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Jumping the Queue: An Inquiry into the Legal Treatment of Students with Learning Disabilities [Hardcover]

Mark Kelman , Gillian Lester

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Book Description

March 17 1998

This book weighs alternative conceptions of the equal opportunity principle through an empirical and ethical exploration of the Federal law that directs local school districts to award special educational opportunities to students who are classified as learning disabled (LD). Mark Kelman and Gillian Lester consider the degree to which students with learning disabilities (rather than merely slow learners, the socially disadvantaged, or even the gifted) are entitled to benefits that might well prove advantageous to their classmates, such as extra time to complete an exam or expensive, individually tailored educational programs.

They examine the vexing question of how we should distribute extra educational funds: should we give them to those who have fewer material resources to begin with, to those who might benefit more than others from extra resources, or should we simply strive to create greater equality of outcome? The book exposes a growing conflict between those who want to distribute scarce resources on an individual basis to children who are in need whatever the reason, and those who seek to eliminate group inequalities.


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Kelman and Lester maintain that tough decisions must be made about which students deserve resources beyond those allocated to their classmates, concluding that pedagogic policy should dominate the treatment of students with learning disabilities. They argue that the concern should be how best to divide scarce educational monies, and that experimentation that permits educational organizations to provide different services to individuals should be allowed. (P.A. Cordeiro Choice)

About the Author

Mark Kelman is William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law at Stanford Law School.

Gillian Lester is Acting Professor of Law at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law.

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