Special Ed "Conversation"


Apparently, the District is finding the need to "start a conversation about what quality special education practices should look like in the District of Columbia.,” said Amy Maisterra, assistant state superintendent for special education, as reported by Bill Turque in the Post yesterday.

"OSSE has hired the American Institutes for Research (AIR) to study the quality of special education programs in the District, an $800,000 project it hopes will identify best practices that can be replicated and brought to scale in public and public charter schools." (You can read the rest of the article here: 'Conversation' on Special Ed.)

Turque is right to raise the question, 'why do we need an outside organization to tell us what we already know?' But, furthermore, this kind of treatment and marginalization of an already marginalized community is nothing new, but it should be an outrage!

Let's face it, most of the students receiving special education services in the District are black and possibly poor. In fact, 28% of Anacostia's 900 plus students qualify for special education (http://profiles.dcps.dc.gov/Anacostia+High+School). Why then is an outside group coming in and telling everybody what to do? Why not ask the parents? Or the teachers? Great (unheralded) work is being done among the special ed community by the teachers there, why not ask them? Why not ask the students themselves? "Normal," intellectually developed peolpe don't like being bossed around, so why do we do the same to those that are "less" intellectually developed? As an aside, let us imagine if autism was the norm, where would that place "normal" people?

Why is such a highly vulnerable community being used in a political game, and who is behind this? Indeed, does anyone seem to care?


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