Current Position Statements
The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) vigorously supports educational reforms within the public schools which promote rigorous learning standards, strong educational outcomes, shared decision making, diverse educational offerings, and the removal of unnecessary administrative requirements. Charter schools, including virtual charter schools, are a form of public schools, and, as such, they are one approach many believe can be effective in achieving these objectives. However, such schools must reflect a commitment to free and universal public education, with equality of educational opportunity for all.
Regardless of who takes responsibility for the delivery of educational services for children and youth with exceptionalities - children and youth with disabilities and those who are gifted and talented - who attend a charter school, the chartering agency and authorizer, and, ultimately, the highest governmental authority, must ensure that the rights of children and youth with exceptionalities are upheld.
The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) supports educators with disabilities including faculty, teacher candidates, and teachers in classrooms, schools, and institutions of higher education. Within the CEC membership, members embody a wide range of disabilities including learning, sensory, physical, and emotional areas. CEC recognizes the unique gifts, talents, and insights that educators with disabilities bring to the field of education. CEC believes that educators with disabilities possess strengths that emanate from first-hand experience managing disabilities during their education and employment.
These strengths are utilized daily when working with students. Personal experience with disability often places educators with disabilities in a unique position to understand and effectively teach children and youth while providing a role model of success. Other strengths of educators with disabilities include their compassion and empathy for students and families as a result of their own experiences, enabling them to build stronger rapport and partnerships through mutual understanding.
The Council for Exceptional Children recognizes that all children and youth with disabilities have the right to live and flourish in a safe environment where they are protected and have support to protect themselves from all forms of maltreatment—neglect as well as physical, sexual, and psychological abuse. Experiencing maltreatment can create a cascade of negative effects on children and youth’s health and cognitive, behavioral, language, and social development. CEC believes that professionals in special education must play an active role in preventing and responding to instances of maltreatment.
The Council for Exceptional Children maintains that it should be the goal of all educators and policy makers to eliminate the use of restraints and seclusion and to develop and implement positive educational strategies that respect the dignity and safety of children and youth with exceptionalities.
The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) recognizes the impact that Response to Intervention (RTI) can have on the education of all children, roles of special educators, and the special education system. The RTI process is designed to identify struggling learners early, to provide access to needed interventions, and to help identify children with disabilities. RTI is a process intended to assist in identifying children with disabilities by providing data about how a child responds to scientifically based intervention as part of the comprehensive evaluation required for identification of any disability. Special educators play an integral role and have a strong and clear identity in the RTI process. To that end, CEC believes that any RTI process must include nonnegotiable guarantees related to special education and the key role of special educators.
The Council for Exceptional Children is committed to upholding the dignity and worth of all individuals with disabilities and believe firmly this extends to include all families, children, and youth, regardless of ethnic and racial backgrounds, language, age, abilities, family status, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic or immigration status, religious and spiritual values, and geographic location.
CEC opposes school vouchers and voucher-type programs for all children and youth including those with disabilities. Such programs are contrary to the best interests of all children and youth and their families, the public-school system, local communities, and taxpayers.
The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) recognizes the importance of special education teachers in the education of all children and youth. Special educators have always believed that children’s individual learning needs should drive instruction; indeed, pedagogy is the heart of special education practice. One way to judge a special education teacher’s knowledge and skill is through a thorough and valid teacher evaluation. High-quality evaluations that are rigorous, systematic, and developed collaboratively with special education teachers drive continuous improvement and excellence. The principles of good evaluation apply to all teachers. Thus, all teachers should be included in one evaluation system that is appropriately differentiated based on their professional role.
About Our Historical Archive
Positions provided below have, at one time, been a key part of CEC’s strategic direction. However, due to changing times and viewpoints, these positions have not been reviewed and may no longer fully represent the viewpoint of our community.