Graduation Speech : Special Education Program

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Students enrolled in special education programs are generally defined as passive learners. Many students in the special education program transfer their passive classroom learning into their knowledge of their Individualized Education Program (IEP) and rarely demonstrate self-determination skills. Few students attend their IEP meeting and fewer students know their IEP goals and goal areas. Thus, the students in the special education setting display a lack of involvement and participation in their IEP, including the accommodations and modifications available to help them succeed. This researcher has found that most of the students in the special education program at a rural northwest Iowa high school where she teaches are not actively involved in their own IEP process. Also, the students do not understand why they are in the special education program; therefore, they do not attend IEP meetings and are not active participants in goal setting and transition planning.
Context of the Problem
Only two of the 24 students being served in the researcher’s rural school district could explain when and why they were placed in the special education program, the purpose of the IEP meeting, and accommodations available to help them succeed. These same two students were the only two to attend their annual IEP meeting. When asked by the researcher why the students did not attend the IEP annual meeting the most common response was, “They don’t need me.”
Hypothesis and Variables Studied

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