Educating Peter is a short documentary that follows a special needs student with Down’s syndrome, in his inclusive third grade classroom. The film chronicles Peter’s first year at a public school, he was previously attending a school for students with special needs.
Educating Peter is a good example of the evolving history of special educationLinks to an external site.. The Education for All Handicapped Children Act passed in 1975 mandating that students with disabilities have access to public education- that was less than 50 years ago! Prior to the law, children with disabilities were either educated in private schools if their parents could afford, or the state sponsored schools like those for the deaf and blind, or they were kept at home away from the public, or hospitalized in deplorable conditions.
Today PL 94-142 is called The Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act, IDEA. It was reauthorized in 2004 with an emphasis on inclusion, meaning that students with disabilities are entitled to be included in the general education to the maximum extent possible.
As you watch the film Educating Peter take notes for the following questions you need to complete this assignment.
1. Describe the philosophy of the teacher. Give supporting details.
2. What were 3 barriers to Peter’s inclusion? How were the barriers overcome? Explain your thinking and use examples from the film.
3. Describe the collaborations that you witnessed in the film.
4. What kind of future do you think Peter is being prepared for?
5. What did you notice while you watched the film? What thoughts do you have about students with disabilities? Thoughts about including children with special needs in the general education classroom?
6. After watching the film, describe how Peter experienced FAPE, Free and Appropriate Public Education.