This is a response to the report of the Superintendent's Advisory Committee on Black Male Achievement recently released by the Prince George's County Public Schools {news story, Aug. 21}. As the parent of a special and a regular education student, I must protest the report's characterization of special education as a "failure track." To the contrary, the program is a "success track," assuring that the student is provided with the opportunity to achieve his or her full potential in spite of an otherwise disabling impairment.

Special education is a program for those students, regardless of race, who require some accommodation in their educational programs because of their physical, emotional and/or mental impairments. The impairments and attendant medical signs, symptoms and findings required for enrollment are defined by law and regulation. Special education comprises the full range of accommodations from the most severe, 24-hour residential settings, to the least, consultation by a specialist with the "regular education" teacher to meet the adaptive needs of the student, which could be as little as a properly modified chair. With such accommodations, the students are enabled to achieve their full educational potential.

Based on the characterization of special education in the report, it would probably surprise the authors to learn that in the 1989-1990 school year the honor roll at the C. T. Reed Elementary School (the orthopedic wing elementary school for northern Prince George's County) was a solid mix of "regular education" students and "special education" students in each of the four grading periods. The PTA awarded T-shirts to each student who attained the honor roll in at least three of the four grading periods. Special education students were among the T-shirt awardees in numbers at least proportionate to their enrollment.

Special education is not the "dummy track," the "failure track" or a dumping ground. Special education is the program designed to permit physically, emotionally and/or mentally disabled students to succeed. Any characterization of special education as other than a "success track" comes from an antiquated and uninformed stereotype.

It is time for the authors of the report to come to the modern world and stop assuming that special education students are pegged to failure. Rather, we should realize that those with impairments are merely in need of some accommodation in order to compete on equal terms with the nonimpaired. And they do -- successfully. Indeed, some special education students can be enrolled in a talented and gifted program.

MARK ZELENKA Lanham-Seabrook