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Article of Interest - Special Education

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Editorial: 'Special' Education Helps All Students
The Cincinnati Enquirer, June 27, 2005
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The University of Cincinnati has just announced a plan to offer free or drastically reduced tuition to teachers willing to enter the field of special education.

That's a cost savings and employment enhancement for teachers, but the real winners in this package are students - and that's not just children with special needs but regular education students as well.

The newly recertified teachers will serve as intervention specialists, which means they'll work in regular classrooms that have some students with special needs.

Working in conjunction with the regular classroom teacher, these specialists can make an amazing difference for kids. Their presence means individualized support for special-needs students, thereby allowing the teacher to better concentrate on the overall needs of the group.

But the specialist's efforts quickly spread to the entire classroom. As they work to help disabled students work collaboratively with other students, they often offer the kind of support and instruction that benefits typical students as well. The extra attention is powerful, and their instructional skills - reframing the lesson, for example, or suggesting other approaches to solving a problem - are helpful to all students.

Their greatest contribution, however, may be removing the stigma from getting extra help when you need it. Often, students never realize exactly why an intervention specialist is in their classroom, or which students he or she is there to help.

As opposed to past days, where special education students were educated in separate classrooms or pulled out of their regular classrooms for help, the entry of an intervention specialist into the classroom supports a climate of inclusion.

The UC plan will pay full tuition costs for 25 teachers to be recertified in special education; it will provide lower tuition rates for an additional 35.

UC won a $200,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Education to fund the one-year program, which will recruit candidates throughout Southwestern Ohio. Kentucky teachers can apply for the reduced tuition option, but not the free tuition plan.

The grant is an attempt to increase the number of certified teachers in an area with chronic shortages.

For more information on the UC tuition program, check the Web site of the College of Education, Criminal Justice and Human Service at www.education.uc.edu, or call Anne Bauer, professor of teacher education, at (513) 556-4537.

     

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