The Goal of Special Education

Examines the politics and funding of special education in the American system.

Special education students require special attention and care. Some people believe that this care should be given in separate classrooms, while others think that all children should be mainstreamed. This paper shows that, although new laws have been passed to require mainstreaming, some people are still leery of this relatively new idea and its consequences. The paper shows that when considering the debate between whether or not to mainstream a special education student, we need to get to the root of the debate. The real question is not where to place a special child, but what is the primary goal of special education? If we do not agree upon this goal, how can Americans agree upon any decisions regarding their children’s education?
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As with most debates, there is usually some sort of compromise which is generally the best option for all of the parties involved. The goal in special and general education seems to be twofold. First, we must learn the knowledge of texts and standardized tests in order keep up with the scholars of the past and develop lifelong learning skills. Coughlin (2000) describes one of the main purposes of reading as helping to create and support literacy so that all of our children may learn to function as productive, responsible citizens. This is a perfect idea of taking classroom knowledge and turning it into a life long skill.

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