Defending rights in (special) education

Educational Theory 62 (1):25-39 (2012)
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The state's commitment to educating all children can be framed as a matter of human capital development, or the economic benefits accrued to individuals and society as a result of educational attainment; it can be framed as a matter of capabilities, or the development of functionings that enable human flourishing; and it can be framed as a matter of rights. In this essay Sigal Ben-Porath considers the relative merits of the three approaches, elaborating the implications each of these different frameworks has for the education of children with disabilities. While the capabilities approach, which arises from and relates to the rights approach, is sensitive to the needs of individuals with disabilities (more than the human capital approach is, in any case), Ben-Porath concludes that a rights framework can best express through educational policy the state's commitment to the education of all children, regardless of ability



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