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...
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