Special education is under constant attacks from both outside and inside sources. External challenges are from costs and accountability while the internal challenges are from differences in perspective and the nature and representation of knowledge. This paper summaries the article Ethics and special Education written by Paul, James, French, Peter, Cranston-Gingras and Ann in 2001 Special education is viewed differently based on the political and social context. The current special education system has drawbacks like lack of foundation, continuity and it relies too much on ethical issues arising in classroom discussions.
Moreover the current system depends heavily on psychological principles rather than the actual problems in special education. Though lot of the special education schools were established by revolutionary leaders earlier, their values as a system of care is still questioned by critiques. The current special education system is theoretically wrong and also it is not supported by enough researches. Shortage of special education teachers and also the increased local control instead of a centralized control is evident in special education sector.
Choice morality” or the principle based ethics is the main concern in the special education sector. Freedom of choices is limited in special education sector. The teachers were forced to follow certain patterns defined for special education. Immanuel Kant and John Rawls argued for the morality in choice selection while other philosophies like utilitarian argues for the outcomes of the choices selected. Another concern is character morality. Character moralists were concerned about how humans actually behave and the results of that behavior. Most of the human behaviors are habitual rather than chosen deliberately.
These behaviors are attributed to culture, tradition, training, custom, ritual, convention, routine, and folklore and hence modification of such behavior is difficult. The major difference in Moral and character choices are in preparing students to make choices without reference to the content of those choices. Character moralist maintains, things ought to be arranged so that everyone gets what they deserve. On the other hand advocates of moral choices stresses on the principles rather than the outcome. Quality of the available special education teachers is debatable.
Nonacademic qualities required of special education teachers are not addressed in their training areas. Moreover neither general special education nor specific disability– focused textbooks typically address ethics or morality directly. Children with disabilities are minor in all the countries and hence their problems are addressed lastly by even the democratic governments. In democracy everything is worked out on majority and hence the interests of disabled minority children may be quiet often neglected. Racism and cultural problems are prevalent in special education sector also.
The absence of training and research in ethics has been a regrettable omission in special education sector. The teachers must be trained properly with respect to ethical as well as technical analyses of issues in research and practices. In short in order to improve the special education ethical standards we must recognize the implications of the minority status of students with disabilities in a liberal democracy. The inclusion of all children in general education programs is an ethical as well as an empirical matter. The debate about what counts for knowledge must be open and respectful.