of Wimps: The High Cost of Invasive Parenting (Broadway Books, 2008)
Evelyn B. Kelly, a science writer, journalist, and adjunct professor at the College of Education, St. Leo University, presents an encyclopedia of characteristics, causes, and interventions for the several conditions that are all very real attention deficit hyperactivity disorders. Hara E. Marano, also an author and journalist, frequently -writing for Psychology Today and other popular publications, -believes that “hothouse parenting” and “overparenting” have created children who overreact to life events because they have not been allowed to develop naturally.
Issue 19: Are There Scientifically Effective Treatments for Autism?
YES: James B. Adams, Stephen M. Edelson, Temple Grandin, and Bernard Rimland, from “Advice for Parents of Young Autistic Children,” Autism Research Institute, www.autism.org (Spring 2004)
NO: Committee on Educational Interventions for Children with Autism, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education, National Research Council, from Educating Children with Autism (National Academy Press, 2001)
James B. Adams (Arizona State University), Stephen Edelson (Center for the Study of Autism), Temple Grandin (Colorado State University), and Bernard Rimland (Director of the Autism Research -Institute) recommend to parents of young children with autism an -array of effective treatment options, many of them biomedical based. The Committee on Educational Interventions, chaired by Catherine Lord, director of the University of Michigan’s Autism and Communication Disorders Center, summarizing their examination of research studies of educational treatments for children with autism, found little consistent evidence to support the efficacy claims made by their proponents.
Issue 20: Does Working with Parents Have to Be Contentious?
YES: Jenna Goudreau, from “Parenting Through Special Education,” Forbes (August 5, 2009)
NO: Jennifer Krumins, from “Choose Your Advocates Wisely: Getting the Best for Your Child,” EP Magazine (August/September 2009)
Jenna Goudreau relates the compelling story of parents who have to fight with school systems and battle legal complexities to get the free appropriate public education they feel is right for their children with disabilities. Jennifer Krumins, a special education teacher and mother of a child with autism, advises parents to ease tension, stress, and pressure by finding an advocate who can serve as an “interpreter” in a complex educational system and teach them how to secure the necessary supports with a positive approach.

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