Mainstreaming Ill and Disabled Students Into the Public School System

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Mainstreaming Ill and Disabled Students into the Public School System

Introduction

The tension between exclusion and inclusion has been a shaping force in United States society and education. Public schools, in particular, have experienced stages of incorporating a larger number of children with disabilities into classrooms. During the 19th and much of the 20th centuries, there was a lengthy period of institutional segregated education for persons with disabilities. Today, many previously segregated learners have benefited from the social movement toward inclusive education. This movement has been sometimes slow and hesitant, but the overall result has been progress (Karagiannis, Stainback & Stainback, 1996).

Several researches had already made the claim that integrating the ill and disabled students in the classroom shall deter their development and disrupt the learning of the regular students. However, I argue otherwise for three main reasons: (1) Including students with disabilities in general education classrooms heightens the awareness of each interrelated aspect of the school as a community; its boundaries, its benefits to members, its internal relationships, its relationships with the outside environment, and its history (Taylor, 1992); (2) ill and disabled students’ progress can be heightened by making them experience the regular classroom. It will further help them in coping with normal students. Finally, evidence shows that ill and disabled students does not disrupt the learning of the regular students.

For this reasons, I find it imperative that school administrators, teachers, parents and students alike view the integration of ill and disabled students in the classroom more positively. The bias and stereotyping associated with ill and disabled students is hoped to be minimized particularly in Tucson, Arizona by the conduct of researches in this nature. Moreover, since there is a very limited number of schools accepting ill and disabled students in Arizona, it is the hope of this proposed study that public schools open the doors to the inclusion of ill and disabled students in the regular classroom.

Background of the Study

Mainstreaming ill and disabled students had been a hotly debated issue in the education journals. One school of thought contends that inclusion will deter the academic learning of the regular students. Another argue that it will not affect the learning of the regular students. Some even went to the extend to propose that it actually helps in the learning process of the students. The state of Arizona currently suffers from the discrimination of ill and disabled students’ inclusion in the public school system. This is evidenced by the very few schools that accepts them in the regular classroom.

This is primarily because, the art of facilitating inclusion involved working creatively with the state of heightened awareness to redirect the energy bound up in fear toward problem solving that promoted reconsideration of boundaries, relationships, structures, and benefits Stainback & Stainback, 1996). When this redirection failed, students with disabilities remained on the outside of education, or they drifted with their individualized education programs (IEPs) and their aides (Schnorr, 1990). When this redirection succeeded, the life of a classroom shifted, in surprisingly quiet ways, to make room for new relationships, new structures, and new learning (Logan et al.,1994).

Statement of the Problem

Many educators agree that schools need to effectively integrate students with learning disabilities into the general education classroom. Students with learning disabilities are often characterized as inactive learners, remaining on the periphery of academic and social involvement in elementary and secondary classrooms (Torgeson, 1982). Central to the argument for effective integration of these students is that for a part of each day, most are removed from the general education...
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