The Effects of Mainstreaming and Inclusion in our Schools Students with special needs are mainstreaming and inclusion into regular classrooms everyday in American schools across the country. The subject of mainstreaming and inclusion in the school system is often debated. Debates can become heated and both sides feel strongly about their views when deciding where students who are labeled as “special” should be placed. Children who start out in Special Education classes should be given the chance to mainstream into regular classrooms.
Children with disabilities still have rights in school system regardless of their physical or mental capabilities. They are entitled to an education within the school system and can further our society. “Parents of nondisabled children often complain that their children are getting less attention as a result of mainstreaming and that the presence of students with disabilities for large portions of the day reduces levels of expectation and diminish excellence.
Sometimes classroom teachers feel that they must work harder than the learning specialist; resulting in negative feelings…Mainstreaming seems to be working well in a number of school systems, although it also faces a good deal of criticism. Public acceptance is mixed” (Pulliam & Van Patten, 2007). Mainstreaming means placing a child who has special needs into a regular classroom for a limited amounts of the time. This could be for one subject, or several subjects. The child must make the progress needed to perform in a regular classroom first, and earn the right to be placed there.
Once they are able to function in a regular classroom setting, they are allowed access to a more normal standard of education. “Mainstreaming has been used to refer to the selective placement of special education students in one or more regular education classes. Proponents of mainstreaming generally assume that a student must earn his or her opportunity to be placed in regular classes by demonstrating an ability to keep up with the work assigned by the regular teacher. This concept is closely linked to traditional forms of special education service delivery” (Stout, 2001).
Inclusion means that a child will benefit from a regular class, yet may not necessarily required to complete and fulfill all task in the same time frame. They are only removed from this setting when appropriate services are not available to them. “Inclusion is a term which expresses commitment to educate each child, to the maximum extent appropriate, in the school and classroom he or she would otherwise attend. It involves bringing the support services to the child (rather than moving the child to the services) and requires only that the child will benefit from being in the class (rather than having to keep up with the other students).
Proponents of inclusion generally favor newer forms of education service delivery” (Stout, 2001). Often children who are in a special education class are not included into the norms of a school. Some feel that their presence in certain activities is a distraction to other students who do not have special needs. They feel these distractions interfere with the learning process of regular students and place them at a disadvantage. What these people fail to realize is that the world is made of many different types of people who can live productive lives. Since they are different, they are often labeled as failures from the start.
What they fail to understand and realize is that with the right education and services, these students can go on to live successful lives and contribute to society. This argument carries over into the classroom as well. “Although questions about the integration of students with disabilities should no longer be controversial, passionate discussions about inclusion continues to escalate because its philosophy not only focuses on students with disabilities of any type and severity level, but also seeks to alter the education for all students and hence general education” (Kavale & Forness, 2000).
When a child who is labeled with special needs is ready to be mainstreamed into a regular classroom, problems arise in many forms. Parents of children who are mainstreaming can be filled with many emotions. These parents are excited and happy that their children have made the progress in order to be placed in a regular classroom yet they are also filled with fear. They are afraid that their child may be treated differently and not accepted. Mainstreaming or Inclusion into a regular classroom is a great milestone for these special children. It is one that should be celebrated yet not everyone is willing to see it that way. Parents of children with special needs frequently hear debates about inclusion–most often referring to whether or not their child should attend a classroom, a school or even a summer camp that is designed for typically developing children…The dilemma is that in order for many of these children to continue to progress, they need to be in the presence of typical peers who can model appropriate language, social skills and play skills. Often they require an in-class tutor or therapist, trained behaviorally and knowledgeably about the child’s skill level and modes of skill acquisition.
Some school districts don’t allow a non-district paraprofessional in the classroom, and most don’t want to pay for one, even if they do allow it, thus spawning a wave of contested hearing and litigation” (Blacher, 2005). When the decision is made to mainstream or inclusion a student into a regular classroom, many factors are considered. The child should be able to understand, process, and relay the information that the teacher is teaching. When it is decided that the child is ready and can keep up with the other children, they are placed into a regular classroom.
This is where the problems arise. When a child is mainstreaming, they are placed into a classroom for a certain amount of time. This time is decided in advance and adjusted to fulfill the educational needs of that child. In a regular classroom, more freedom is given to the child. They are often treated in the same way that the other students and lose the one-on-one treatment they received with a special education teacher. This means, these children need to be able to focus and keep up without much help from the teacher. Illinois law requires special needs children be placed in the least restrictive environment that is appropriate…After a child graduates from high school there is no special education section for that child out in the real world” (Donovan, 2010). “Many students with disabilities are now receiving their education for part – or even most – of the school day in general education settings. In the US, approximately 75 percent of the 5. 5 million children with disabilities are educated in a combination of regular and resource rooms” (Layser & Kirk, 2006). They often achieve more towards an education.
They work harder to complete assignments or tasks because it is expected from everyone in the class. They very often improve their social skills and behavior by observing how the other students behave in the classroom setting. Finally, they begin to see themselves as equal to the other students and have better self-esteem. Children who are not labeled with any type of disability also benefit from those who are disabled. They are able to understand and tolerate those who are different. They learn to look at others who are different in a positive matter, instead of seeing people with disabilities s worthless or incapable of performing everyday tasks. They learn to be more tolerant and supportive of those who have special needs. By learning about other children with special needs, they are able to understand that people are different in many ways. This carries on to life in the real world and outside of the classroom. They are able to adapt to others who are not the same as them faster and with more compassion and patience then those who have no real experience being around children who have special needs.
Regardless of all the advantages of mainstreaming or inclusion, there are some disadvantages. Since children with special needs do have certain handicaps, they sometimes require more attention from the teacher. This can mean the teacher has less time spent with the class as a whole. There is also the matter of a teacher in a regular classroom lacking the knowledge about a child’s disability. Without the proper knowledge, the teacher does not understand the behavior or the best way to teach the student. This can mean that some students that are handicaped are ignored, overlooked, and forgotten. Parents who initially believe what they are told – that their vulnerable children will get their needs met by the state – rapidly discover that they must fight for every last sliver of assistance, and that this is the mechanism by which scarce resources are distributed. About 1. 5 million children have some form of special educational needs” (Russell, 2007). Children who are mainstreaming or have been inclusion into a regular classroom are also at risk of being singled out and bullied by other students. Sometimes they are rejected by the students they are placed with and feel uncomfortable and worthless in the school environment.
Attitudes and beliefs about mainstreaming and inclusion for children with special needs depend on how they affect individuals. “After being criticized by the U. S. Office of Special Education Programs for its track record on inclusion, Maryland has begun to pressure local school districts to increase the amount of time that disabled students spent in class with their non-disabled peers” (Mui, 2003). The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a federal law that governs education for children with disabilities. The IDEA states that children with special needs are placed in the least restrictive environment that meets their needs” (Stout, 2001). The student’s needs are determined by an Individual Education Program (IEP) team. This team consists of teachers, parents, and other members of the school system. The IEP team writes up a report on each child and sets goals to be met throughout the school year. This team meets at least once a year and more often if there is a need to do so. “The IEP Team will consider if a child is able to success in a regular classroom or in a more restrictive environment such as Special Education classrooms.
If the child is not placed in a regular classroom, an explanation is stated in the IEP Report. The decisions that are made may not always be with the wishes of the parents, but from the team as a whole” (Stout, 2001). Listed below are two court decisions that are used to provide guidelines under the IDEA. “In Greer v. Rome City School District (1992) the parents objected to their daughter being placed in a special education classroom. The courts agreed with the parents in this case and the child was mainstreamed into a regular classroom with an aid to assist her.
The school stated providing her with an aid was at to high of a cost. The court also stated that every option needs to be considered before a child is removed from a regular classroom. In Sacramento City School District v. Holland (1994) the parents stated that their daughter should be placed in a regular classroom full time. The school district stated the child would be better served if she spent half the day in special education and half the day in a regular classroom. The courts agreed with the parents in this case and the child was inclusion into a regular classroom.
The courts look to insure the IEP teams are completing all the steps and working towards the best education services for each child” (Stout, 2001). In the case of Timothy W. v. Rochester School District, “the parent’s of Timothy W. believed that their child was entitled to a free appropriate public education. The school district where Timothy lived believed he did not meet the criteria to be a student with a disability. The decision reached was that the court found that Rochester School District was misinterpreting the law. The law stated that the school must provide an education that the child will benefit from.
In using the words benefit from, the law intended to have schools create appropriate educational services for students and to adjust instruction to meet each individual student’s needs. The words benefit from were never intended as a method of denying students an education. For this reason, the court ruled on the side Timothy W. For schools, this ruling means that all children no matter how severe their disabilities are entitled to a free appropriated education” (Looney, 2004). In the case of Daniel R. R. v. State Board of Education, Daniel was placed in both a mainstream kindergarten class and a special education early childhood class as he was entering his kindergarten year. After a few months in kindergarten it was decided that the mainstream kindergarten call was not appropriate for Daniel and he was removed and placed solely in the early childhood classroom. Daniel’s parents did not agree with this decision and evoked their due process rights. The courts concluded that the schools decision was correct Daniel was not receiving an appropriate education because the curriculum was beyond his abilities.
