Taking Sides: Clashing Views in Special Education

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  • Edition: 7th
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  • Copyright: 2015-01-30
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The Taking Sides Collection on McGraw-Hill Create™ includes current controversial issues in a debate-style format designed to stimulate student interest and develop critical thinking skills. This Collection contains a multitude of current and classic issues to enhance and customize your course. You can browse the entire Taking Sides Collection on Create, or you can search by topic, author, or keywords. Each Taking Sides issues is thoughtfully framed with Learning Outcomes, an Issue Summary, an Introduction, and an Exploring the Issue section featuring Critical Thinking and Reflection, Is There Common Ground?, and Additional Resources and Internet References. Go to McGraw-Hill Create™ at www.mcgrawhillcreate.com, click on the "Collections" tab, and select The Taking Sides Collection to browse the entire Collection. Select individual Taking Sides issues to enhance your course, or access and select the entire Behan: Taking Sides: Clashing Views in Special Education, 7/e ExpressBook for an easy, pre-built teaching resource by clicking here. An online Instructor's Resource Guide with testing material is available for each Taking Sides volume. Using Taking Sides in the Classroom is also an excellent instructor resource. Visit the Create Central Online Learning Center at www.mhhe.com/createcentral for more details.

Table of Contents

Taking Sides: Clashing Views in Special Education, 7 Edition

Table of Contents

Taking Sides: Clashing Views in Special Education, 7 Edition

Unit: 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 (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, an 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. Is the Inclusive Classroom Model Workable?
YES: June E. Downing and Kathryn D. Peckham-Hardin, from "Inclusive Education: What Makes it a Good Education for Students with Moderate to Severe Disabilities? ", Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities (2007)
NO: Karen Ball and Reginald Leon Green, from "An Investigation of the Attitudes of School Leaders toward the Inclusion of Students with Disabilities in the General Education Setting", National Forum of Applied Educational Research Journal (2014)
June E. Downing and Kathryn D. Peckham-Hardin, both from California State University, Northridge, investigated what parents, teachers and paraeducators felt was a good educational program for students with moderate to severe disabilities. Their findings indicate an inclusive education may be beneficial for all students when specific components are in place to ensure a quality education. Karen Ball from Shelby County Schools in Tennessee, a former special education teacher and school administrator, and Reginald Leon Green, a professor of Educational Leadership at University of Memphis, examined the attitudes and perceptions of school leaders in the southeastern United States regarding inclusion. Their survey results revealed school leaders are limited in their training and experience relative to special education and inclusive practices which may lead to negative attitudes toward the inclusion of students, particularly those with severe disabilities, in the general education setting.
Issue 3. Is Disproportionally High Minority Representation in Special Education a School Problem?
YES: Edward Fergus, from "Distinguishing Difference from Disability: The Common Causes of Racial/Ethnic Disproportionality in Special Education", Equity Alliance (2010)
NO: Richard Rothstein, from "Whose Problem is Poverty?", Educational Leadership (2008)
Edward Fergus is deputy director of the Metropolitan Center for Urban Education at New York University. Previously a high school teacher, Dr. Fergus consults on issues of disproportionality. His study of over 30 districts identified common root causes of disproportionality and remedies for each one. Richard Rothstein, a research associate of the Economic Policy Institute, writes and speaks on issues of education, economics, and policy, with a focus on the achievement gap. Mr. Rothstein posits that schools alone cannot overcome the effects of poverty on a child’s life and education.
Issue 4. Can RTI and IDEA Child Find Coexist?
YES: Lynn S. Fuchs, from "NRCLD Update on Responsiveness to Intervention: Research to Practice", National Resource Center on Learning Disabilities (2007)
NO: Jose L. Martin, from "Legal Implications of Response to Intervention and Special Education Identification", RTInetwork.org (2012)
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 Research to Intervention (RTI) strategies can separate a struggling learner from one with specific learning disabilities (SLDs). Research results demonstrate her thinking. Jose L. Martin, partner in the law firm Richards Lindsay & Martin in Austin, Texas, represents schools in disability issues and litigation, sees promise in RTI, and also discord with IDEA that could cause tension and conflict between schools and parents. Perhaps revision of the 35-year-old IDEA is in order to recognize changes in general education.
Issue 5. 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 (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 (2007)
Howard S. Adelman and Linda Taylor, co-directors 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 6. Are Charter Schools a Good Choice for Students with Disabilities?
YES: Mitt Romney, from "A Chance for Every Child: Mitt Romney's Plan for Restoring the Promise of American Education", mittromney.com (2012)
NO: Thomas Hehir, from "Hearing on The All Students Achieving through Reform Act of 2009, H.R. 4330", U.S. House of Representatives (2010)
Mitt Romney, Republican contender for the presidency and former governor of Massachusetts, proposes to improve options for all children, especially those from low-income families and those with special needs, by using U.S. federal grant funds to increase access to more desirable, innovative charter schools. Thomas Hehir, prominent educational policymaker, agrees that charter schools can offer desirable options. Testifying in front of 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 7. Should Insurance Cover Treatments/Services for Autism?
YES: Autism Speaks, from "Arguments in Support of Private Insurance Coverage for Autism-Related Services", autismspeaks.org (2009)
NO: Victoria Craig Bunce and J.P. Wieske, from "Health Insurance Mandates in the States 2009", Health Insurance Mandates in the States (2008)
Autism Speaks, an advocacy organization founded by Suzanne and Bob Wright (former executives of General Electric and NBC and NBC, respectively), together with the National Alliance for Autism Research and Cure Autism Now, 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: Access and Accountability

