Reponse 6

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Week Six Instructor Guidance

You are almost there!  We are now in the final week of the course. Last week was spent learning about conflict and how the Procedural Safeguards protect the rights of children with disabilities.  Over the past five weeks, you have had the chance to interpret this new information and legal cases in order to prepare for the final week of learning. 

This week you will reflect on your personal beliefs and judgments regarding special education and how these perspectives drive the decisions that you make as a professional.  Additionally, the ethical practices that are aligned to the (IDEA) will be explored.

Specific attention has been given to the core tenets of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA):  (a) Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE), (b) Least Restrictive Environment (LRE), (c) Individualized Education Program (IEP), and the (d) Procedural Safeguards which are all designed to protect rights of children with disabilities within the public school setting.  IDEA’s primary purpose is to assure that students with disabilities receive sufficient services throughout their educational career to enable them to lead productive adult lives.

The activities for this week are to enable you to engage in purposeful sharing of your ideas, gaining valuable feedback from your colleagues and to further develop your understanding of special education law and ethics.  There are two discussions and the summative assignment.

Ethical Principles

Many professional educational organizations have developed a Code of Ethics or a series of behaviors that educators should follow to guarantee that they are acting within the scope of their jobs (Stone, 2000).  Providing this professional framework gives teachers and other professionals guidelines to follow as well as an undeniable credibility of the profession.

“A code of ethics is a set of principles of conduct within an organization that guide decision-making and behavior. The purpose of the code is to provide members and other interested persons with guidelines for making ethical choices in the conduct of their work. Professional integrity is the cornerstone of many employees' credibility. Member of an organization adopt a code of ethics to share a dedication to ethical behavior and adopt this code to declare the organization's principles and standards of practice” ("Code of Ethics Law & Legal Definition," n.d., para 1).

The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) has designed principles and practice standards that guide the work of the professional special educator.  These guidelines were developed with the intent to respect the diverse characteristics and needs of children with disabilities and their families, a recurring theme that we have learned that is consistent with the IDEA. 

A.  Maintaining challenging expectations for individuals with exceptionalities to develop the highest possible learning outcomes and quality of life potential in ways that respect their dignity, culture, language, and background.

B.  Maintaining a high level of professional competence and integrity and exercising professional judgment to benefit individuals with exceptionalities and their families.

C.  Promoting meaningful and inclusive participation of individuals with exceptionalities in their schools and communities.

D.  Practicing collegially with others who are providing services to individuals with exceptionalities.

E.  Developing relationships with families based on mutual respect and actively involving families and individuals with exceptionalities in educational decision-making.

F.  Using evidence, instructional data, research, and professional knowledge to inform practice.

G.  Protecting and supporting the physical and psychological safety of individuals with exceptionalities.

H.  Neither engaging in nor tolerating any practice that harms individuals with exceptionalities.

I.  Practicing within the professional ethics, standards, and policies of CEC; upholding laws, regulations, and policies that influence professional practice; and advocating improvements in laws, regulations, and policies.

J.  Advocating for professional conditions and resources that will improve learning outcomes of individuals with exceptionalities.

K.  Engaging in the improvement of the profession through active participation in professional organizations.

L.  Participating in the growth and dissemination of professional knowledge and skills.

A.  Maintaining challenging expectations for individuals with exceptionalities to develop the highest possible learning outcomes and quality of life potential in ways that respect their dignity, culture, language, and background.

B.  Maintaining a high level of professional competence and integrity and exercising professional judgment to benefit individuals with exceptionalities and their families.

C.  Promoting meaningful and inclusive participation of individuals with exceptionalities in their schools and communities.

D.  Practicing collegially with others who are providing services to individuals with exceptionalities.

E.  Developing relationships with families based on mutual respect and actively involving families and individuals with exceptionalities in educational decision-making.

F.  Using evidence, instructional data, research, and professional knowledge to inform practice.

G.  Protecting and supporting the physical and psychological safety of individuals with exceptionalities.

H.  Neither engaging in nor tolerating any practice that harms individuals with exceptionalities.

Table 1.Adapted from "Ethical Principles & Practice Standards," n.d.

The CEC also has developed standard for professional practices for a variety of positions that can be found in the field ranging from those involved in professional development to paraprofessionals.

 

Joint Decision-Making and Problem Solving

Bolman and Deal, in their text entitled, Reframing Organizations:  Artistry, Choice, and Leadership, (2003) illustrate the various lenses through which the decision-making process occurs. 

The Structural Frame focuses on organization structure and provides insight into how managers and leaders within organizations can better organize and structure organizations, groups, and teams to get results.

The Human Resource Frame focuses on the people in organizations and provides insight into how to tailor organizations to satisfy human needs, improve human resource management, and build positive interpersonal and group dynamics.