It was determined that the least restrictive environment (LRE) for Daniel was an alternative special education setting. Daniel was permitted to attend non-educational settings with non- disabled students in order to mainstream him as much as possible” (Looney, 2004). All cases were brought about to fit education to student needs rather than throw students in certain areas and forget about them. Since not every student is the same, sometimes special or different programs are needed. Regardless of our differences, we all have the right to be educated in the best way possible.
In order for mainstreaming and inclusion to work, teachers need the help of other resources not normally provided in a regular classroom. “Teachers say integration works as long as the proper support – aides and resources – are in place…One teacher stated it depends on the child and the number of the class size. The bigger the classroom, and the larger the number of children with special needs, the harder it is to help everyone. She stated that a class of 22 students that includes students with special needs allowed her to meet everyone’s needs.
The class grew to 32 students, with eight children whose needs included severe behavioral problems. She goes on to state that she was extremely challenged to meet their needs…I was unable to get to all of them, says the teacher. (Stout, 2001). Every day the number of children being diagnosed with a type of disability grows in the United States. With this number increasing, mainstreaming and inclusion are a necessity in the world of education. The benefits can far outweigh the disadvantages when teachers are provided with all the resources needed to help these children fit into the real world.
Even if a child cannot perform every task in the same manner as another children, they should be given the chance to learn and to be accepted by others. Our world is made of many types of people and we should all be able to exist together. We should look at what a child can do and their ability to learn and not just at the fact that they are not the same as others. As stated earlier, we all have the right to be educated in the best way possible. Annotated Bibliography: 1. Blacher, J. (2005). Inclusion Confusion: Where does my child with high functioning autism belong? The Exceptional Parent, 35(9), 82-83.
Retrieved June 29, 2010, from Research Library. (Document ID: 905191141). Summary: “Parents of children with special needs frequently hear debates about inclusion–most often referring to whether or not their child should attend a classroom, a school or even a summer camp that is designed for typically developing children. Perhaps the most confusion about inclusion arises when the issue concerns high functioning autism or Asperger syndrome (HFA/AS). Blacher and Kaladjain report some of the findings that will shed light on this particular issue for children with HFA/AS” (Blacher, 2005). . Donovan, D. (2010). Special Ed Parents want to keep separate classrooms. Daily Herald, 4. Retrieved June 29, 2010, from ProQuest Newsstand. (Document ID: 1974323871). Summary: “According to an e-mail circulated by a group of parents calling itself Special Education Matters in Arlington Heights, board members and other decision makers in the district have been asked to read a book “New Directions in Special Education: Eliminating Ableism in Policy And Practice” by Thomas Hehir (Harvard Education Press). The parents group referred to Hehir as “an extreme inclusionist. According to the Web site of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Hehir writes that the debate over inclusion could be solved with “sufficient accommodation, access and support. ” [Sarah Jerome] said several special education programs are moving because of space considerations. She acknowledged that parents who need to get older children to northern schools might not be able to take preschoolers to Westgate, but said “We dont have space in every building. ” (Donovan, 2010). 3. Kavale, K. A. & Forness, S. R. (2000). History, rhetoric, and reality: Analysis of the Inclusion debate.
Remedial and Special Education, 21(5), 279. Retrieved June 29, 2010, from Research Library. (Document ID: 60930048). Summary: “Issues surrounding the integration of students with disabilities into general education classrooms are explored in this article. The history of this debate is examined first by tracing the movement from mainstreaming and the least restrictive environment in 1975, to the call for a more integrated system during the 1980s under the Regular Education Initiative, and to full inclusion of all students in age-appropriate general education classrooms, with no separate special education.
Next, the research investigating perceptions and attitudes about inclusion, the tenor of the general education classroom, and the preparation and ability of general education teachers to deal effectively with special education students is summarized. Finally, the dissonance between rhetoric and reality is explored. By ignoring research evidence, the inclusion debate has elevated discussion to the ideological level, where competing conflicts of vision are difficult to resolve.
It is concluded that a rational solution requires the consideration of all forms of evidence if the best possible education of all students with disabilities is to be achieved” (Kavale & Forness, 2000). 4. Leyser, Y. & Kirk, R. (2006). Not all Riders of the Education Express Debark at the Inclusion Station. The Exceptional Parent, 36(3), 65-67. Retrieved June 29, 2010, from Research Library. (Document ID: 1011327831). Summary: “International declarations and special education legislation and regulations in many developing nations resulted in a major change in the provision of special education services.
