Special school (Germany)
In Germany, a special school is a type of school, depending on the federal state . It is also called a special school , support center or school with a special educational focus , historically called auxiliary school . It is for children and adolescents who are designated or classified as more or less severely disabled in their educational, development and learning opportunities (e.g. due to a learning or mental / cognitive disability , a sensory and / or physical disability , but less often because of a long-term illness or an accident suffered).
The Staatliche Schulberatung Oberbayern Ost emphasized in 2012 that special schools had been set up for those pupils whose needs go beyond what can be expected from a competent teacher at a general school who must be able to use professional methods of internal differentiation. A special education funding put forward skills, only specialists possessed usually about. "If there are partial performance weaknesses [,] z. B. dyslexia , dysclaulia [sic!], ADHD , or language deficits [,] z. B. In the case of students with a migration background [,] there is usually no special educational need, ”according to the Bavarian institution, there is no reason to consider training in a special needs school.
Since education is under exclusive state sovereignty, there are different names for the same type of school. Different types of special needs schools offer special education classes that are specifically tailored to the respective impairments / disabilities. It is intended to enable the children to develop better than they would be attainable at a regular school without such appropriate support . In 2007 there were around 430,000 pupils at special needs schools in Germany, which was around 4.5% of all pupils in Germany at the time. In the 2012/2013 school year, an average of 6.6% of pupils in Germany were certified as having special educational needs. This value was 4.9% in Rhineland-Palatinate and 10.5% in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania . In 2016, around 525,000 students had special educational needs, which was around 7% of all students. Of these, around 320,000, i.e. 4.2% of all students, were taught at special schools. 205,000 pupils were given inclusive schooling.
In colloquial language, the term special school is often still used today , in some cases the historical term auxiliary school . But this is no longer used. In Germany, education is a matter of the state ( see cultural sovereignty ). Therefore different names are officially used.
By renaming the former auxiliary schools in special schools for learning assistance or "special schools", among others, the increasing stigmatization of the students should be opposed as "culled" people. Since the mid-1990s, many countries have favored the use the term special school for all special education forms by other terms such as special needs school or school with special educational focus to replace. The term funding is intended to make it clear that the schools strive to reduce and compensate for impairments / disabilities . Accordingly, it is not enough to attest to a student that he cannot currently receive optimal support at a regular school. Rather, it is necessary to find suitable pedagogical or special educational support through detailed and accompanying support diagnostics . However, with the multiple renaming, the thought of a euphemism treadmill is not far off. The concept of support, which is used in the designation of the special school, is viewed by the educational scientist Gottfried Biewer as highly problematic. Despite the lack of an educational derivation, it has established itself as a central term in the field of special education, which is used in numerous compound words, such as B. also occur in "special school". The inflationary use of the term promotion in the school system is not due to its clarity, but to its vagueness in terms of content.
After 2000, several federal states changed the designation of the special needs schools, for example Bavaria in special needs center and Baden-Württemberg in special needs education and advice center. The term "support center" does not yet have a uniform definition in the specialist literature . A special school can be a special center without bearing this name. Support centers have often emerged from special needs schools by expanding the area of responsibility of the schools "outwards". The special school teachers at the support center are no longer only responsible for teaching at the special school and looking after pupils with disabilities there, but also for teaching pupils with disabilities in other schools and for advising teachers in mainstream schools. For this reason, mobile special educational services have been set up at special needs schools in many federal states .
Specific promotion and integration
In the past, the idea was in the foreground that handicapped children also had a right to schooling, and that special institutions had to guarantee this right as well as the fulfillment of compulsory schooling . Lübeck was one of the first German states to introduce compulsory schooling for the deaf and dumb (today: the deaf) and to set up an independent school for the less able. Heinrich Strakerjahn co- founded the Association of Aid Schools in Germany in 1898 (since 2008: Association of Special Education ). Today it is taken for granted that even severely disabled children are not “trained”.
The systemic basis for the admission or referral of a child to a special needs school is the determination of a specific special educational needs according to a procedure regulated by the federal states. The need for support determined depending on the type and extent of the disability or illness can in principle be met in a special school or through integration into a general school . In some federal states, parents have the right to choose between the two forms. The technical and pedagogical equipment of the special schools, often qualitatively and quantitatively better in parts, is offset by the possibility of better societal integration and a more balanced education of the child in a general school. In an allocation of a student in a school funding is assumed that barriers that are associated with the visit in mainstream, can not be eliminated with a reasonable effort.
So-called integration schools have emerged in order to concentrate educational know-how in special needs education in general schools ; these are schools in which two or three disabled children in several classes often take part or all of the lessons.
Strictly speaking, there is no inclusion in mainstream schools as long as the special needs of a pupil are given the attribute “special education” , as this is not compatible with the formal labeling of certain pupils.
