Intersections of Accountability and Special Education: The Social Justice Implications of Policy and Practice
by Felicia Castro-Villarreal & Sharon L. Nichols — 2016
High-stakes testing accountability has wreaked havoc on America’s public schools. Since the passage of NCLB in 2001, virtually every public school student has experienced the pressures of preparing for, practicing, and taking standardized state exams, the results of which have had significant consequences for their schools, teachers, and themselves. These test-based pressures have altered educational practices in significant ways for all students, but especially for students with disabilities. The goal of this article is to briefly describe the educational climate for students with disabilities, focusing on emergent federal policies that have had the contradictory effect of expanding and narrowing learning opportunities for students. This article provides the backdrop for the volume by introducing the reader to the general characteristics of our special education population, discussing the past and current federal policies guiding their education, and offering implications for policy and practice.
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