As a matter of fact, special education is one of the most controversial issues, igniting heated discussions. While no one can deny its crucial nature, there are plenty of different opinions regarding its areas and methods, not to mention its problems that require immediate solution.
The first and foremost issue of current special education is funding (hardly surprising), and there are two opposing opinions on this matter. The first states that special education shall not be extra-funded at all, as it is a component of general education and thus receives sufficient funds from the top. On the other hand, there is a belief that special education is to be funded in the first place, as it is stipulated in laws. While both of them are a little over the line, the real problem we experience is lack of consistency in funding. We need established protocols on what to consider when defining the amounts of money to be vested and its sequence.
Lack of training force is no doubt just as painful an issue. The gap between the need for special education teachers and actual graduates with this major proves to be vast – the need is ten or fifteen times bigger. While a single opinion whether special education should be separated as a major or included in the general teacher’s course has not been established yet, no one doubts that this sort of training is to be conducted. There is a tendency to improve the situation by offering quick intensive courses instead of four years’ training. While it does help to decrease the gap, there are considerations that deal with quality of such training.
A heated discussion is caused by different opinions on whether students requiring special education should be educated separately or among other students. Those advocating separation say that when educated among the like, such students will be relieved from pressure of their more lucky peers. It will also make it much easier to implement a special curriculum, while putting disabled children in regular classes will cause misbalance of teacher’s attention which will be drawn by a student with special needs. And as such kids have behavioral issues, it might go as far as physical damage to others.
On the other hand, placing special students in one class with others will have an undeniable social interaction factor, which is often a key to cure. This may be achieved by assigning a general education and a special education teacher to one class or using external consults.
What also stirs up discussion is whether a special needs student should be bound to study in a specialized institution, or be able to choose the one to his or her liking. This issue is somewhat similar to the previous one and has not been solved yet.
A whole new level of troubles is brought by classification of children with special needs. While the ‘labeling’ is a controversial issue itself, even if we do agree on it and discard the idea that it might cause stigmatizing, there are problems in classification, and the discussion is still running.
All in all, special education is a major need of any society and its problems cannot be ignored. Having agreed on its necessity, supporters of the idea distributed their efforts to advocate their own opinions on minor matters, while in fact they should be doing just the opposite, i.e. defining primary risk areas and struggling to solve them with co-joint efforts.