Too Few Chefs in the Kitchen: An Examination of Evidence-Based Practices for Teachers in Special Education
The field of special education is in the midst of a scientific revolution that began with the passing of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB, 2001) legislation (Slavin, 2002). There has been a longstanding dispute about how to translate research in education into practice and make the results effective in relation to increased student learning. The debate is centered on what constitutes rigorous research and what elements of a particular design employed in practice create positive student outcomes. For some time now the fields of medicine, agriculture, psychology, and economics have moved forward with their version of what “evidence” is and how it can be used in order to enhance the particular disciplines’ capability to predict and alter outcomes. There is much debate about how certain principles of experimentation in education can assist students in achieving their maximum potential. This examination of the literature and issues surrounding Evidence-based Practices (EBPs) will focus on the problems related to the current research of the field special education, how the objectives are defined for moving towards rigorous research, the opposition to this movement, and the recommendations from experts in the field. One of the more important recommendations is the need to connect with teachers in the field. We need them cooking up these interventions as well in order to best serve the students in the public school system. However, if all the chefs in this situation are cooking up different recipes and wanting the same outcome, we have a problem. The problem, which certainly warrants further examination outside this initial analysis becomes: Can the field of special education employ EBPs in practice in order to enhance student outcomes in an inclusive classroom?