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Master of Science in Education Insight: How Special Education Fits Into the Public School Framework

Read along with students earning MAT and MSEd degrees to understand how special education fits within a school’s overall learning framework.

As a working professional returning to university to earn a master’s in special education, you’ll build a firm foundation on the rules and regulations for working with students with special needs. As with most teaching strategies, you’ll find the approach to teaching special education has changed dramatically over the years. Today, educators place an emphasis on helping children with exceptionalities thrive within a school’s overall learning environment.

To effectively lead and collaborate with teachers, families, and other professionals, special education teachers must be well-versed in the history and current practices related to special education advocacy, policy, and law. In the Walden University graduate-level course Special Education: Honoring Due Process, students are presented with real-life scenarios to learn how to create practical solutions grounded in law and policy.

Master of Science in Education Insight: How Special Education Fits Into the Public School Framework

To help guide students earning MSEd and MA in education degrees through the ever-changing rules and regulations for teaching children with exceptionalities, Special Education in the Schools from the Council for Exceptional Children is required reading. The following excerpt describes the foundational principle of how special education should function as part of the educational whole. Read along with Walden teaching degree-seekers to learn more:1

The Relationship Between Special and Regular School Programs

Special education is an integral part of the total educational enterprise, not a separate order. In any school system, special education is a means of enlarging the capacity of the system to serve the educational needs of all children.

The particular function of special education within the schools (and the education departments of other institutions) is to identify children with unusual needs and to aid in the effective fulfillment of those needs. Both regular and special school programs play a role in meeting the educational needs of children with exceptionalities.

A primary goal of educators should be to help build accommodative learning opportunities for children with exceptionalities in regular educational programs. In the implementation of this goal, special education can serve as a support system, and special educators can assist regular school personnel in managing the education of children with exceptionalities.

When the special placement of a child is required, the aim of the placement should be to maximize the development and freedom of the child rather than to accommodate the regular classroom. Special education should function within and as a part of the regular public school framework. Within this framework, the function of special education should be to participate in the creation and maintenance of a total educational environment suitable for all children.

From their base in the regular school system, special educators can foster the development of specialized resources by coordinating their specialized contributions with the contributions of the regular school system. One of the primary goals of special educators should be the enhancement of regular school programs as a resource for all children.

How Can I Prepare for a Career in Special Education?

Walden University offers innovative options for working professionals interested in special ed careers. For teachers, there’s our online Master of Science in Education program that offers special education as one of 17 specializations. Bachelor’s degree holders who want to become teachers can blaze a path to a special education career with a Master of Arts in Teaching.

With Walden’s flexible online learning platform, you can earn a master’s in education online as you continue to work and enjoy the other facets of your active lifestyle. Unlock a rewarding career as a special education teacher by choosing the online teaching degree that meshes with your professional goals. Begin that journey to discovery today with a master’s in education online.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering an online MS in Education degree program with 17 specializations. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.

1Walden MSEd curriculum source:

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,