Issue 8. Are Students with Disabilities Accessing the General Education Classroom?
YES: Festus E. Obiakor, from "Maximizing Access, Equity, and Inclusion in General and Special Education", Journal of the International Association of Special Education (2011)
NO: Lisa Kilanowski-Press, Chandra J. Foote, and Vince J. Rinaldo, from "Inclusion Classrooms and Teachers: A Survey of Current Practices", International Journal of Special Education (2010)
Festus E. Obiakor, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, presents an article that states access to the general education classroom and its curriculum and instruction can be possible for all students, regardless of their disability, but to maximize access, equity, and inclusion, all stakeholders—students, families, schools, communities, and government agencies—must take an active role. Lisa Kilanowski-Press, Chandra J. Foote, and Vince J. Rinaldo, Niagara University, surveyed special education teachers in New York to determine current inclusion practices employed in general education classrooms. Their research revealed the consultant model was the most prevalent practice utilized in inclusive classrooms followed by volunteer support. The researchers found these two practices are characterized by small group and one-to-one support, the latter of which may be the least inclusive form of instruction and may yield fewer students with disabilities included in the general education classroom.
Issue 9. Should RTI Interventions Be Delivered by Special Educators?
YES: Douglas Fuchs, Lynn S. Fuchs, and Donald L. Compton, from "Smart RTI: A Next-Generation Approach to Multilevel Prevention", Exceptional Children (2012)
NO: Linda P. Blanton, Marleen C. Pugach, and Lani Florian, from "Preparing General Education Teachers to Improve Outcomes for Students with Disabilities", American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education and National Center for Learning Disabilities (2011)
Douglas Fuchs, Lynn S. Fuchs, and Donald L. Compton, professors at Vanderbilt University, and prolific scholars whose extensive research is in the area of student instruction and assessment, propose that the Smart RTI of the future taps the unique pedagogical training of special educators to implement Tier 3 interventions. Linda P. Blanton, Marleen C. Pugach, and Lani Florian, professors at Florida International University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, respectively, blend the perspectives of two well-respected professional organizations to envision the future of RTI in the hands of general education teachers trained to teach all children who enter their classroom.
Issue 10. Should Special Education and General Education Merge?
YES: Mary T. Brownell, et al., from "Special Education Teacher Quality and Preparation: Exposing Foundations, Constructing a New Model", Exceptional Children (2010)
NO: Margaret J. McLaughlin, from "Evolving Interpretations of Educational Equity and Students with Disabilities", Exceptional Children (2010)
Mary T. Brownell, Paul T. Sindelar, and Mary Theresa Kiely, policy scholars from the University of Florida, Gainesville, and Louis C. Danielson at the American Institutes for Research link political changes with special education teacher preparation. They conclude that the future of special education rests within content-rich RTI practices. Margaret J. McLaughlin, policy architect and analyst from the University of Maryland sees a disconnect between the singular academic outcomes of NCLB/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 11. Does NCLB Leave Some Students Behind?
YES: Jennifer Booher-Jennings, from "Rationing Education in an Era of Accountability", Phi Delta Kappan (2006)
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)", U.S. Department of Education (2005)
Jennifer Booher-Jennings, a doctoral candidate at Columbia University, when she wrote this issue, finds the accountability pressures of No Child Left Behind lead 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 No Child Left Behind (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?", National Center on Educational Outcomes (2004)
NO: James M. Kauffman, from "Education Deform: Bright People Sometimes Say Stupid Things about Education", Scarecrow Press (2002)
Kevin S. McGrew, director of the Institute for Applied Psychometrics (IAP) and educational researcher, and Jeffrey Evans, consultant 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", Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (2005)
NO: Amy D. Marcus, from "Eli's Choice", The Wall Street Journal (2005)
Rosalind Vargo 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, conveys 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 and Universities Be More Accommodating to Students with Disabilities?
YES: Wanda M. Hadley, from "The Necessity of Academic Accommodations for First-Year College Students with Learning Disabilities", Journal of College Admission (2007)
NO: Laura Marshak, et al., from "Exploring Barriers to College Student Use of Disability Services and Accommodations", Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability (2010)
Wanda M. Hadley, Ph.D., a scholar of educational leadership, researched the transition to college for students with learning disabilities. After conducting interviews and focus groups with college students, she found university administrators and faculty should be testing established systems to ensure the effectiveness of college and university resources and programs to support students’ successful integration into the campus community. Laura Marshak, et al., all from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, conducted a qualitative study via interviews of college students with disabilities. They identified several barriers why students might not choose to fully access the beneficial disability services and accommodations available to them in postsecondary education.