An overview of the funding priorities
The Standing Conference differentiates between eight funding priorities:
- Funding focus on learning
- Funding focus on seeing
- Funding focus on hearing
- Language funding priority
- Funding focus on physical and motor development
- Funding focus on intellectual development
- Funding focus on social and emotional development
- Funding focus teaching sick pupils
Since the federal states have cultural sovereignty, not all funding priorities need to be set up in all states or can be named differently. In principle, schools teach, regardless of their own specialization focus, on the basis of the determined specialization focus of the child. Pupils can also have more than one special education focus; this is more common for children with complex disabilities .
In addition to general education schools, there are also various vocational schools with a special education focus, so-called vocational schools. Today's German special school system with differentiated school types goes back to the ideas of Wilhelm Hofmann .
Funding focus on learning
The so-called emergency school was founded in Chemnitz as early as 1835 ; it was intended for students with insufficient knowledge of confirmation . In Halle (Saale) in 1859, a rector set up a tutoring class for “non-sensual children”. In the further course of the study, especially poor learners attended the “emergency school”. Heinrich Ernst Stötzner founded one of the first "auxiliary schools" in Germany in 1881, and in the same year Heinrich Kielhorn set up an auxiliary class in Braunschweig . Others originated in Elberfeld and Leipzig . With his book “Schools for Children with Disabilities”, Stötzner practically called auxiliary schools into being. In it, Stötzner propagates an independent school for children, which he describes as "the last in the class". Attendance at the auxiliary schools was reserved for children who were found to have little cognitive talent, but not for those who were not considered to be “capable of schooling”. In a presentation to the Special Education Week in Berlin used Eduard Spranger first time the term special school .
After the seizure of power of Hitler was Law for the Prevention of Genetically Diseased Offspring enacted. The law contained an explicit reference to the auxiliary students. As a result, the aim of the auxiliary schools changed massively: to support “heritage and race maintenance” and especially to relieve the primary schools , children were instructed in the auxiliary schools “for observation”. The auxiliary school as an institution was not endangered by this, but the students themselves were, among other things by frequent forced sterilization (see also action T4 ). In 1955, the Association of German Aid Schools was renamed the Association of German Special Schools (since 2008: Association of Special Education eV). Learning disabled prevailed as the new name for the student body . The Conference of Education Ministers used this term in 1960 in a report on the reorganization of the special education system. The renaming of the auxiliary school to a special school for the learning disabled first prevailed in Hesse and later throughout Germany.
The goals of the specialization focus are based on the goals of mainstream schools , but focus more on the importance of life for the student. The focus is on teaching cultural techniques , and teachers should also enable the students to participate as much as possible. The lessons are target-oriented, based on the educational plan of the specialization focus and according to the abilities of the individual students. A performance measurement is carried out individually. Depending on the federal state, students can acquire a qualification , but this is not standardized nationwide.
Funding focus on seeing
Both blind children and children with visual impairments are taught at schools with a special focus on vision . In addition to general education, the scientific basis is education for the blind and visually impaired .
In addition to the usual school content, the content is the promotion of mobility , self-sufficiency , but also the formation of concepts and the conveyance of writing, in particular, but not only, Braille . In addition, the pupils should be instructed in the use of electronic and non-electronic aids according to their needs . The basis of the lessons is the education plan of the mainstream school, as well as the education plan of the funding focus. The educational goal is identical to the educational goal of the mainstream school.
Funding focus on hearing
In the past, the special needs schools for blind and visually impaired children and the special needs schools for deaf and hard of hearing children (summarized as school for the hearing impaired) were under one roof. Nowadays this is seldom the case because the requirements e.g. B. to the structural design are different.
The main task of the hearing support focus is to support the development of hearing and spoken language and thus to expand the child's personal communication skills. In addition, the acquisition of the written language and, if necessary, the acquisition of sign language are of particular importance. The basis of the lessons is the education plan of the mainstream school, as well as the education plan of the funding focus. The educational goal is identical to the educational goal of the mainstream school.
Pedagogical and audiological advice centers
Pedagogical and audiological counseling centers advise parents on suspected or diagnosed hearing impairment in their child. If desired, early support can be carried out up to school enrollment .
Funding focus on physical and motor development
Schools with a special focus on physical and motor development are attended by children with a physical disability . The scientific basis is, in addition to general education, education for the physically handicapped .
