US Public Schools Fail Students with Disabilities
|Above copied from PJ Media|
The Nation's Report Card likewise shows this gap clearly. Over the past twelve years, achievement gaps at the basic level in both Grade 4 math and reading remain at about 30 and 40 percent, respectively.
Imagine, for example, that a school district adopts an EBP for its students with learning disabilities in elementary schools. District personnel are understandably excited to begin the new year by rolling out a practice that has been shown by multiple, high-quality studies to meaningfully improve outcomes for, say, 95% of elementary children with learning disabilities. However, only 80% of elementary schools agree to participate in the project (reach). Further, given problems related to training, planning and instructional time, and reluctance to adopt new practices, only 70% of teachers within targeted schools end up using the practice at all (adoption). Due to sometimes ineffectual training and lack of ongoing support, perhaps only 60% of teachers who adopt the practice implement it with fidelity; and only 50% of those maintain their use of the practice over the entire school year. In this scenario, actual impact is calculated asIn addition to the absence or poor implementation of research-recommended interventions, disabilities are often couched in cultural or social terms. Kauffman and Bader capture this in their paper in the Journal of International Special Needs Education:
.95 (efficacy) X .80 (reach) X .70 (adoption) X .60 (implementation) X .50 (maintenance) = .16
A focus on anything other than instruction undercuts the legal and moral rights of students with disabilities to an appropriate education and fails to produce substantive social justice. Differences among differences must be recognized to guarantee the civil educational rights to which people with disabilities are entitled. Instructionally-relevant differences include many disabilities, but they do not include such differences as skin hue, parentage, sexual orientation, national origin, and many other kinds of diversity. If special education's focus is inclusion rather than effective instruction of students with disabilities or if all differences are assumed to be equal and have the same remedy, then special education will one day be looked upon as having gone through a period of shameful neglect of students' needs.Whatever the underlying reason is behind the clear achievement gap between students with and without disabilities, correct steps are sorely needed.