This article examines the origins of the development of a separate professional identity as special educators for teachers of children with disabilities in the United States.
From the outset we realized that this yearbook would touch on
more than special education. Of course, the yearbook would
necessarily report on some of the most controversial, burning issues of
the day related to the education of students with disabilities. But if the
book was to serve the members of the National Society for the Study
of Education and its reading audience, mainly educators but not
principally special educators, it should explore the relationship of
special and "regular" education. Also, the book should raise broad
issues of ideology and policy and at the same time include examples of
effective educational practice. If we addressed these questions, the
book would concern not just special education but education in
general and its principal focus would be on the place of students with
disabilities in education. Hence the title, Schooling and Disability.
Many parents want schools to approximate the inclusive society
that is envisioned in the autobiographies of people with disabilities and
in firsthand.accounts of parents such as Mary Lou. Some want and
expect only that schools merely recognize their children with disabilities as more than the clinical terms that have been attached to
them. But how well have the schools done? Put another way, what is
the place of disability in schools and of students classified as disabled?
In this chapter I try to locate the areas of intersecting interests
between the general reform efforts and special education in the public
schools by (a) briefly summarizing some of the major themes to be
found in the current reform literature, (b) outlining the implications of
both the reports and their critiques for public special education, and
(c) describing some of the promising developments within the area of
educational reform for students with handicaps (especially those with
severe handicaps) that have potential implications for ongoing critical
reform in other areas of public schooling.
The primary purpose of this paper is to delineate and justify eleven
characteristics of educational services that are critical to the growth of
students who are severely intellectually disabled. If school personnel
fail to actualize at least these characteristics in direct educational
services, they are remiss in their instructional responsibilities.
Are the categories used to separate and identify students with disabilities real and educationally responsive? Could educational
institutions respond differently to the students they now label as
"mildly handicapped"? The purpose of this chapter is to examine the
origins, growth, and development of the field of mild disabilities
within a broad social and political context and to examine alternatives
for describing and educating children now served within the
categories of mild disability.
It is our contention that personal
narratives constitute a large and neglected source of data for
understanding how society in general, and schools in particular, could
better support disabled children and their families. More specifically,
since these narratives are situationally rather than conceptually based,
they can reveal the personal perspectives in words chosen by the
authors, rather than the predetermined categories of the researcher's
survey questionnaire. This chapter will discuss what these
perspectives—combined with some of our own views—suggest as
being most supportive of the families with disabled children. Our
overall purpose in this chapter is more descriptive than prescriptive. A
deeper understanding of the complexity of living with a disability
must precede—or at least accompany—our society's efforts to
improve the educational experience of disabled students and their
What is meant by a community-referenced curriculum? What
conditions have surrounded its emergence in education? Furthermore,
what lessons have we learned from implementing it, and what future
directions do we foresee? The purpose of this chapter is to reflect on
these questions, while simultaneously exploring the relationship
between community-referenced curricula and what is generally
referred to as "regular" education.
The present chapter is devoted to a prosocial
instructional goal. Constructive alternatives to aggression are being
effectively taught to disruptive youth, and thus we will seek to
describe in detail the procedures, materials, and evaluation evidence
which essentially constitute this contemporary prosocial skills training
If we want to foster
an integrated society, then students need to be integrated throughout
their school years in order to provide opportunities to learn how to
accept each other and live together in positive and productive ways.
We need integrated schools where students of different abilities,
disabilities, and racial and socioeconomic backgrounds can learn and
play side by side. The issue for these professionals is not whether
heterogeneous or homogeneous grouping is best, but rather how
heterogeneous classrooms can be made to work to the advantage of all
students in their academic, social, and emotional development.
While vocational education programs have grown steadily over
the years, recently there have been criticisms about the efficacy of
vocational education. If vocational education is to survive and grow, it must answer such
stinging critiques. Most importantly, there needs to be a demonstration that essential academic content can be taught in vocational
contexts. Research and demonstration efforts need to document how
academic skills are infused within the vocational curriculum in both
occupational training and work experience courses.
In this chapter we assume that the typical educator is really most
interested in steadily enhancing the quality of a school's special education programs. Rather than looking for global judgments,
today's professionals should be seeking data to guide decision
making at various levels, such as Curriculum revision, allocation of
resources, or innovation in school routines. This approach is in
accord with the strong empirical tradition that has emerged in the
field of special education.
This final chapter reflects our assumption that a disability, whether
retardation, learning disabled, deafness, emotional disturbance, or
other classification, is never experienced apart from its social and
Two assumptions underlying gifted education are considered: (1) that gifted children are empirically identifiable; and (2) that the needs of gifted children differ significantly from children in general. Equity issues are addressed, and possible ways of interpreting equality are presented.
Because Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome has been construed as a disease of the "other" who is somehow not part of society, efforts at education are destined to fail. Individual rights can easily be suborned to the perceived public good. Educators are urged to grapple with the ethical issues.
A response to Barry Bull's article, Eminence and Precocity: An Examination of the Justification of Education for the Gifted and Talented.
Special programs for gifted and talented children cannot be justified. A program of education for gifts and talents is proposed. Since it would be open to all, it would naturally serve the special educational needs of the precocious in a way that is less morally problematic than selective programs.