Unit: Exceptionalities

Issue 15. Do Gifted and Talented Students Need Special Schools?
YES: John Cloud, from "Are We Failing Our Geniuses?", TIME (2007)
NO: Susan Winebrenner and Dina Brulles, from "The Cluster Grouping Handbook", 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. Is Mental Health Screening an Unwarranted Intrusion?
YES: Nathaniel S. Lehrman, from "The Dangers of Mental Health Screening", Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons (2006)
NO: Mark D. Weist, et al., from "Mental Health Screening in Schools", Journal of School Health (2007)
Nathaniel Lehrman, clinical director (retired) of the Kingsboro Psychiatric Center, New York, 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 Weist, Marcia Rubin, Elizabeth Moore, Steven Adelshiem, and Gordon Wrobel, consultants and researchers in mental health, view this screening as a way to identify those who need early intervention in order to prevent the development of debilitating mental illnesses.
Issue 17. Should the Government Prohibit the Use of Restraint and Seclusion in Schools?
YES: National Disability Rights Network, from "School Is Not Supposed to Hurt: The U.S. Department of Education Must Do More to Protect School Children from Restraint and Seclusion", ndrn.org (2012)
NO: Sasha Pudelski, from "Keeping Schools Safe: How Seclusion and Restraint Protects Students and School Personnel", aasa,org (2012)
The National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) has authored three major reports highlighting concerns about the use of restraint and seclusion in schools. In the face of continuing legislative gridlock, the latest report urges the U.S. federal Department of Education to issue clear guidance limiting restraint and seclusion to situations posing an imminent danger. Sasha Pudelski, government affairs manager for the American Association of School Administrators (AASA), presents her organization’s position that restraint and seclusion need to be available tools in schools. Banning their use with any and all students could actually increase the potential for injury.
Issue 18. Is ADHD a Real Disorder?
YES: Evelyn B. Kelly, from "Encyclopedia of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders", Greenwood Press (2009)
NO: Sami Timimi et al., from "A Critique of the International Consensus Statement on ADHD", Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review (2004)
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, which are all very real attention deficit hyperactivity disorders. Sami Timimi and 33 coendorsers, a group of academics and practitioners, responds to a consensus statement of ADHD by questioning the merits of the ADHD diagnosis and the efficacy of drug treatment. They present a cultural perspective on why the diagnosis of ADHD may be growing in popularity in Western culture.
Issue 19. Are Evidence-Based Practices Sufficient for Educating Students with Autism?
YES: Samuel L. Odom, et al., from "Evidence-Based Practices in Interventions for Children and Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders", Preventing School Failure (2010)
NO: Ken Siri and Tony Lyons, from "Cutting-Edge Therapies for Autism, 2010-2011", Skyhorse Publishing (2010)
Samuel L. Odom, Lana Collet-Klingenberg, Sally J. Rogers, and Deborah D. Hatton, researchers affiliated with the National Professional Development Center, describe a procedure for determining whether focused intervention practices have sufficient evidence to be deemed evidence-based practices (EBPs). Identifying 24 practices that meet the research criteria, the authors also provide guidance and advice about implementation. Ken Siri and Tony Lyons are fathers of children on the autism spectrum. Dr. Mark Frielich is a developmental pediatrician who practices in New York. They view children with autism as individuals whose bodies have fallen victim to a perfect storm of problems. They introduce an edited book of “cutting-edge therapies,” designed to inform readers of possible treatments, many of which have not been vetted by research.
Issue 20. Working with Parents of Students with Disabilities: Does It Have to Be Contentious?
YES: Adrian Woo Jung, from "Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) and Barriers for Parents from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Backgrounds", Multicultural Education (2011)
NO: Jennifer Krumins, from "Choose Your Advocates Wisely: Getting the Best for Your Child", Exceptional Parent (EP) Magazine (2009)
Adrian Woo Jung, an associate professor in the Department of Special Education at California State University, Fullerton, examines the barriers that may adversely affect the level of participation of parents who are culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD), among them being the gap that exists between the attitudes or perceptions of professional educators and the perspectives of CLD parents regarding the needs of 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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