A Vision for a More Responsive Special Education System: Focus on Schooling for Success
Contact: Sue Shalvey, Acting Director for Innovation and Dissemination for Special Education, Aspire Public Schools firstname.lastname@example.org
Aspire supports all special education students in compliance with state and federal laws. No student is denied admission to an Aspire charter school because s/he is in need of special educational services.
Aspire is reviewing history and taking the lead in future services
Since 1974, special education focused on developing quality programs, resulting in programs and labels for each type and category of disability. With the passage and implementation of No Child Left Behind and with the reauthorization of IDEA, a renewed focus is squarely where it began, and should have always been—on high expectations for all children and improving educational outcomes.
School systems must now focus on access to high quality, rigorous standards-based education for all children. It is about systems that are accountable for improving outcomes for all.
The passage of the 1975 Education for All Handicapped Children Act established the right of all children to an education and literally opened the schools to millions of children with disabilities. In addition, this “defining moment” significantly influences the public’s awareness of disability issues and contributed to the integration of people with disabilities in the broader society. When reauthorized in 1994 as IDEA, and again in 1997 and 2004, the focus sharpened access to, and progress in, the general curricula. There is a national expectation for improved outcomes for all children with disabilities while preserving a balance of procedural guarantees.
Aspire believes in access to standards and high expectations
Children with disabilities have for too long been left from the “table of rigor” in education. The challenge lies in retooling both general and special education. The revolution needs to focus on all of our responsibilities for all children, including those with more learning challenges. Access to the standards, the core curricula, and powerful and proven ways used across this nation for providing that access are our goals at Aspire. Through understanding accommodations, modifications, and differentiation, and by working together as a collaborative team, we will see that goal achieved. Collaborative teams mean that we co-teach, we support each other’s work, we share ideas across disciplines, we make sure all of us understand how each other works and how we can be enriched by the strategies and concepts of multiple disciplines.
Profound and sustainable change is what we strive to do for our students and families. It’s why we started Aspire and it’s what we can achieve. We believe in an education that seamlessly weaves the services and strategies of general education and special education to create an “every education” for all students is achievable, and of the highest value. I am honored to help lead this adventure.