1 University of Massachusetts Lowell Graduate School of Education Issues, Mandates, and Ethics in Special Education Spring 2013 Instructor: Ellen J. OʼBrien, Ed.D. Phone: (cell) COURSE DESCRIPTION This course will examine special education laws and ethical practices in K-12 settings. CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK The mission of the University of Massachusetts Lowell is to enhance the intellectual, personal and cultural development of its students through excellent, affordable educational programs. The University seeks to meet the needs of the Commonwealth today and into the future and supports the development of sustainable technologies and communities through its teaching, research, scholarship and engagement. The Graduate School of Education (GSE) contributes to this mission by developing professionals who help transform the region and beyond through leadership roles in education. Through this course, the GSEʼs commitment to Education for Transformation produces graduates who: demonstrate excellent knowledge, judgment and skills in their professional fields promote equity of educational opportunity for all learners collaborate with other educators, parents, and community representatives to support educational excellence use inquiry and research to address educational challenges possess the collaborative capability to transform relationships among people in schools, mobilizing them to accomplish purposes they value. COURSE OVERVIEW Education for Transformation is the conceptual framework that unifies programs in the Graduate School of Education, with a focus on excellence, equity, collaboration, and integrity. This mission lies at the heart of the design for this course, and should also serve as a driving force of student work. This course is designed for graduate students in education and related disciplines. The goals of this course are: (a) to familiarize students with current topics and critical controversies in special education, (b) to assist students in gaining skills in critical analyses of issues, and (c) to provide students with opportunities to develop skills which
2 ejob_spring ʼ13 2 are linked to the professorate (e.g., researching, writing, synthesizing and analyzing contemporary issues). The issues covered in this course, although contemporary, are not new. They have developed over time and have evolved as supporters and detractors exchange views and as we, in the field, increasingly recognize their relationship to other issues. This course is designed to provide an overview of professional, legal and ethical practices related to the provision of meaningful learning opportunities for students with disabilities. In analyzing these issues, the intention is to move the discussion from an emphasis on advocacy alone to one that leads to a broader examination of their relationships to the future of the profession of special education as we know it and, most importantly, the educational future of children and youth with special needs. The hope is that students will come away from this course with a broader and deeper understanding of the issues outside and inside the profession which fuel the continuing debates about how to provide the best education to our children and youth. STUDENT OUTCOMES This course is designed to enable students to: Identify current issues in special education. Explain the historical, educational, and philosophical roots of current issues. Explain the multiple perspectives on the topic. Propose implications for policy and practice. Demonstrate knowledge of competing paradigms impacting the field of special education. Demonstrate knowledge of the ethics of special education and the ethical deliberation process. Gain an understanding of the critical issues facing the field of special education and the implications for professional practice. Demonstrate knowledge of the inter-disciplinary and inter-agency collaborative nature of service coordination for children with disabilities and their Explore the future of special education through the eyes of general educators, policymakers and other stakeholders outside the profession. Develop a critical stance toward the impact of the complex issues involved in assessment and high-stakes accountability, and their impact on special education students and families. PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS: This program complies with the standards for special educators established by the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), the major special education professional organization.
3 ejob_spring ʼ13 3 The CEC Standards are listed at: Look in the second column on the left, and click on Professional Standards. On this page, to the right, there is a red book PDF document titled What Every Special Educator Must Know. The CEC Standards for all beginning special education administrators are located in this document. The primary CEC standard that will be addressed in this class is Standard 9: Professional and Ethical Practice. The standard is stated as follows: Special Education Content Standard 9: Professional and Ethical Practice Special educators are guided by the professionʼs ethical and professional practice standards. Special educators practice in multiple roles and complex situations across wide age and developmental ranges. Their practice requires ongoing attention to legal matters along with serious professional and ethical considerations. Special educators engage in professional activities and participate in learning communities that benefit individuals with exceptional learning needs, their families, colleagues, and their own professional growth. Special educators view themselves as lifelong learners and regularly reflect on and adjust their practice. Special educators are aware of how their own and others attitudes, behaviors, and ways of communicating can influence their practice. Special educators understand that culture and language can interact with exceptionalities, and are sensitive to the many aspects of diversity of individuals with exceptional learning needs and their families. Special educators actively plan and engage in activities that foster their professional growth and keep them current with evidence-based best practices. Special educators know their own limits of practice and practice within them. REQUIRED COURSE TEXTS Byrnes, M. (2008). Taking sides: Clashing views in special education. Columbus, OH: The McGraw-Hill Companies. 5 th edition. ISBN-13: Sorrells, A., Rieth, H., Sindelar, P. (2004). Critical issues in special education: Access, diversity, and accountability. New York: Pearson. ISBN: STRONGLY Suggested: American Psychological Association. (2009). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. CoursePack will be provided electronically to all students, and will contain articles, research, and other scholarly work to be read and synthesized. This information is available in the RESOURCES section of the course.
