Critical theory integrates the value of social justice into the practice of research and focuses on the manner in which injustice and subjugation shape peoples’ experience and understanding of the world (Endres, 1997). A critical theory perspective is specifically concerned with issues of power and justice and the ways that the economy, race, class, gender, ideologies, discourses, education, religion, disability, and other social institutions interact to construct a social system (Kellner, 2003). Thus, critical inquiry must be connected to attempts to confront injustices of society. Clearly, an effective history of special education law can better illuminate some of the injustices commonly experienced by students with disabilities. However, the majority of school administrators and directors of student services and special education have viewed special education regulations through a positivist lens. Skrtic (1995) contended that although positivism has been discredited, it is still the theory of knowledge used in modern professionalism (including education, special education, and other social sciences). Professional knowledge in this positivist framework is received and perceived by students as objective truth because the scientific process remains the mechanism for discovering and applying new knowledge. Society affords professionals autonomy on the assumption that professionals, by virtue of their access to specialized knowledge, know what is best for their clients. In a type of moebius loop construction, only the professionals can judge what is best for their clients because they are the only ones with access to the specialized knowledge. This knowledge, frequently based on “traditional” histories, becomes the pervasive, professional knowledge employed in practice. Thus, it is essential to understand the assumptions inherent in this knowledge base.
LaNear, J. and Frattura, E. (2006), "Legal Foundations of Special Education Administration", Obiakor, F.E., Rotatori, A.F. and Burkhardt, S. (Ed.) Current Perspectives in Special Education Administration (Advances in Special Education, Vol. 17), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 17-41. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0270-4013(06)17002-6Download as .RIS
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited