ERIC Number: EJ710994
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Mar-1
Reference Count: 7
Point of View: Waving to Ray Charles--Missing the Meaning of Disabilities
Kauffman, James M.
Phi Delta Kappan, v86 n7 p520 Mar 2005
The author believes that some statements about education are as silly as waving to Ray Charles or another person who is blind. In particular, some of the statements about closing the achievement gap between students with disabilities and those without disabilities are extremely so. Educators need to demand that statements about education make sense. The author uses the title of this article to demonstrate that anyone who waves to a blind person exhibits a clear and dangerous misunderstanding of facts. Among the laughable but dangerous assumptions of many who should know better is that there need be no gap between the achievement of students with disabilities and the achievement of those who do not have disabilities. This assumption may be implicit in policy or even explicit in policy documents. Either way, it shows that someone has apparently missed the meaning of "disability." In education, students with disabilities are those who score low on tests because of their disability. But educators are led in this misunderstanding of facts by the United States Department of Education. Students in general education are the wrong comparison group for assessing the effectiveness of special education. The appropriate comparison would be between students with disabilities who receive special education and students with disabilities who do not, given that students in the two groups are similar in other ways. Evidence suggests that students with disabilities generally achieve more when they get special education than when they do not.
Descriptors: Alternative Assessment, Special Education, Academic Achievement, Achievement Tests, Federal Legislation, Comparative Analysis, Student Evaluation
Phi Delta Kappa International, Inc., 408 N. Union St., P.O. Box 789, Bloomington, IN 47402-0789. Web site: http://www.pdkintl.org.
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001