A TRANSFORMATION FOR SPECIAL ED
September 20, 2006
A NEW DAY IS DAWNING FOR SPECIAL EDUCATION, WHICH WILL NEED TO ACCOUNT FOR
LANGUAGE AND CULTURAL DIFFERENCES AS NEVER BEFORE, ACCORDING TO AN ARIZONA STATE
UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR Arizona Republic, The (Phoenix, AZ) September 20, 2006
Author: Doug Carroll, The Arizona Republic Estimated printed pages: 2
Special education has some special challenges on the horizon.
The push for accountability in public schools, coupled with increasing numbers
of English-language learners, has put a squeeze on those who work in one of the
most demanding, stressful career fields.
It's no wonder that turnover is high. School districts never stop looking for
qualified special-education teachers.
"The things these teachers do are very demanding in terms of the skills,
requiring specialized training," said Alfredo Artiles, a professor in special
education at Arizona State University.
"We're seeing more children with behavioral issues, with highly demanding needs.
The level of burnout (for teachers) is huge. You see people coming in and out of
In an interview, Artiles said special education is in a significant transition
Question: What will we see in special education over the next three to five
Answer: The field is moving toward a reconfiguration of how it provides
services. Instead of two parallel systems -- general and special education
-- there will be tiers representing the least to most intensive disabilities.
Q What will be the role of general education?
AThe burden is coming back to general education in many ways. One of the
problems is that there has been no mention of language or cultural differences
(in special education). If we don't take care of this now, we'll have the same
situation in 10 years.
QWill colleges and universities be moving toward dual certification of teachers,
for both general and special education?
AThat's going on now and will start at ASU next year. It will be a headache to
define some of this, but this will be a new generation of educators, conversant
on both typical and atypical human development.
QWhat makes for a good special-ed teacher?
AYou have to have the technical knowledge of behavioral issues, curriculum and
learning strategies. In the past, special-ed teachers didn't know general
curriculum very well. They lacked that context. But today's best special-ed
teachers have that. The most effective teachers are those who engage in certain
analysis and critical thinking.
QIs there a kind of person who is drawn to teaching special education?
AMost of the best ones I've met are truly committed to the underdog, to those
who in the past have been left behind. They are the ones who are doing a good
See Sidebar: "Educators juggling their students' unique needs"
CAPTION: Alfredo Artiles
Edition: Final Chaser
Section: VALLEY & State
Copyright (c) The Arizona Republic. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the
permission of Gannett Co., Inc. by NewsBank, inc.
Record Number: pho150905792