In my experience in public education, accountability is something that is always spoken of but rarely ever carried out by leaders. It’s not just the Trump Administration! School district leaders must be held accountable as well. They definitely are playing their role in the work to eliminate regulatory guidelines surrounding special education. However, this should not be a surprise. We can agree that regulation is needed and important to accountability, however, measurements for accountability are what truly make change. One of the issues with our American systems, especially our education system is how stakeholders are held accountable. People want positions and pay increases but don’t want to be held accountable for the requirements. Scholars want free tuition, the best teachers and access to all resources but won’t put forth the effort to utilize these things. No longer can we neglect our individual responsibilities. Especially the responsibility that general and special education teachers have in teaching children with special needs. Of course, it’s hard. Educating children isn’t easy but it is rewarding. It can also be life changing if done intention and purpose.
We cannot allow our children to simply just exist in schools because they have learning and/or physical disabilities. Each of us that overlook, neglect and or are just simply not informed about ways to ensure that students with disabilities needs are met play a role. School Districts have to do better about ensuring that faculty and staff are trained and prepared to deal with the scholars they are assigned. I would even urge institutions of higher learning to make partnerships with their local school districts so that teachers going into the field of Special Education can do hands on case studies, work with school paras, teachers, special education leads and behavior specialists to ensure that they are ready to make a difference.
Our number one priority in helping students with learning disabilities should to be help both the student and their family prepare for life after high school. Every school’s program focus should be to ensure these students are job ready, prepared to have families and be productive citizens. We must also be more knowledgable about the law. Beyond that, we must have enough drive to see each student find success regardless of the challenges they face.
Below are links for Educators, Parents and Advocates who work with children with special needs. This will help ensure compliance and that we are providing services that each child with a disability should receive. How the services are carried is a reflection of our dedication and committment to serving all children.
- Civil Rights Act of 1964
- Rehabilitation Act. Section 504
- Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975
- The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
- Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) for students with disabilities.
- The Americans with Disabilities Act
More information about the legislation can be found in the following: A Guide to Disability Rights Laws , What is the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act?, What is Section 504?, What is the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990?, What is the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008? and What is the Rehabilitation Act of 1973?
Jason has worked in education for over 15 years as a teacher, blogger and community advocate. He speaks and writes primarily about the need to improve education for Black boys, particularly increasing the number of Black male educators in schools. In addition to blogging here at EdLanta, Jason is also a featured writer at Education Post.