The Political Frame focuses on the political dynamics in organizations and examines how managers and leaders in organizations can understand power and conflict, build coalitions, hone political skills, and deal with internal and external politics.

The Symbolic Frame focuses on meaning and culture in organizations, and provides insight into how leaders and managers can shape culture, stage organizational drama for internal and external audiences, and build spirit through ritual, ceremony, and story.

Making use of differing perspectives of the contributing parties can be the beginning of effective problem solving and trust building (Beslin&Reddin, 2004) leading to resolution of disputes.  It would easy if there was one formula that could be used in any situation, but unfortunately, this is not the case.  Each decision presents its own challenges and we all have different ways of approaching problems.  Integration of these concepts to any area of conflict, including those in the field of special education, can be beneficial to a successful solution.

Week Six Discussion Guidance

Perceptions and ReactionsIn preparation for this discussion you are asked to read two informative articles. One reading explains a study involving the experiences of family members who attended several IEP team meetings for their child.  Placing yourself in the role of one of the parent participants in this study or alternatively, the lead special educator who has been tasked with improving parental experiences, you will respond to the discussion prompts.

Your response to at least two peers, whose role was different than your own in the initial post, will provide suggestions for how to improve the process.  Using your required reading as well as the Instructor Guidance, you will sufficiently support your responses.

Discussion 2,  The Influence of Personal Beliefs in Decision Making and Judgmentprovides the opportunity to reflect on how this course is connected to the learning in your previous course and your personal experiences and application in the real word.  Since you are preparing to become a professional in the field of special education or continue your current work in the field, this process of reflective inquiry is critical to your summation of the content.

In your response, you will consider the similarities and differences of the initial posts of your classmates.  By asking questions you will extend the discussion and provide a deeper exploration as to personal or professional experiences that have or will experience.

Please review the discussion board rubric prior to your initial post to ensure you are fully meeting each of the set criteria to earn full credit. As per the rubric requirements your initial post should include relevant professional, personal, or other real-world experiences in a manner that is rich in thought and provides valuable insight into the topic.

Additionally, all elements of the discussion board prompt should be thoroughly addressed with strong and precise connections to previous and/or current course content, or to real-life situations. When substantively replying to your peers’ post, be sure to provide a thorough and constructive analysis relating the response to relevant course concepts that incorporates pertinent follow-up thoughts or questions about the topic, and demonstrates respect for the diverse opinions of fellow learners.

Finally, while it may difficult to do for all the responses to your posts, please make an effort to respond back to those who took the time to respond to your initial post.  It is the courteous and gracious thing to do, and has the potential to make our classroom community discussions more interesting and thought-provoking. Answering questions posed by your peers invites continued learning, meaningful application, and relevant extension of the discussion. 

Week Six Assignment Guidance

The final assignment in this course is the, Landmark Case Law Review: Honig v. Doe.   The only Supreme Court opinion regarding disciplinary matters, is this case.  This assignment requires that you summarize the issue surrounding the case, the parties involved, and the outcome as well as evaluating the impact this case has on compliant and consistent special education procedures required by the IDEA.

There are specific guidelines for the written portion of this assignment as well as the content.  In order to maximize your score, it is essentially that you follow these instructions closely.

Make sure to use the Grading Rubric as a self-checklist before submitting the final copy of your assignment to confirm you have met or exceeded each required expectation. The highest level of achievement on the rubric is “distinguished”, which is only earned through exceeding posted expectations at the proficiency level. Please remember you are in a masters-level program. Therefore, your writing, research, and content are held to graduate-level expectations.

ePortfolio

Save this written assignment in your electronic portfolio (ePortfolio).  As you recall, your ePortfolio serves as a collection of evidence to support the development and mastery of competencies as you progress through this program and you will re-visit it in ESE 699, your MASE program capstone course.

References

Beslin, R. &Reddin, C. (2004, November/December). How leaders can communicate to build trust.  Ivey Business Journal, 1-6.

Bolman, L. G & Deal, T.E. (2003). Reframing Organizations:  Artistry, choice, and leadership (3rded).  San Francisco, CA:  Jossey-Bass.

Code of Ethics Law &Legal Definition.(n.d.). Retrieved from http://definitions.uslegal.com/c/code-of-ethics/

Ethical Principles & Practice Standards.(n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.cec.sped.org/Standards/Ethical-Principles-and-Practice-Standards

Stone, S. (2000). Code of ethics and code of conduct for nursing students. NSNA/IPRINT11/12, 49-51. Retrieved from http://www.nsna.org/Portals/0/Skins/NSNA/pdf/pubs_code_of_ethics_and_code_of_conduct.pdf