Many students with disabilities are now receiving their education for part–or even most–of the school day in general education settings. In the US, approximately 75 percent of the 5. 5 million children with disabilities are educated in a combination of regular and resource rooms. However, while this change is taking place, heated debates and disagreements continue, not only about the definition of terms such as mainstreaming, the Regular Education Initiative, integration and–in particular–full inclusion, but especially about the benefits, effectiveness nd educational outcomes” (Leyser & Kirk, 2006). 5. Looney, S. D. (2004). Education and the Legal System: A Guide to Understanding the Law. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey. PEARSON/Merrill Prentice Hall. Summary: “Here is comprehensive, yet accessible coverage of the laws that most often affect policies and procedures within educational institutions. Because for most students, this text will be their first exposure to the study of law, the author has deliberately written in a conversational, student-friendly tone and taken a practical, case-study approach.
Discussion of key legal issues is liberally highlighted by examples of landmark cases and current “headline making” court decisions. The intent is to encourage future educational administrators to practice “preventive law” while providing an explanation of the relationship between education and America’s legal system that will enable them to recognize legal issues—and potential legal challenges—when they occur” (Looney, 2004). 6. Mui, Y. Q. (2003). School’s Mission Now in Question: Inclusion of Disabled Students Becomes a Divisive Issue in Md: [FINAL EDITION]. The Washington Post, p. B 01. Retrieved June 29, 2010, from ProQuest Newsstand. Document ID: 302449631). Summary: “The school is caught in the middle of a statewide debate over the pros and cons of including disabled students in general education classrooms. After being criticized by the U. S. Office of Special Education Programs for its track record on “inclusion,” Maryland has begun to pressure local school districts to increase the amount of time that disabled students spend in class with their non-disabled peers. And that puts Cedar Lane and other “segregated” schools in jeopardy — particularly when they seek funding for pricey new facilities in tight budget years.
Unfortunately for Cedar Lane, the timing was poor. A federal report released in 2001 said the state was doing a poor job of making sure children with disabilities were placed in the least- restrictive environment possible. Federal guidelines require 80 percent of students with disabilities to be in regular classrooms for at least 80 percent of the school day. In 2000, only 63 percent of Maryland’s students met that standard. Local school districts were ordered to reassess their special education programs and student placements.
About three weeks ago, Cedar Lane parents received an alarming letter from the county school system: The state was no longer approving segregated facilities such as Cedar Lane. The school system was convening a committee to look at other ways of serving students with multiple disabilities”(Mui, 2003). 7. Pulliam, J. D. & Van Patten, J. J. (2007). History of Education in America, (9th Edition). PEARSON/ Merrill Prentice Hill. Upper Saddle River: New Jersey. Summary: Both authors cover information about Education throughout the history of United States of America. The topic of Special Education and Special Needs Children are discussed as well as the subject of Inclusion. They discuss the type of education these children receive under the Public Law 94-142, and how special education is funded” (Pulliam & Van Patten, 2007). 8. Russell, J. (2007). Comment & Debate: This charming vision of inclusion isn’t working: The inadequacies of special needs provision in mainstream schools leave vulnerable pupils bewildered and ignored. The Guardian. London (UK): January 11, 2007. Pg. 30. Retrieved June 29, 2010, from ProQuest Newsstand. (Document ID: 1192563131).
Summary: “This reality is replicated across the country. Parents who initially believe what they are told – that their vulnerable children will get their needs met by the state – rapidly discover that they must fight for every last sliver of assistance, and that this is the mechanism by which scarce resources are distributed. About 1. 5 million children have some form of special educational needs (SEN), and only 3% get statements. Two months ago the education select committee investigated special needs education, and was horrified at what it found, describing it as “not fit for purpose”.
It said the policy of inclusion was confused, that it hadn’t been given the resources required, and that schools often failed to meet children’s needs. It highlighted the tension between schools’ need to do well in league tables, and the presence of children with SEN. It pointed out that in many cases special schools provided smaller, gentler, expert environments for children who had autism, behavioural or learning difficulties, and that such schools could be invaluable. It recommended a rethink of the existing system, and a clarification of what the government intended inclusion to achieve” (Russell, 2007). . Stout, K. (2001). Special Education Inclusion. Retrieved July 12, 2010 from WEAC (Wisconsin Education Association Council) at http://www. weac. org. Summary: Inclusion remains a controversial concept in education because it relates to educational and social values, as well as to our sense of individual worth. This article defines Mainstreaming, Inclusion, and Full Inclusion. It also provides information about the IDEA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. 10. Whittaker, J. (2006). Education: Opinion: Letters: Special needs debate. The
Guardian, p. 4. Retrieved June 29, 2010, from ProQuest Newsstand. (Document ID: 1079138141). Summary: “Virginia Bovell’s article was well considered (Time to spell out the line on special needs, July 4). However, she perpetuates a myth, that the Warnock committee report in the late 1970s advocated inclusion. The concept of inclusive education was never explored by the committee. Baroness Warnock has been described as the “architect of inclusion” but has now “recanted from her position”. This is unhelpful and seriously misleading” (Whittaker, 2006).