special education under covid
The Covid-19 pandemic that erupted in early 2020 was an extreme event that led to unfamiliar scenarios in many life arenas including special education. Lockdowns and online learning have posed unprecedented challenges to the inclusion of students with disabilities. Through an examination of parents’ perceptions of inclusion, this study provides a sociological examination of inclusion during the Covid-19 pandemic and the differential effects that such a crisis has on different communities. A total of 124 parents of students with disabilities (61 Jews and 63 Arabs) completed questionnaires that included both open-ended and Likert-scale items. The research provides an opportunity to see how two populations in the same country, under the same special education legislation, rules and procedures quite differently experience the impact of Covid-19 on their children’s inclusion in mainstream education. The findings demonstrate a dissatisfaction with staff’s lack of commitment among Jewish parents and reports concerning technical difficulties in online learning among Arab parents. The different perceptions and evaluation of the educational services between Jewish and Arab parents reflect the differences between the populations in general, highlighting a communitarian nature of the Arab population in Israel, manifesting a poorer infrastructure in Arab villages as well as lower SES of Arab families, in addition to indicating to a more individualistic tendencies in Jewish society.