What should a person/teacher predict will happen to students with disabilities in the current educational climate and special education in the future?
There are many challenges facing teachers, which include increasingly higher standards and teacher accountability for student performance.
I would predict that special education students will, in general, be harmed by the current emphasis on higher standards and teacher accountability.
The main problem is that the laws, like the No Child Left Behind law, are attempting to hold students with disabilities to the same sorts of standards as mainstream students. The states are allowed to exempt a certain percentage of students from the testing. However, this percentage is generally pretty low. Special education experts worry that students will be pushed to do things that they are not able to do. Special education is generally meant to provide students with disabilities with individualized instruction and individualized goals. The problem with the current sorts of laws is that they take away the ability of the teachers to personalize instruction for each disabled student. This will end up hurting special needs students because they will no longer be able to get the kind of individualized education that they need.
Therefore, we can say that it is likely that the new emphasis on higher standards will make it harder for students with special needs to get the education that they need.