4 ejob_spring ʼ13 4 STUDENTS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS Students with documented special needs are responsible for making their needs known to the instructor by the end of the first week of class, or as documented. Students are responsible for seeking and arranging available assistance from the Office of Student Disability Services, 240 OʼLeary, , or by contacting This course adheres to the University's policy to provide reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities and for religious reasons. COURSE POLICIES What I Expect of You Full participation in each class module On-time completion of all assignments Sufficient outside time spent on the coursework to meet the course objectives Demonstrated effort toward excellence in class work Collaboration with classmates as appropriate Respect for and consideration of classmates Enthusiasm toward professional growth, exploration, and change What You Can Expect of Me Planned and organized class sessions Demonstration of good instructional practices Fair evaluation procedures (including constructive feedback) Creation of an environment in which ideas may be openly shared and discussed Availability for questions and support A sense of humor and understanding ACADEMIC INTEGRITY Students are expected to adhere to the Universityʼs policies for Academic Integrity. These can be accessed at Cheating and plagiarism are not acceptable and will not be condoned. Cheating and/or plagiarism will result in a failing grade for the assignment, and could result in a failing grade for the class.
5 ejob_spring ʼ13 5 MAJOR COURSE ASSESSMENTS Participation 20% Written Critiques (2) 20% (10% each) Critical analysis paper 20% Scholarly presentation 20% Reflections 20% (5% each) Participation Participation in class will be assessed weekly, based on your colleague feedback, assignment postings, timeliness, and any other elements of participation expected for the week. The assessment will be holistic, spanning all of your contributions during the week. Unlike major projects, there will not be regular feedback on your participation assessment. Also unlike other assessed work in this course, participation may NOT be revised once a learning module is completed. If you do not participate in a particular week, you do not have the option to make up the work. You are required to log into class a minimum of four times during the week (Tuesday through Monday), and to post substantively on at least three of the days. The class work is paced/due so that this schedule is easy to maintain. Posts need to be substantive, and on topic. General/non-descript statements are not considered substantive ( I agree with you, I never thought of that, I feel the same way. ). Substantive posts are directly related to the reading material, and classmatesʼ posts. Therefore, citations from reading are expected. Citations from the required textbooks need only the authorʼs name(s), and page number. However, all other citations should be in APA format. Written Critique/Article Summary An important aspect of professional development in our field is the ability to critically read, analyze, and synthesize research within the field, as students, researchers, and educators. Students will research, read, analyze, and synthesize articles for two critical issues (must be from different strands of the course). One major aspect of the written critiques is to provide classmates with a view of how this article relates, extends, informs, contradicts or complements the cadre of common readings identified for that issue. Details for the critiques are found in the RESOURCES section of class. (3-5 pages each)
6 ejob_spring ʼ13 6 Critical analysis paper Prepare a paper summarizing the literature (literature review) regarding an identified and approved topic, identifying the audiences of interest, explaining reasons for controversy, summarizing the pros and cons of the issue, and suggesting implications for practice and policy. Details for the critical analysis are found in the RESOURCES section of class. (8-10 pages) Scholarly Presentation Students will create an interactive, multimedia class presentation on the selected topic of the critical analysis paper. This can be done in any multimedia style of your choice. The presentation should be a concise synopsis of the critical analysis paper, focusing on the pros and cons and critical issues, rather than on the literature review. Details for the critical analysis are found in the RESOURCES section of class. Reflections Four times throughout the semester, students will respond to scripted prompts. These reflections are more informal in nature (no need to research responses). Details for reflections are found in the RESOURCES section of class. (approximately 2 pages each) SUBMISSION OF WORK Work is due on the day and time indicated for each assignment, as indicated below, and found in the Week at a Glance resource provided each week. Formal assignments must adhere to APA style. Weekly postings may be more informal, however, appropriate citations are always required. If you anticipate having trouble meeting a due date, please contact me in advance so that we may negotiate an appropriate alternative arrangement. All deadlines are in Eastern Standard Time; so for those of you in different zones, please take this into account. ALL written work must be submitted in Word format. It is your responsibility to convert to Word prior to submission. ELECTRONIC SUBMISSION GUIDELINES The Written Critiques/Article Summaries, Critical Analysis, Reflections, and Scholarly Presentations will be submitted via the Assignment Dropbox tool. Scholarly Presentations will also be posted to a discussion board.
