The Importance Of Special Education For Students With Disabilities

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Special education is considered to be a relatively new field within education, with true recognition of student’s disabilities occurring around the 1900’s (Frost & Kersten, 2011). Up until that time, students with disabilities were viewed with superstition and fear. As the public became more passionate about students with disabilities and with the passage of Brown v. Board of Education in 1954, the stage was set for providing equal opportunities for education of all children. Additional court cases in the 1970’s across the nation helped ensure that states were obligated under federal law to provide equality and free and appropriate education for students with disabilities (Frost & Kersten, 2011). With the rise of educational laws, guidelines, and polices within the field of special education, leaders are faced with the task of providing appropriate education for all learners within their building. Principals have evolved from disciplinarians and managers to instructional leaders, which includes more complex and demanding responsibilities (Lynch, 2012). Additionally, the passage of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) have further highlighted the need for principals to step up as instructional leaders for special education as well as the general curriculum (Lynch, 2012). Accountability measures have solidified the importance of the principal within this role. According to McHatton, Boyer, and Terry (2010), current
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