People with physical disabilities, provided they belonged to a privileged class, were able to receive schooling at an early age. One example is Thomas Schweicker , who received a comprehensive school education in the 16th century. The first attempts at institutional upbringing and teaching children with physical disabilities go back to orthopedic institutes, which also offered teaching and education. The Carolinen Institute in Würzburg and the Heilanstalt für Verwachsenen Berlin were among the first, with the medical treatment of children still in the foreground. The lessons were more like today's school for teaching sick students. At the beginning of the 20th century, Protestant and Catholic associations such as the Joseph Society were founded . The Josefs-Gesellschaft set itself the goal of providing educable crippled boys of the Catholic denomination at the age of at least 14 years of age, in addition to care, healing and Christian upbringing, an industrial training. People with complex disabilities were explicitly excluded from school lessons. In 1910, the first day schools for people with physical disabilities were opened in Berlin and Hamburg, around ten children were driven to special lessons for a few hours every day in horse-drawn vehicles. Even then, discussions were held on the pros and cons of segregation.
Hans Würtz , the founder of cripple pedagogy , refused to teach non-disabled and physically disabled people together. For example, in his book Das Seelenleben des Krüppels :
"Every cripple child who is capable of school belongs in a special cripple school, in which, taking into account the various ailments, classes are given according to certain methods based on a special cripple psychology."
During the time of National Socialism , compulsory schooling and compulsory special schooling were introduced in the Reich , which provided that people with physical disabilities were obliged to attend school for cripples. Educationally disabled children and young people were exempt from compulsory schooling, whereby people with complex disabilities were often viewed as disabled. This regulation applied analogously in the federal states until the introduction of compulsory schooling in the mid-1970s.
In addition to the goals of the respective regular school, the focus is on the goal that the students can meet the requirements of their personal life context. In addition, the provision of aids such as orthoses or wheelchairs and the like plays a not insignificant role. The lessons have the promotion of physical activity as an interdisciplinary principle. The basis of the lessons is the education plan of the mainstream school, as well as the education plan of the funding focus. The educational goal can be a nationwide degree from a mainstream school.
Funding focus on intellectual development
Schoolchildren with an intellectual disability learn at schools with a focus on intellectual development . The scientific basis is, in addition to general pedagogy, pedagogy for the mentally handicapped .
The post-war period brought decisive changes for the auxiliary schools. On the one hand, it was linked to the system that existed in the Weimar Republic and developed further during National Socialism, on the other hand, the state special school system was established and massively expanded.
The lessons work to enable the students to do everyday tasks independently and thus to ensure self-sufficiency. The goals and content of the lessons are based on the student's abilities and are based on the goals of mainstream schools. Based on these specifications and the specifications of the education plan for the specialization focus intellectual development, an individual development plan is created for each child. The general principle is the greatest possible action orientation in the classroom. Pupils with a specialization in intellectual development cannot obtain a nationwide degree.
Funding focus on social and emotional development
Schools with a special focus on social and emotional development teach children and young people with behavioral problems . In addition to acquiring skills and knowledge, the lessons primarily aim to build a stable and positive personality. The educational activities of the teachers are characterized by strict rules and the setting of limits, as well as positive relationship building. Students can obtain a mainstream school certificate.
Funding focus teaching sick pupils
The focus of support for students in long-term hospital treatment is often attached to rehabilitation , spa clinics or hospitals . As a rule, students are not taught permanently in this type of school, but come from a school and will eventually visit it again later. Accordingly, the cooperation of all participating teachers is important. Lessons are based on the regular school curriculum, but medical treatment measures are also included in the lessons.
Legitimation of the special school institution
Special schools are controversial in their existence and what they offer. The main content-related argument of the critics is that they failed to achieve their goal of “best possible support” because the pupils concerned achieved better results in mainstream schools . Instead, they demand an integrative or inclusive education.
The 2009 UN Disability Rights Convention stipulates an integrative education system. Since in Germany according to Art. 25 GG the "general rules of international law [...] are part of federal law", there has been an enforceable right of legal guardians in Germany to school their children in mainstream schools since 2009.
In 2011 the CDU Brandenburg took the view that a policy aimed at closing special needs schools was wrong: “Children with disabilities require all of our attention and special attention. In order for their personality and self-esteem to develop freely and fully, these children must also have safe rooms. "
Advocates of special schools generally demand that they should be preserved because there will always be students who could be best supported there. In addition, it is to be expected that mainstream school teachers would increasingly have to take on special needs education themselves to save money, and that job cuts in special needs teachers would begin. In addition, the particularly relevant group of children with behavioral problems and children with learning disabilities is exposed to the constant stressful experience of failure. At the same time, they threatened to disrupt and slow down teaching, which would lead to a general loss of level.
For children with language problems, “ neurobiological windows of opportunity” could close if they were denied the chance to attend a school temporarily in elementary school where “targeted use of methodically competent special educators” is possible, i. H. her speech therapy problems would become entrenched without such an effort. Linguistic schools have an excellent record of “re-training” successfully supported children in mainstream schools.
The minimal consensus is that an abolition of special schools for pupils with only physical disabilities in favor of common teaching at the mainstream school is desirable.