7 ejob_spring ʼ13 7 COURSE CALENDAR AND WEEKLY ACTIVITIES The course is divided into three strands, each driven by essential topics in special education, as follows: Strand I: Foundations of Contemporary Practice Special Education in context Competing perspectives Special Education today Definitional debate Placement controversy Strand II: Contemporary Issues and Practices Issues in assessment Issues in instruction Early intervention Transition School reform and Special Education Strand III: Issues Reflected in Practice Home-School-Community-Agency Partnerships Legal issues Ethics issues Assessment and accountability Personnel and Leadership The course calendar showing each learning module of the course, together with the reading for that learning module and assignments, are in this syllabus. A learning module is the course content for one week. Much more detail about topics, readings, and assignments than what appears below will be provided within each learning module. Each learning module begins on Tuesday. Discussion threads occur throughout the week. In addition, students will be paired each week as colleagues to provide critical feedback on each otherʼs work. The assigned colleague will be a different classmate each week. Assignments will be listed in each weekʼs learning module. Details for colleague responses are found in the RESOURCES section of class. Classes run from Tuesday through Monday. Based on the above, a typical week will proceed as follows: Tuesday: New learning module made available
8 ejob_spring ʼ13 8 Tuesday-Monday: Review of information; reading; collaborative dialogue; response to prompts Thursday: Colleague responses due by 5 PM COMMUNICATION AND PARTICIPATION Blackboard works with its own internal mail system, which means all messages are sent, stored and read within the course, not through your own external mail. To access mail, you must be logged in to this class. It is recommended that you check your at least once a day, so that you donʼt miss important course information. I will respond to your within 48 hours of your sending it. Please send all to me via the course . If I do not respond to you, please assume that I did not receive the , and send it again. Discussion Boards: Each Learning Module (week) has its own discussion boards. Each discussion board consists of weekly questions. Make the most of this information sharing resource. The discussion boards serve as an extension of the face-to-face classroom in a traditional class. It is an important part of the online learning experience and should be maximized by all students. It is expected that you will contribute not only with your own thoughts/reflections, but also by responding to othersʼ posts. Netiquette: Netiquette stands for Network Etiquette. It refers to proper behavior while interacting online. The golden rule of netiquette is essentially to treat your classmates and colleagues as you would want to be treated. Please be polite and considerate. Think about whether your comment could cause hurt feelings. Be careful about how your words can come across because misunderstandings can be common online. Calling Me: Please feel free to call me! There are some things you may want to discuss or question, that you may not feel comfortable with in . I am more than fine with this! If I donʼt answer my phone, please leave a message for me (and remind me if you are in a different time zone), and let me know when it would be convenient for me to call you back.