The author replies to Virgin Ward's response to his article, Eminence and Precocity: An Examination of the Justification of Education for the Gifted and Talented.
The speed with which mainstreaming as a concept, value, and
public policy has emerged in our society is little short of amazing.
Indeed, the change has come about so fast and with such apparent
general approbation as to raise a question about what people understand
about mainstreaming and its implications for schools. Let us
try to gain some historical perspective on this question in the hope
of avoiding an oversimple stance to a very complicated set of
issues. To think that mainstreaming is desirable is no excuse for
assuming that institutional realities will accommodate our hopes.
To confuse change with progress is to set the stage for disillusionment.
Compensatory education students and mildly handicapped special education students would be better served by a single system meeting the needs of both groups. Student classification methods, historical, political, and pedagogical reasons for separating the programs, and alternatives to the existing arrangement are discussed.
This chapter focuses on behavior disorders occurring between
ages ten and fifteen. The title refers broadly to research on behavior
of clinical concern rather than being restricted to research
in clinical settings or to the unsystematic accumulation of clinical
impressions sometimes known as clinical research.
The half-decade following Sputnik in 1957 and the last half-decade
of the 1970s may be viewed as twin peak periods of interest
in gifted and talented children. Separating the peaks was a deep
valley of neglect in which the public fixed its attention more
eagerly on the low functioning, poorly motivated, and socially
handicapped children in our schools. It was not simply a ease of
bemoaning the plight of able and then disadvantaged learners, with
each population taking turns as the pitied underdog or the victim
of unfair play. Rather than transferring the same sentiments from
one undereducated group to another, the nation found itself transforming
its mood from intense anxiety to equally profound indignation:
anxiety lest our protective shield of brainpower became
weaker, rendering us vulnerable to challenge from without, followed
by indignation over social injustice in the land, which could
tear us apart from within. Now we are experiencing a revival of
earlier sensitivities to the needs of the gifted. Judging from these
vacillations in national temperament, it seems as if we have nor yet
succeeded in paying equal attention simultaneously to our most and
least successful achievers at school.
In every field of endeavor each generation leaves a mixed legacy
to the next. Along with the hard-won wisdom that comes from
experience and the progressive accumulation of knowledge, collections
of misinformation and misjudgments that can only be explained
by understanding the temper and biases of the times are also
passed along. As an antidote to any misplaced confidence that we
at last have the tiger of education for the gifted by the tail, it may
be useful to catalogue some unsolved issues or misguided efforts
that have been created or accepted by the present generation and
which we are in danger of turning over to the next generation.
A slow but steady development has characterized the federal
concern for the gifted and talented since the late 1960s. This effort
has coalesced with the diffused efforts of several pioneering states
to produce what can now be viewed as an initial effort of truly
national dimensions. While the most recent attention on the part
of federal and state governments is best viewed as continuous with
earlier attempts, current federal activity springs most directly from
the Education Amendments of i969, and specifically from an
amendment offered by Congressman John Erlenborn of Illinois.
The Council for Exceptional Children, under a grant from the
Office of the Gifted and Talented of the U.S. Office of Education,
undertook a nationwide survey of state education agencies in 1977
to ascertain the current status of services to gifted and talented
children and youth. This chapter is a summary of the findings and
presents a picture of educational provisions for this population from
the perspective of the states.
Terman's famous study of gifted children, started soon after his
return from test construction duties during World War I, reflected
his great interest in children who scored at the extremely high end
of the scale, the upper 1 to 2 percent. He was confident that they
were a very able and potentially productive part of the population,
and was concerned that common "myths" about them were injuring
For the purpose of this chapter, the term
"programs for the gifted" will be used loosely to encompass a wide
variety of means of providing learning experiences for children of
well above average general intellectual and/or specific academic
aptitude. In some cases the discussion is also relevant to specific
nonacademic abilities that are provided for within the curriculum
of many schools, by such offerings as art, music, and athletics.
My experience as a teacher for many years in different countries,
and most especially my experience as a clinical psychologist,
led to the idea of the Calasanctius School as an experiment in the
education of gifted and talented children. After many consultations
with educators, psychologists, and members of the academic
and business community, the decision was made to formulate a
special program for intellectually talented and gifted children from
grade five to college level. The suggestion was for a separate school
with a comprehensive program, where the only criteria for acceptance
were ability and interest. It was envisioned that the curriculum
would not be a copy of any other design. Nor would it employ
the so-called enrichment or acceleration methods, but rather it
would have a unified program built around the psychological and
sociological needs of gifted children.
The information and ideas presented in this chapter have been
generated in the context of the Seattle Project--a longitudinal study
of intellectually advanced children undertaken by the Child Development
Research Group at the University of Washington. Service
activities connected with the study include a preschool
program for some of the project children and a counseling and
diagnostic service which provides families of intellectually advanced
children with assessment and information on school placement.
Although a good deal of information concerning the language
arts and social studies curriculum for the gifted is well articulated
and readily available in the literature, there is a gap between this
information and its application in classroom practice. Several factors
contribute to this situation.