This paper includes a detailed evaluation of the pros and cons of inclusive education as well as an analysis of developmental theories that are related to the success that special education students have in an inclusive classroom as compared to a self-contained special education classroom. This includes an evaluation of the articles that promote the use of inclusion in school systems as well as articles that refute the benefits of inclusive education. In general, the theoretical basis of the delivery of special educational curriculums is an issue that affects many countries. There continue to be questions concerning the theoretical framework and benefits of inclusive in not only the United States but also in European, Asian, and some African countries.
Keywords: inclusive education, special education, exceptional children, inclusion, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), No Child Left Behind (NCLB)
Inclusive Special Education
Many research studies have been conducted to determine the benefits of inclusion in the classroom. This includes several case studies that included not only the special education students but also the special education teachers. The question still remains unanswered as to if the idea of inclusion as a way to stop the labeling and discrimination of students who require special educational curriculums or if inclusion is a forced environment for exceptional students that is setting them up for failure. No apparent research has been conducted to evaluate the success that special education students have in an inclusive classroom as compared to a self-contained special education classroom and the conflicting opinions about its’ success. There has been previous research that promotes the use of inclusion in school systems as well as research that refutes the benefits of inclusive education. In general, the theoretical basis of the delivery of special educational curriculums is an issue that has been a debate in many countries. There continue to be questions concerning the theoretical framework and benefits of inclusive not only in the United States but also in European, Asian, and some African countries. Not only is this educational philosophy being introduced in the United States, but many other countries in the world are beginning to mainstream special education students into inclusive classrooms. Determining if students who are classified as Exceptional Children perform better in special educational settings such as a self-contained special education classroom or in an inclusive educational setting such as a regular classroom has also lead to many legal cases. This new way of educating children with disabilities leads us to a very important question. Do students with disabilities really perform better when placed in an inclusive regular classroom, where the Special Education teacher is co-teaching with a regular curriculum teacher?
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
Special education refers to a range of educational and social services provided by the public school system and other educational institutions to individuals with disabilities who are between three and 21 years of age. With the passage of the 1975 Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) clear directives were put into place regarding the placement of students with disabilities in the “least restrictive environment” (United States Department of Education [USDE], 2007). This Act seeks to obtain educational placement for all students with disabilities in general education classes. It is this type of placement that we referred to as placement in the least restrictive environment. These are the laws that govern the education of special needs children. It is important for special education and general education teachers to clearly understanding these laws. Key...