'Special' Education Helps All Students
The Cincinnati Enquirer, June 27, 2005
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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 or call Anne Bauer, professor of
teacher education, at (513) 556-4537.
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