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Inclusion In Our Public Schools Essay

782 words - 3 pages

Retard, mentally handicapped, mentally disabled, special, mentally challenged, these are just a few of the names we have all heard in reference to individuals who have disabilities. Despite the ongoing war against what to call these people, an even bigger war wages upon the notion of letting these children into normal classes or not. The war over total inclusion has been on the front line for well over forty years, and no end is in sight.

The definition of inclusion is stated by Robert Fieldman and Pearson Education as the integration of all students, even those with the most severe disabilities, into regular classrooms and all other aspects of school and community life. This means that separate special education programs would cease to operate. Karen Agne, assistant professor of education, says that "full inclusion robs other normal students of needed attention, teachers of their sanity, and it does not serve the intellectually unfit student effectively (Taking Sides pg. 251)." She obviously is not an advocate of inclusion. Sociologist Emile Durkheim argues that "attachment and belonging are essential to human development and integrating children with disabilities into regular classrooms is desirable (Taking Sides pg.251)." These two opinions conflict with each other as well as represent the way that the majority of the population feels; either for or against inclusion, and then there is the third party of the undecided.

The history behind this argument first received recorded recognition in 1958 with the first federal law that passed providing funding to train teachers to work with the disabled. Then in 1965 the Elementary and Secondary Education Act passed that provided even more funding, that would in turn improve education for the mentally handicapped further. In 1989, the court case of Daniel R.R. vs. State Board of Education, a list of questions was compiled in determining each individual situation as either fit or unfit such as, will the disabled child benefit from being in a regular class, and what effect does his or her presence have on the rest of the class.(Taking Sides Pgs. 254-255). Then in 1975 the Education for All Handicapped Children Act was passed, which was renamed in 1990 as IDEA standing for Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. This Act states in summary that all children with disabilities in both private and public schools be put in separate facilities and receive schooling separately only if the severity or nature of...

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