Current Position Statements
The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) recognizes the important role standardized and other student assessments play in documenting education accountability, and in ensuring sound educational decisions are made toward achieving the highest possible academic standards for all students. CEC is committed to ensuring students with special learning needs, those with disabilities, those with gifts and talents, and those who are culturally and/or linguistically diverse, are guaranteed the right to be included in these assessments, which conforms to the larger right to inclusion in the overall educational experience. CEC reaffirms the commitment for students with disabilities to be assessed with high expectations using measures that appropriately provide for the use of accommodations as needed and alternate assessments for the small percentage of students with the most significant disabilities. Decisions made by students’ individualized education program (IEP) planning teams within the frameworks of general assessments, assessments with accommodations, or alternate assessments must be assured.
The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) vigorously supports educational reforms within the public schools while promoting rigorous learning standards, strong educational outcomes, shared-decision making, diverse educational offerings, and the removal of unnecessary administrative requirements. At the same time, it is imperative that educators ensure that students with disabilities are provided a free appropriate public education (FAPE) under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and Title 11 of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Charter schools, including virtual charter schools, are public schools, and, as such, are one approach many believe can be effective in achieving these objectives. Charter schools must be committed to providing free and universal public education and equal educational opportunities for all children and youth and employing qualified teachers of students with disabilities.
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.
As advocates for infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities, the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) believes fully funding the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is integral to ensuring a strong public education system that can deliver on the promise of a free appropriate public education (FAPE) as guaranteed by IDEA. Infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities must receive the equal access and opportunity to services and supports they need so each individual can attain their highest level of education, employment, and life success. Full implementation of the IDEA, as the preeminent education law for special education, is critical to the achievement of this goal. Thus, CEC advocates for fully and robustly funding every part of the law
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 (CEC) recognizes the positive influence that a Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) framework can have on improving the education of all children, the roles of special educators, and the special education system, by providing a structure to organize practices based on data, evidence and research.
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 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) maintains that it should be the goal of all educators and policymakers to understand, support, and facilitate the transition of children and youth with disabilities to post-school life. This includes supporting children and youth to achieve their respective goals regarding postsecondary education and training, competitive integrated employment, adult roles and responsibilities, and full community participation.
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.