9 ejob_spring ʼ13 9 Learning Module Week 1 Strand 1 Week 2 Week 3 Course Schedule Topic Major Assessed Reading Assignment Work Due Due Course Introduction CI* pp TS** pp Historical contexts Special Education in context CI pp ~ Critical TS pp Competing perspectives analysis topic and due Special Education today/definitional debate ~ Critique 1 CI pp TS pp Week 4 Trends in placement issues ~ Reflection 1 CI pp TS pp Week 5 Strand 2 Issues in assessment and instruction CI pp TS pp Week 6 Week 7 Issues, trends, and challenges of Early Intervention School Reform and Special Education ~ Critique 2 ~ Reflection 2 CI pp TS pp Week 8 Strand 3 Partnerships, Consultation and Collaborations ~ Reflection 3 TS pp Week 9 Transitions CI TS Week 10 Legal Issues Week 11 Issues in Ethics Week 12 Assessment and accountability Week 13 Personnel and Leadership ~ Reflection 4 ~ Critical analysis paper ~ Scholarly presentation CI TS pp CI pp TS pp CI pp Critical Analysis
10 ejob_spring ʼ13 10 Week 14 Course Synthesis Critical Analysis Scholarly Presentations * Critical Issues (CI) ** Taking Sides (TS) Reading Assignments by Chapter Titles: Week Critical Issues in Special Education Taking Sides 1 The Historical Contexts of Special Education: Framing Our Understanding of Contemporary Issues Issue 1: Are Labels Good for Kids Issue 2: Does IDEA 2004 Contain Substantial Change? 2 Multicultural Perspectives in Special Education: A Call for Responsibility in Research, Practice, and Teacher Preparation. Issue 9: Should Special Education and General Education Merge? Issue 11: Does NCLB Leave Some 3 Classification Issues in Special Education for English Language Learners Students Behind? Issue 13: Is Full Inclusion the Least Restrictive Environment? 4 Trends in Placement Issues Issue 5: Are Charter School Doors Open to Students with Disabilities? 5 Issues in Curriculum-Based Measurement: Monitoring Instruction to Increase Student Learning Issue 8: Is Response to Intervention (RTI) Ready for Implementation? Instructional Interventions for Students with Learning Disabilities 6 Issues, Trends, and Challenges in Early Intervention 7 Issue 4: Can Whole-School Reform Reduce Discipline Problems? 8 Issue 20: Does Working with Parents Have to Be Contentious? 9 Transition Issues: Process, Practice, Issue 14: Should Colleges Be More and Perspectives Accommodating to Students with Disabilities? 10 Contemporary Legal Issues in Special Education 11 Issue 6: Should Insurance Cover Treatments and Services for Autism?
11 ejob_spring ʼ13 11 Issue 17: Is Mental Health Screening and Unwarranted Intrusion? 12 Public Policy: From Access to Accountability in Special Education 13 Teacher Education: Toward a Qualified Teacher in Every Classroom Issue 18: Is ADHD a Real Disorder? Issue 12: Should Students with Cognitive Disabilities Be expected to Demonstrate Academic Proficiency? Leadership Personnel in Special Education: Can Persistent Shortage Be Resolved? STATEMENT OF CONFIDENTIALITY AND PROFESSIONAL ETHICS: Due to the sensitive nature of course material, participants in this course must be committed to a code of professional ethics by ensuring confidentiality is protected for all individuals with disabilities and their families. To insure privacy and respect for these individuals, students are asked to use pseudonyms in reference to all real persons and places in written materials (in paper and digital form) and/or to use only first names in class discussions and presentations. RUBRIC Graduate School of Education Overall Grade Rubric Grade GPA Point Comments structure A % Work of the highest professional standard demonstrating independence and exemplary performance. A % Excellent work demonstrating independence and high quality performance. A % Very good work, indicating consistent and careful thought and attention to the task, but requiring some areas of improvement. B % Good work, carefully executed for the most part, yet requiring several areas of improvement. B % Work of graduate standard, but omissions exist or
12 ejob_spring ʼ13 12 careful analysis is not evident. Below Graduate Standard B % Effort is evident, but work indicates lack of understanding of the demands of the task. C % Poor quality work with little attention to detail and the demands of the task. C % Work of very poor quality, indicating no understanding of the depth of analysis required. F 0.0 Below 65% Serious neglect or evidence of academic dishonesty. If you require any type of accommodation, please speak with me. Please notify me in writing regarding any potential conflicts between your religious observances and class meetings and assignment due dates.