Regarding the state of our special education
system, I could give little more than biased opinion. I am the program manager
for a vocational center. We work with developmentally disabled adults. My
contact with the school district and special education departments arise out of
this position. The vocational center is a fairly complete one. We offer a
variety of paid tasks from a variety of contract work. This allows us to
teach a wide variety of job skills. Likewise, this also allows us to "asses"
On occasion the local school district will contract
with us to do an assessment of a high school student. The assessments are
usually 30 days in length. What we are able to do then is observe the
individuals current abilities. We have a list of 75 "worker behavior
characteristics" which we use for the assessment. The worker characteristics
cover a wide variety of areas that include such areas as the individuals ability
to work and perform tasks as well as how they interact with co-workers and
supervisors, work safety and "break time" behavior, etc.
Not only do we assess current abilities, but we teach
these worker characteristics as well. During this time the student is working
at the vocational center and earning money for the paid tasks performed. In my
community, we do not have special schools at the public level. We have a
special education department within the local school districts. There are
special education classes with in the public schools themselves. The curriculum
of public special education is where my biases begin.
I feel that facilities such as mine are often at odds with
the special education systems. That our goals are fundamentally different.
Because of this, vocational centers may have to do "retraining" of the
individual by the time he/she reaches us. It is almost as though, the education
system is training the individual to go in one direction and we are training to
go in a separate direction. This lack of consistency and communication does
cause frustration for all three parties (schools, individuals, and qualified
rehabilitation facilities). I am not a qualified educator and I am not trying
to attack the education system. But in my opinion there is a "wall" between the
educational systems and training facilities.
You mentioned something interesting, "But in
Japan, at present many problems occur because of so much controlled
educational system by the government." Our special education department is part
of the "public" education system. In my limited experience most vocational
centers or qualified rehabilitation facilities are privately owned by non profit
organizations. Perhaps this is where my problem lies.
I thank you for responding to my inquiries. I hope the
information I have provided is helpful.