ERIC Number: ED273077
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1985-Oct
Reference Count: 0
A Radical Perspective on the Development of American Special Education with a Focus on the Concept of "Learning Disabilities'"
Sigmon, Scott B.
This doctoral dissertation uses radical socioeducational analysis (RSA) to examine the development of special education in the United States, with special emphasis given to the development of the concept of learning disabilities. In the first chapter, the RSA method is described. Also included is a review of literature regarding various social philosophies and education, special education, learning disabilities, and radical sociological and philosophical foundations of special education. The second chapter presents a new interpretation of the roots and development of special education through overviews of general education and special education, and a discussion of the least restrictive educational environment and the ramifications of mainstreaming. The evolution of learning disabilities is covered in the third chapter, which considers the precursors of learning disabilities (child study movement, pioneering medical contribution stage, remediation stage, and slow learner period), the initial establishment of the learning disabilities label as a clinical entity, the institutionalization of learning disabilities as an educational arrangement, and the newer practice model of LD. Chapter 4 considers the learning disabilities controversy in terms of RSA, including previous special education labeling controversies and newer developments, current learning disabilities concerns, and the reproduction-resistance dialectic. Chapter 5 presents conclusions and implications for further study. A central argument of this thesis is that most children labeled as learning disabled are social victims who do not conform to regular education and are alleged to have dysfunctional internal psychological processing when in fact such youngsters are often school resisters who are merely uninterested and/or unmotivated. This kind of labeling had led to the inadvertent cooptation of special education by including millions of so-called mildly handicapped children instead of concentrating on the best possible education for the moderately and severely impaired. An 18-page reference list is appended. (CB)
Descriptors: Cultural Differences, Educational Diagnosis, Elementary Secondary Education, Handicap Identification, Learning Disabilities, Marxian Analysis, Mild Disabilities, Socioeconomic Influences, Special Education, Student Placement, Track System (Education)
Alexander Library, Rutgers University, College Ave., New Brunswick, NJ 08903.
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Ed.D. Dissertation, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.