In a recent issue of The Journal of Adventist Education, Austin Archer, professor of psychology and education, reported on his survey of special education services within Seventh-day Adventist Schools. His article, “Why Adventist Education Should Be Special: A Polemic With Some Practical Suggestions,” was years in the making. The article features a report of Archer’s initial survey of the methods used to provide services for students with special needs in the Adventist educational system in the United States.
“Special education is not my area of academic focus,” says Archer. “My interest in this subject arises from personal experience. A family member had some special needs, and I noted that our school system struggled with providing proper assessment and services. I was curious as to whether this was a local phenomenon or whether the Adventist system on the whole was adequately meeting the needs of our special-needs students.”
In the paper, Archer encourages the efforts taken by many schools within the Adventist educational system and highlights the need for more special-education services and a more systematic approach to providing those services. While the results of his survey reveal the need for change, Archer writes in the paper: “Putting the facts so starkly, however, is not intended to indict our system. Underneath this bleak reality are the many ways in which these schools show that they are aware of the needs of their students with special needs, and are employing various strategies to meet those needs.”
The Journal of Adventist Education is specifically published for educators within the Adventist system. Its focus is to offer help to Adventist educators with the issues and concerns they encounter on a day-to-day basis by providing advice and innovative ideas to resolve any challenges that arise. Archer’s article appeared in a special issue of the journal that focused on special education. The major portion of the article provides suggestions for how to implement special education services into the Adventist school system by referencing the methods currently in use by some Adventist schools.
“Change comes slowly and incrementally,” says Archer. “I would hope that the article planted a seed, adding one more voice to those who would like to see this matter addressed.”
Posted September 9, 2016