Special Education Debate

Based on state and federal statistics, minority students are not being over identified for Special Education, the students in Special Education have a lower dropout rate than the students in general education, and students in Special Education show growth towards closing their learning gap.

Natalie Bogg
Vernette Hansen
Azusa Pacific University


Natalie Bogg has 7 years experience in Special Education through teaching and/or being a job developer with the WorkAbility I Program. Natalie has earned a Master’s Degree, General Education and Special Education Credentials, CLAD Certificate, and is married with 2 teenage daughters living at home. Natalie has completed the Con side, Pro Rebuttal, and Conclusion of this paper.

Vernette Hansen left business after 12 years to pursue a Master’s degree in Special Education. She became interested in students with special needs after working for county schools as an instructional assistant. She felt these students could do much more than what was expected of them in academics, behavioral and life-skills management. She has worked for three years in a school setting running a Learning Center and providing support for regular education teachers. All Special Needs students in her school are in regular education classes most of the day. Vernette has completed the Introduction, Pro side, and Con Rebuttal of this paper.


There are three controversial issues concerning Special Education and achievement. First is the concern that minority groups are over identified as Special Needs. The data indicates this may be occurring to some degree, but has lessened in the last few decades for some groups. Then there are the twin issues of closing the achievement gap between Special Education and regular education students and eventual high school graduation rates for Special Needs students. The new high school exit exam requirements heighten concerns of these issues.

In 2006, the California Department of Education issued a progress report showing statistics for sub-groups of Special Education students and progress in these areas. These groups are especially important to look at as we, educators, strive to meet the educational needs of students with challenges. We know we have succeeded legitimately in meeting those needs when we have proportionally represented sub-groups in Special Education, closed the learning gap between students with special needs and non-disabled students, and produced high school graduates from all sub-groups.

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