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It is common knowledge that people like to associate with those who behave, look, speak, and act like themselves. Anyone who does not fall in that norm is traditionally…
It is common knowledge that people like to associate with those who behave, look, speak, and act like themselves. Anyone who does not fall in that norm is traditionally perceived, treated, and educated differently (James, 1958; Obiakor, 2008, 2009). Clearly, students with exceptionalities have been discriminated against, ostracized, labeled, and called demeaning names (e.g., stupid, imbecile, and little dummies). Today, it has become increasingly clear that differences are a part of life. Advocates of students with exceptionalities have pressed for ways to positively respond to their needs in quantifiable ways (Obiakor, Harris, & Beachum, in press). In the United States, it is impossible to divorce the education of these students from the Civil Rights Movement and the subsequent events that followed. To a great extent, the education of these students has been historically influenced by social developments and court decisions in the 1950s and 1960s. For example, the landmark Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954) case was a civil rights case that declared separate education as unequal education and unconstitutional (Obiakor, 2009). This was significant because it had the goal of ending racial segregation in schools. Logically, this opened doors of advocacy for students with exceptionalities. The ruling of this case became a catalyst that prompted parents and professionals to lobby for equitable education for their students.
Changes are occuring at a startling fillip in our society and our world. One of the changes is the need to revamp how persons with disabilities are treated and educated…
Changes are occuring at a startling fillip in our society and our world. One of the changes is the need to revamp how persons with disabilities are treated and educated. In the United States of America, laws have been pulmulgated to reduce the plight of learners with disabilties. As a result, myriad intervention strategies have been instituted to identify, assess, label, place, and educate these learners. However, some interventions continue to be very traditional. To go beyond tradition and adequately maximize the fullest potential of learners with disabilties, we must value the “specialness” of special education as a powerful intervention program, listen to new voices with new ideas, and debunk deficit thinking that are prejudicial, especially in helping people with disabilities to survive in our competitive society. Interestingly, the chapters in this book have exposed the different intervention options for learners with disabilities. Clearly, without innovative interventions for these learners, special education will be a failure.
Multiculturalism, in theory and practice, has become an important educational phenomenon in today's schools, colleges, and universities. It seeks inclusive avenues that…
Multiculturalism, in theory and practice, has become an important educational phenomenon in today's schools, colleges, and universities. It seeks inclusive avenues that equalize opportunities for all individuals (Sue, 2004). To a large measure, it incorporates multiple voices, including those of culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) persons and communities in solving local, national, and global problems. As it appears, CLD learners are the majority in some of the largest school districts in the United States (Grossman, 1995, 1998; Ladson-Billings, 1994; Obiakor, 2004; Obiakor & Beachum, 2005). For instance, Ladson-Billings (1994) noted that these learners “represent 30 percent of the public school population. In the twenty largest school districts, they makeup over 70 percent of total school enrollment” (p. x). This revelation is particularly important today, especially because the composition of educational professionals and service providers still does not reflect the changing cultural and linguistic compositions of children in schools (Obiakor, 2007, 2008). At some levels, rather than progressive measures of desegregation, we are seeing retrogressive measures of resegregation. While this might not be a necessarily bad idea for some urban schools, the progressive goals of the 1954 Brown versus the School Board of Education in Topeka, Kansas case have somehow failed (Obiakor & Utley, 2004).