December 2 is National Special Education Teacher Day! Let’s celebrate all those dedicated teachers who continue to guide, support and provide necessary services to all their students with disabilities to ensure they receive the best possible education!
December 2 was first designated to celebrate special education teachers in 2005, marking the 30th anniversary of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). This law, originally called the All Handicapped Children Act, was first signed in 1975 by President Ford, and has since been amended several times. This law was a millstone that opened school doors and laid the foundation for continued support for children with disabilities. This law also recognized the importance of advocating for equal rights and opportunities for disabled children, as well as emphasized continued support to ensure success by guaranteeing free public education for every child with a disability. Today, IDEA continues to ensure free access to education as well as govern states and public agencies to provide early intervention services for infants, toddlers, children and youth. For more information about IDEA, check out their website here.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 13% of school-enrolled children receive special education services. That translates to about 6.5 million children who without special education teachers, would not have the necessary support to succeed. National Special Education Teacher Day celebrates the importance of helping these children with disabilities and recognizes the strides we still need to take to support those with disabilities. December 2 reminds us to take this day and every day to commend the special education teachers in our schools, communities and country. Check out the ideas below to thank our special education teachers for all they do.
Ways to Express Gratitude & Get Involved
Below are several ways to express gratitude to special educations teachers, including ways to get involved in local government and organizations:
- If you work in a school, express thanks to the special education teachers for all they do (small gestures go a long way!)
- Educate yourself about current issues surrounding education
- Vote in local and national elections
- Support school programs
- Join the conversation by following the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) on twitter and take a look at their blog for stories and useful information
- Explore resources and read up on important policies on the IDEA website and Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) website
- If you are a special education teacher, join the National Association of Special Education Teachers (NASET) and follow their Facebook page to connect with the community