On the other hand, the question of whether there may or must continue to exist special schools (in the sense of the implementation of the wishes of legal guardians who rate this type of school as serving the best interests of their child ) is controversial as long as there is demand for this type of school. So represents z. B. the Turkish Parents Association Hamburg e. V. believes that “the legal guardians can decide whether their child with special educational needs should attend a general school or a special school”.
According to a radical interpretation of the Convention, all disabled pupils must in future be taught in mainstream schools. The Max-Traeger -Stiftung, on the other hand, assumes in an expert opinion that the federal states and municipalities, as school bodies, could only be forced by the Disability Convention to educate 80 to 90 percent of disabled students in an inclusive manner and in the sense of universal design . For the remaining 10 to 20 percent, there is in principle the possibility of continuing to school them in special facilities if this is desired.
Criticism in detail
Social origin of the children
80 to 90% of the children in schools for people with learning disabilities come from an environment characterized by child poverty or vice versa, 19% of the children from the lower class are in a special school, compared to one percent from the upper class . According to Schlack, the insecure professional and financial situation of the parents, poor living conditions, life in socially disadvantaged areas, incomplete families, restricted and one-sided suggestions and social isolation contribute to the fact that the needs of children cannot be satisfied in this living environment. This leads to the fact that they cannot reach their intellectual potential.
The German Conference of Ministers of Education presents the objectives of special schools in a publication as follows:
“Special educational support is intended to realize the right of children and young people with disabilities and those at risk of disability to a school education and upbringing that is appropriate to their personal capabilities. She supports and accompanies these children and adolescents with individual help in order to achieve the highest possible level of school and professional integration, social participation and independent life for them. "
However, segregation in the special school system causes exclusion and distance, as disabled children are kept away from average children and therefore they do not get to know one another and cannot develop a realistic picture of one another. This results in an essential basis for later lifelong discrimination and the dehumanization of disabled people, such as B. is known from the new euthanasia debate.
The SPD politician Christoph Ehmann , General Secretary of Campus Europae, an association of European universities, sees the financing structure of the education system as a tendency to stigmatize young people by attending special schools and thus exclude them from participating in core areas of society. “Even today, German school policy is based on an ideology of homogeneity. That is connected with the political will to sort out and has something fascist, ”says Ehmann.
The representation that disabled children are supported by special schools in the sense that they acquire more skills than at other schools is fundamentally questioned by some experts and also by study results: the longer a student has attended a special school, the worse both his are Spelling performance as well as his intelligence values, means z. B. Hans Wocken , Professor of Education for the Learning Disabled at the University of Hamburg .
Illegality of international law
The criticism of the special needs schools argues primarily with the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities in Germany, which came into force on March 26, 2009.
The translation of the original document ratified by the German Bundestag in November 2008 contains a weakening of the original wording. On July 1, 2009, the then Federal Government Commissioner for the Issues of Disabled People , Karin Evers-Meyer , launched the “All inclusive! The new UN Convention ”, at which 22 associations had identified the need for legislative and other action at eight specialist conferences on eight subject areas. The associations demanded that there should no longer be any new or expansion of special needs schools in Germany.
The term of " inclusive schooling " ( "inclusive") was the word involving translated ( "integrated") and has been criticized as a dilution of the original statement. The convention thus establishes a legal entitlement for parents to inclusive schooling for their children. This right can be asserted and sued against school authorities.
Violation of human rights
Some critics deny that parents have the right to insist on the continued existence of special schools based on their parental rights . They don't even have the right to enroll their children in a special school.
Valentin Aichele, head of the monitoring office at the German Institute for Human Rights, believes that children, regardless of whether they are disabled or not, have a right to inclusive education that the state must fulfill. According to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the children have no right to attend special or special school. According to Hans Wocken, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities clearly and unequivocally favors the right of disabled children to inclusion as their personal right and obliges parents to exercise this right of their children in trust.
The critics deny that there is a right of parents to choose between special schools and general schools. This assumption undermines the child's right to inclusive education. In addition, in order to fully implement an inclusive education system, it is necessary to use all available resources as quickly as possible. The coexistence of two systems, a segregated special school system and a mainstream school system, is not compatible with the requirement of efficient use of scarce resources.
Among the countries that took part in the PISA surveys, Germany, Switzerland and France stand out because more than 50 percent of all pupils in these countries who have been identified with special educational needs are trained in special institutions. In all other PISA countries this only applies to a minority of students with special educational needs.
Apparently there is a connection between the tradition of having children attend different types of school at an early age in a structured school system (selection) and the tradition of schooling pupils with special educational needs in special institutions. Dieter Katzenbach and Joachim Schröder criticize this with the words: "We are looking for the right school for the respective child, and not making the school suitable for the child."
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