On May 50th, Prof. Adam R. Nelson from University of Wisconsin-Madison delivered a lecture on the special education for the disabled of US and the bilingual education for non-English-speaking children in Tian Jiabing 228 meeting room. This is the second lecture of his lecture series on the equity of American educational opportunity. Prof. Song Gilsun chaired this lecture.
The first theme is “A Brief History of Special Education for The Disabled”. Prof. Nelson introduced that in the beginning, the disabled children were excluded from the public school. Then, the National Association for Retarded Children was founded in 1950 and the disabled children were enrolled in the public school but placed in separate classrooms during the 1950s and 1960s. Later, the disabled were permitted into the regular classrooms through a series of lawsuits and the debate of defining and diagnosing disabilities was aroused, and an accompanying result was that the education financial burden was increasing. Finally, The Education for All Handicapped Children Act was issued and aroused a debate about “What constitutes an appropriate education? ” Prof. Nelson utilized vivid lawsuits and in-depth analysis to help audiences understand the problem clearly. The second theme is “The Ongoing Debate over Bilingual Education”. Prof. Nelson described that the public schools gradually accepted immigrant children and mandated English from 18th century to 1950. Later, the types and number of immigrants were gradually increased, which resulted an urgent demand for bilingual education. The Bilingual Education Act issued in 1968 required that Federal aid to all non-English-speakers for voluntary programs to teach English. But it was changed to mandatory in 1970. The lawsuits, Lau v. Nichols and Diana v. Board of Education (1970), led to the debate of “What is the measure of a meaningful education?” The Rios v. Reed（1977）and Castaneda v. Pickard（1981）also impelled people to think non-English-speaking children how to avoid segregation under a special program. Prof. Nelson guided audiences to explore and analyze the ruling results. He also introduced his book, The Elusive Ideal: Equal Educational Opportunity and the Federal Role in Boston’s Public Schools, 1950-1985, which contained all of the views in his lectures. After the lecture, Prof. Nelson had a further discussion with the audiences on some issues related to equal education. Prof. Nelson’s unique perspective brought a great enlightenment and his facetious express and lively teaching pattern impressed all of the participants.