Articles – Volume 21, Issue 2, Fall, 2020
By: Thomas Hughes, Melissa Bechtler, Gina Cruz-Szabo, Liesl Hafner, Laci Ortiz, Kayla Piel, Stephanie Quiroz, & Teresa Robbins
Abstract Accordion Closed
Special education is a vital and challenging area of service within American education. The services it provides and the processes which are employed are highly articulated and regulated by an extensive network of federal and state laws. Policy tends to drive decision making processes and accountability more than it guides instruction, decisions about leadership or efforts to promote unity among stakeholders in the schools. Those remaining responsibilities rest with onsite administrators who may not always have an abundance of training or experience in the area of special education. This article focuses on practical issues, enhancements, and voluntary policy considerations that could help promote greater harmony and therein contribute to greater special education success. Starting with findings from an Arizona study that confirmed training oversights, the article illuminates the types of situations that can slow progress and even overwhelm untrained leaders. The article concludes by suggesting changes in the way administrators approach special education coupled with proactive policy recommendations intended to nurture a greater sense of collaboration throughout American schools.