Inclusion Essay Inclusion is the concept that all children, including those with disabilities, should receive an equal opportunity for education in the school system and be allowed to learn in a regular classroom. However, there are many controversial arguments amongst the scholarly community concerning the choice of “full Inclusion”. Inclusion may seem like a politically correct choice in the school system, but promoting this system may inflict more harm than good in classrooms.
Integrating regular and Special Ed students leave the room divided intellectually, can create endless distractions which prohibit other students from learning, can endanger both the disabled and the regular students in various cases, and adds extra stress to the teachers and students. With much research and the debates inclusion has been put to the test but despite the integration many parents not wish to give up the special education programs offered to the children.
Research on Inclusion has shown both outstanding success and tragic failure. Though not required by law schools are pressured into creating inclusive classrooms. This pressure of image creates an educational gap between the children in classrooms and lead to various situations that are poorly handled. “Heterogeneous grouping has occurred for reasons having nothing to do with the fundamental purpose of schooling. These changes have occurred because of the insidious clamor of social-political directors” (para. 7). While education has become a forum to address social issues, its main goal needs to remain in the business of optimal academic success for all students. “, writes Germaine. Statistically, inclusion has proven less effective than not.
An article from SEDL says, “A poll conducted by the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) in West Virginia revealed that “78 percent of respondents think disabled students won’t benefit from [inclusion]; 87 percent said other students won’t benefit either” (Leo, 1994, p. 22). In the modern day education has never been more crucial to a child’s upbringing and Inclusion may not be the best arrangement for the future workforce. Education is about striving for higher goals and becoming intellectually capable of applying for higher tasked jobs. Inclusion makes it so the instructor must broaden their curriculum to balance out the gap between the students, go at a slower and simpler pace to prevent students from falling behind, and to maintain a level of normalcy to keep the students from becoming bored.
All of these reasons prevent regular students from pursuing higher levels of education in a basic classroom setting, accounting for the scenarios that various students may not be eligible for honors programs. What can a disabled child benefit from in a classroom that points out their intellectual difference from their peers and inability to process concepts as well as others? Additionally, how can a teacher properly oversee their classroom without having to babysit certain students constantly? Special Ed students run higher risks of creating frequent distractions in the classroom and thus make lectures harder to deliver.
If an instructor cannot work with these Special Ed students to ensure that they understand the material, it defeats the purpose of integrating them with regular students. A court case confronted these very issues about how much support should the school system “appropriately” assign to Special Ed students in the 1982 Supreme Court decision of Board of Education of the Hendrick Hudson Central School District v. Rowley”… Justice Rehnquist determined that as long as the student was demonstrating benefit that the school was not held responsible for maximizing the potential of all students.
This decision becomes important to the inclusion movement and placement considerations in what has become a system where parents and schools are often at odds regarding what is the appropriate level of support that schools are required to provide under the free and appropriate public education mandate. “, Tracy Blankenship documents. In an ever growing world where bullying is still a major tragedy in adolescent society, Special Ed students may fall victim to severe bullying by those who do not understand their circumstances.
Stopbullying. ov publishes an article concerning targeted disabled children, “Children with disabilities—such as physical, developmental, intellectual, emotional, and sensory disabilities are at an increased risk of being bullied. ” Inclusive classrooms put these Special Ed children at risk of being bullied for their inability to keep up with the rest of the student body, bullied for the way they talk, look, or even smell. In intolerant environments, the situation may even become physical and result in injury to both parties. In the documentary “Educating Peter” the audience is shown an example of Inclusion and how well or not so well it worked.
In a standard third grade classroom in Blacksburg, Virginia Peter has Down syndrome and has been learning in the same environment as the other students. There were many difficulties facing the classroom when Peter arrived, but the children were mature and tolerant and overall the situation was a success. Many times over, the teacher, Mrs. Stallings, recounted how she did not feel properly equipped to deal with Peter. She had to focus so much on his behavior that it obstructed the classroom’s learning time and at times she completely ignored him so she could keep the other children focused and on task.
It takes a great deal of patience and understanding for an instructor to educate children with disabilities and to understand and properly handle situations the instructor should be trained and given the means to do so. Peter had violent tendencies and pushed, kicked and hit other students. This type of behavior is unacceptable for most and consequences would be given, however in Peter’s case he could not be disciplined, because he could not understand that his actions were not acceptable. This would send a poor message to the other children that “there were no consequences for misbehaving”.
Enforcing bad behavior in the classroom is detrimental to a child’s growth, and honestly, a majority of parents would be angry if their child fell victim to the abuse of another and there were no actions taken to correct the situation. Stopbullying. gov says, “Research suggests that some children with disabilities may bully others… ” Even though there may not be malicious intent, it is still a real issue and danger to other students. The third grade class in this documentary acted far beyond their years. The whole student body patiently and understandingly tolerated Peter’s behavior. However, that is not to say there was no stress involved.
That type of responsibility for a child is huge and to expect every child to act fairly is a long stretch. And not every classroom in America is capable of this kindness, there are plenty of problem children who are not disabled and would create even more chaos in the classroom. Granted it is an immeasurable gift to be able to grow in wisdom from an experience like this but that does not mean classmates need to mother their fellow peers. Institutions like The Bedford School in Fairburn, Georgia; Monarch School in Houston, TX, etc. all provide specialized care and curriculum plans for children with mental and physical disabilities.
These institutions are equipped with the technology and staff to provide a productive and engaging environment for Special Ed students. These institutions are considerably smaller than the average school and, therefore, can provide specialized attention for those who would otherwise fall behind. The Hill Center in Durham, NC is a nonprofit educational facility that serves students Kindergarten through 12th grade that have learning disabilities through their various custom programs. The Hill Center’s teaching philosophy is rooted in the Orton-Gillingham approach.
RTI International did a study on the students who attended this facility and reported that “An independent analysis of ten years of student achievement data found that, regardless of gender, race/ethnicity, or type of disability, students enrolled at The Hill Center showed significant improvement in achievement scores. ” These facilities do not discriminate against the students but understand that some people need extra help. The Hill Center uses the “OrtonGillingham” approach that focuses on teaching students the structure of language additionally incorporating precise teaching techniques as well as recording and graphing student progress.
The Hill Center was rated the 6th best – needs school in the country and is reasonably affordable. Another example is, Ann Arbor Academy being ranked 8th best in the country for its special needs programs. The Academy analyzes students’ performance supported by individual progress, and every student’s strengths and weaknesses are assessed, worked on, and discussed with parents/guardians throughout the school year. Overall schools like these are better suited for children who lack the ability to keep up with their regular peers.
In Conclusion, the concept of Inclusion is a noble cause however could never realistically become a nationwide norm. There is nothing wrong with having a disability like some of these students but academically holding regular students back is also unfair. Special Ed children also do not benefit much by being integrated into the mainstream, as this can result in more behavioral problems and puts them at risk in an environment that might not treat them kindly. Honestly, the public system has failed many students who are perfectly healthy of mind and body so why would you put a disadvantaged child in a system that would offer little to no help?