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Minority Students in Special and Gifted Education
instructional, and intervention strategies, particularly for atypical learners and students with gifts and disabilities.
Recommendation TQ.3: A credential as a school psychologist or special education teacher should require instruction in classroom observation/assessment and in teacher support to work with a struggling student or with a gifted student. These skills should be considered as critical to their professional role as the administration and interpretation of tests are now considered.
This committee joins many others at the NRC and elsewhere in calling for improved teacher preparation. How to move from widespread agreement that change is needed to system reform is a challenge that will itself require careful study.
Recommendation TQ.4: The committee recommends that a national advisory panel be convened in an institutional environment that is protected from political influence to study the quality and currency of programs that now exist to train teachers for general, special, and gifted education. The panel should address:
the mechanisms for keeping instructional programs current and of high quality;
the standards and requirements of those programs;
the applicability of instructional programs to the demands of classroom practice;
the long-term influence of the programs in successfully promoting educational achievement for pre-K, elementary, and secondary students.
Direct comparison to other professional fields (e.g., medicine, nursing, law, engineering, accounting) may provide insight applicable to education.
Biological and Social Risk Factors in Early Childhood
Existing intervention programs to address early biological harms and injuries have demonstrated the potential to substantially improve developmental outcomes. The committee concludes that the number of children, particularly minority children, who require special education can be reduced if resources are devoted to this end. In particular, the committee calls attention to the recommendation of the President’s Task Force on Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks to Children to eliminate lead from the housing stock by 2010.