Developing Inclusive School Cultures From Within
Chapter 1. Special and Inclusive? A Model of Special Education
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This chapter looks at the special education model known as Special Education 2000 (SE2000). Behind school systems established to serve the needs of students with “special needs” lies a model of “special education.” The school is part of a national education system, including a model for the provision of services for students who have been labelled and identified as having “special educational needs.” “Policy is not neutral,” wrote Thomas and Loxley (2007): “The social categorization of children and young adults as somehow being ‘special’ is constructed in and legitimized through the kind of policies that ‘speak’ about them.… It is very much a signifier for underlying social relations of power” (p. 94).
The supports built up around a school’s most vulnerable population are no doubt done with the best intentions. This support is used by schools to finance special education provision, including units, unit teachers, and the teacher aides working in those units. Whereas SE2000 ostensibly sought to create an equitable provision of services (New Zealand Ministry of Education, 1996), it did not break from the “politics of identity” (G. Thomas & Loxley, 2007). The identity given to the students of the unit in order for funds to be acquired to enable their presence in school also sets them apart from their peers and the ← 3 | 4 → majority of teachers at the school. The complexity of the system of funding and resource allocation additionally creates an aura of mystery around that part of the educational system, a complexity...
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