Volume: 3, Issue: 1

1/03/2011

A Letter to the Readers
Цырлина Т.В. [about]

Dear colleagues and friends,

Let me boast a little. Due to rapidly growing interest in the “Russian-American Education Forum: An Online Journal,” we now have readers from 90 countries and all the continents on Earth. This is truly exciting, but it also makes the editorial board’s work even more complicated and stressful because we now know that our “product” literally goes out to the whole world.

I am very happy to present our March, 2011 issue which focuses on some of the challenges and achievements that both Russian and American educators face in the important but always difficult field of special education. It’s hard to say why, but this topic has been the “hottest” yet for our young journal – in terms of attracting a large number of responses and interesting papers of both a theoretical and practical nature. For that reason, this issue will provide you with descriptions of diverse approaches to the education of children and young adults with special needs. You will find articles about limited abilities students who are “included” in regular schools and classes together with their healthy peers as well as articles about unique institutions specifically designed for them. 

Whether you, the reader, are a teacher in a special education program, a parent of a child with special needs, or an academic doing research in special education, every article in this issue deserves your close attention. You will learn about a unique Russian institution which was organized by a group of enthusiastic educators over twenty years ago called, The Moscow Center for Curative Pedagogics. That article will tell you about The Moscow Center’s core concepts, primary activities, successes, problems, and solutions. You will also learn about another unusual Russian institution, The Kovcheg School in Moscow, which successfully includes children with disabilities in its regular classes. Don’t miss the opportunity to read about a more than thirty years journey of development written in a very personal style by three special education teachers from Chatham, New York. We promise that you will definitely find a number of important lessons that can be garnered from the experiences of this and all of the institutions and educators featured in our March, 2011 issue.

I am honored and happy to introduce a set of four short articles from the Rehabilitation Center for Children and Young Adults with Limited Abilities of the small city of Kurchatov in the Kursk Region of Russia. The founder and director of this Center, Mrs. Natalia Kitsul, is an example of genuine personal and professional commitment to the sphere of special education. For years she has been giving both her time and her whole heart to children with severe disabilities and has made a serious difference in the lives of thousands of them and their families.  In this issue you will also learn about the different types of challenges which a school district coordinator of special education programs faces daily in the article written by Jon Holmen from Washington State in the USA.

There are three Cal State articles, two from the faculty of CSU-Fullerton and the third from CSU-Long Beach, featured in this issue. The first two describe early intervention services and an integration process employed in a Californian high school. The last article introduces the results of a new approach in training future special education teachers.

Two doctoral students who are also practical workers in the field of special education, Diane Salmirs from Seattle Pacific University (SPU) and Igor Chepuryshkin from the Smolensk Region of Russia cover several theoretical aspects in their articles.

Last but not least, we are fortunate to have two important articles that contribute to our knowledge of the history and theory of education. Dr. Rick Eigenbrood from SPU thoroughly examines the historical perspective and current implications of the social construct of disabilities. Our regular Russian education history contributor, Dr. Mikhail Boguslavsky, continues his series by writing about one of the most prominent of Russian educators, Konstantin Ushinsky, and his legacy to modern Russian education endeavors.

Finally, I can only recommend that you start reading immediately and don’t stop until you have completed this entire issue. Then, please write to us through the “comments” box which you will find after every article. We, the editors and the authors, are very interested in receiving your feedback.

 

Always Yours,
Dr. Tatyana Tsyrlina-Spady,
Editor-in-Chief,
tsyrlina@aol.com

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