A Rationale for Special Education in Catholic Schools

By Long, Thomas J.; Schuttloffel, Merylann J. | Catholic Education, June 2006 | Go to article overview

A Rationale for Special Education in Catholic Schools


Long, Thomas J., Schuttloffel, Merylann J., Catholic Education


Debates about inclusive education for students with special needs challenge Catholic educators to develop a rationale consistent with Catholic theology and Church teaching. Guided by the rationale, arguments are made for the role Catholic schools, seminaries, and Catholic higher education should contribute to realize an inclusive Church. Contemplative practice offers a process for engaging Catholic identity with school practitioner decision making for implementing inclusion. This article posits that the rationale for Catholic special education reflects an authentic understanding of Catholic identity within Catholic learning communities.

*********

During the past 100 years, American Catholic bishops have clarified and strengthened the Church's position on social justice issues through their many published works, specifically addressing disability issues (National Conference of Catholic Bishops [NCCB], 1998; United States Catholic Conference [USCC], 1978). Following the broader political trends toward equity in secular society, individuals with special needs and their families seek full participation in Catholic educational institutions and programs. Arguably, some practical barriers may exist for a comprehensive implementation of inclusion; however, this article presents a rationale for augmenting educational opportunity for students with special needs within Catholic educational institutions and parish programs in order to be truly catholic and Catholic. First, we will present a brief understanding of Church teaching with a focus on papal documents and statements by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops [USCCB]. These teachings shape the foundation of the rationale for Catholic special education. Second, we will present contemplative practice as a decision-making model for engaging this rationale for special education within Catholic schools. Next follows a discussion of the crucial role that pastors play and the implied challenges for seminary education. Finally, we propose important contributions for Catholic higher education in leadership preparation and research.

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

John Paul II (2000) stated in his homily for the Jubilee of the Disabled that "the Church is committed to making herself more and more a welcoming home [for the disabled]" and this welcoming "needs not only care, but first of all love which becomes recognition, respect and integration" ([section]4). The Church's recent pronouncements on the rights of people with disabilities follow the broader trends toward equity and civil rights espoused by the Church, and the Church's consistent teachings on social justice for all (John XXIII, 1961, 1963; Leo XIII, 1891).

In 1978, the bishops of the United States stated their firm commitment "to working for a deeper understanding of both the pain and the potential of our neighbors who are blind, deaf, mentally retarded, emotionally impaired, who have special learning problems, or who suffer from single or multiple physical disabilities" (USCC, p. 1). This statement focused largely on access to the religious life of the Catholic community, the acceptance of persons with physical, intellectual, and emotional differences, and the defense of the right to life. It concluded, however, with an exhortation to coordinate educational services within the dioceses in order to "supplement the provision of direct educational aids" (p. 8). The bishops were forward thinking in laying the groundwork for the integration "of students with disabilities into programs for the able-bodied" (p. 8). Religious education personnel were encouraged to adapt "their curricula to the needs of disabled learners" (p. 8). The bishops further recommended that Catholic elementary and secondary school teachers be prepared in "how best to integrate disabled students into programs of regular education" (p. 8). The 1978 pastoral statement was reaffirmed by the NCCB in 1998.

In June 2005, the full body of U. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

A Rationale for Special Education in Catholic Schools
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.