Inclusive education means that all students in a school, regardless of their strengths or weaknesses in any area, become part of the school community. They are included in the feeling of belonging among other students, teachers, and support staff. The educational practice known as, full inclusion may have negative effects on the self-esteem of a special needs child. In 1975, Congress passed the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, also known as Public Law94-142. Before this law came into effect many children with disabilities were routinely excluded from public schools.
Their options were to remain at home or be institutionalized. This law was an important landmark in education and because of this law, today; no child may be denied a free and appropriate public education. Inclusion is a relatively new movement in education developed first by parents and professional advocates. It is an attempted to bring special needs children into the classroom and to educate them in, classrooms with there, non-learning disabled peers. While attempting to do this I think it is extremely important to consider the self-esteem of a child being put in these classrooms. One of the basic elements of self-esteem comes from the comfort in being part of a valued social circle. A child with special needs placed in a regular classroom already feels ostracized because their needs differ from the majority of the class. Inclusion may help a child academically, but the maturity level of these children keeps them socially apart from the rest of their peers.
Inclusion was first introduced in 1989 by the CSIE (center for studies on inclusive education). Prior to the introduction of inclusion was the idea of mainstreaming and integration. Inclusion is different from integration or mainstreaming. Mainstreaming brought students with special education needs into general classrooms only when they didn’t need specially designed instruction when they could keep up with the “mainstream”. Integration presumes that “segregation” exists and students are with their peers without disabilities part-time. The CSIE did many studies and found that inclusion is more effective than either integration or mainstreaming. Ferguson’s (1992) project to achieve both social and learning outcomes for students in general education classrooms resulted in the finding that “integration doesn’t work, but inclusion does.” In 1997 President Clinton signed into law the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act. This law aims to strengthen academic expectations and accountability for the millions of children with disabilities. This law makes it clear that schools have a duty to educate children with disabilities in general education classrooms. With this law in effect the CSIE began to really push the inclusion movement in schools.
When inclusion was proposed, educators’ primary concern was how learning-disabled students would benefit academically. Academic...