Special Education Inclusion
Special Education Inclusion addresses the controversy of inclusion in education. It argues that inclusions controversy stems from its relation to educational and social values in addition to individual worth. Stout states the important questions that should always be asked when discussing inclusion. She gives us some arguments from advocates on both sides of the issue and everyone in between. She recognizes that inclusion has no simple answers. She merely intends to overview the concepts of inclusion and offers some recommendations to ensure the needs of all students are met.
Her overview begins with definitions of common vocabulary, discusses laws governing inclusion, court decisions that have governed placement under IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act), and ends with a conclusion, research, and discussion. Finally, she gives recommendations for inclusion success. When discussing inclusion address three important question: “Do we value all students equally? , What do we mean by ‘inclusion’? , and Are there some children for whom ‘inclusion’ is inappropriate? The wide range of answers to these questions makes inclusion so debatable. This range places advocates for and against inclusion on a wide spectrum of believe. James Kauffman, University of Virginia, opposes of inclusion. He defines inclusionais “a policy driven by an unrealistic expectation that money will be saved. ” He feels that “trying to force all students into the inclusion mold is just as coercive and discriminatory. ” No one should be forced into special education, residential institutions, or inclusion. I do agree that not all children can cope with inclusion.
Proponents to inclusion believe all students belong in a regular classroom. They argue that each student will have their needs met by a “good” teacher. The nature of those needs shouldn’t be a factor. In between proponents and opponents to inclusion is a large group of confused parents and educators. They are unsure of the legality of inclusion and if it’s best for the students. The school districts obligation to the children remains unclear to them. The overview tries to clear this up. Common vocabulary makes the concept of inclusion is clear.
Mainstreaming means the placement of special education students in at least on “regular” education class. Inclusion includes a commitment to support the student in “regular’ education classrooms as long as the student benefits from it. Full inclusion means a regular classroom all the time regardless of the severity of the handicap. These definitions lead to distinction between the conceptual or philosophical ideas to mainstreaming and inclusion. Supporters of mainstreaming believe disabilities have to earn their way into the regular education classrooms from the special education classroom.
On the other hand, supporters of inclusion believe all students belong in the regular education classroom unless it is impossible to provide services there. After reading these definitions it made things clearer to me. I would be more in favor of mainstreaming than inclusion. The overview addresses the laws of inclusion. Tow federal laws oversee the disabilities in students, neither law requires inclusion. IDEA required “the least restrictive environment” for educating students with disabilities which begins in a regular education classroom.
However, IDEA recognizes that all students can not be placed in regular education classrooms. It says placement must be determined in an IEP (individual Education Plan by a team and not solely by a school’s convenience or a parent’s desire. The second law, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 states schools must educated students with disabilities and those without disabilities together as appropriate because they are recipients of federal funds. Too much of what is expected from school districts is left to interpretation by the district and parents.
Even after IDEA’s amendments many questions remain unanswered. To what extent must a school go to provide inclusion? How important is the academic achievement? What rights do students without disabilities have? Some cases that have generated guidelines on inclusion include: Greer vs. Rome City School District – won by the parents because the district was refusing services base on added costs which is not allowed. Sacramento City Unified School District vs. Holland – ruled in favor of the parent for full time regular education because the district must also consider non-academic benefits. Oberti vs.
Board of Education of the Borough of Clementon School District – the parents received a ruling in their favor of a more inclusive education because of educational benefits. Poolaw vs. Parker Unified School District – the district won this case because of the minimal education benefits in regular education placement vs. residential placement. School District of Wisconsin Dells vs. Z. S. – the district won this fight for home education for an autistic student with a history of violence and destruction. Stout found no comparative information available in her research for the impact of inclusive vs. on-inclusive settings on academic gains, graduation rates, or work. This information has proponents to inclusion claiming segregation is detrimental. Because of the range of statistics provided on inclusion Stout has concluded that the concern should “be based on the needs of the child, her/his peers, and the system’s ability to meet those needs. ” I agree that every child needs to be evaluated case by case. Stout ends the paper with recommendations for inclusion. Before implementing inclusion two things need to occur. First, when considering an inclusive approach the entire school community should be included.
Second, these changes need to be research based. With this mind some recommendations include: •Use Well-developed IEP’s should guide a child’s placement •Include teachers and support staff must be included in decision making •Make available staff development must be available •Develop a process to allow teachers to challenge and IEP •Involve parents and students in the process of making decisions •Consider team teaching, co-teaching, and other programs Stout concludes that for inclusion to be effective, through planning is critical.
Planning must involve special education, regular education, and all involved in the restructuring of a school’s entire program for “real inclusion. ” Constant assessment and reflection are absolutely necessary. Currently education classroom teachers seem unprepared and understaffed to be able to handle inclusion in their classroom. Stout, K. S. (2007, March 15). Wisconsin Education Association Council. Retrieved September 29, 2011, from Resource Pages on Issues: http://www. weac. org/Issues_Advocacy/Resource_Pages_On_Issues_One/Special_Education/special_education_inclusion. aspx