Teacher Education Faculty Publications

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Response or Comment

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Catholic Education: A Journal of Inquiry and Practice


DeFiore (2006) provides a comprehensive review of elements that have shaped the state of special education in Catholic schools. The article speaks of the bishops’ vision without teeth and the theoretical support provided under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEIA). DeFiore discusses the demand for services that are not met because of a lack of resources, expertise, and funding. The article concludes by allowing that much has occurred over the past decade, but more is needed.

To meet this need, DeFiore states that diocesan and local leaders must face the challenge of inspiring the laity to respond to this need with the necessary enthusiasm. We believe that high quality special education comes out of a culture of inclusiveness and is not impacted as greatly by resources as DeFiore and others would suggest. The focus on the inequities in funding between public and private schools often provides an opportunity to justify the inability to provide services for children with special needs. In truth, special education is mandated but not fully funded in public schools as well. At the time that the original special education act, Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975, was signed into law, President Ford warned that the mandates would far exceed the allocated resources. His hope was that Congress would revise the law to be more realistic before it was enacted in 1978. These revisions never happened and the mandates of the law continue to exceed the funding (Freedman, Bisbicos, Jentz, & Orenstein, 2005).

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