Inclusion In Education Essay Research Paper Fewer

Inclusion In Education Essay, Research Paper

Fewer subjects in education evoke more discussion, confusion, or apprehension

than the topic of inclusion. What is inclusion? What effects will inclusion have

on the classroom? What is the impact on teachers? More importantly, are we as a

nation prepared to face the challenge brought about with inclusion? These are

only a few of the areas that we will explore as I attempt to unravel the issues

surrounding inclusion.

The true essences of inclusion is based on the premise that all individuals

with disabilities have a right to be included in naturally occurring settings

and activities with their neighborhood peers, siblings, and friends. Moreover,

supporters of inclusion believe that the heart of inclusion refers to the

commitment to educate a child, to the maximum extent appropriate, in the school

that the child with the disability attends. It is believed that the child will

benefit from being in the classroom with ?normal,? if you will, students.

(Education World, 2000)

One of the strongest arguments for inclusion has a philosophical, moral and

ethical base. This country was founded upon the ideals of freedom and equality

of opportunity. Although the idea of freedom and equality for all have not yet

been fully realized, we as a society are constantly struggling to achieve it for

all, disabled children included. Proponents of inclusion argue that labeling and

segregating a student is indeed an injustice that will affect the student for

years to come. Supporters of inclusion would rather that we admit that all

students have strengths and weaknesses that vary from student to student. By

making such an admission we no longer view those with disabilities as

distinctively different but as students who need to strengthen some areas as it

relates to education. (ERIC, 1998)

On the other hand, opponents of inclusion argue that special education

programs are designed to meet the needs of students who need special help. Such

programs are not designed to segregate or deny any student of their basic

freedom of equality. In essence, it seems that we are taking steps backwards.

Special education programs emerged because of the non-adaptability of regular

classrooms. Very little if anything has happened to change the setting or

adaptability of today?s classroom; therefore, why are we to believe that

children will now benefit from inclusion. (AFT, 1996)

Special education classrooms are designed and equipped to handle the

diversified needs of disabled students. Teachers are trained to teach those with

special needs. Public Law 142-92 comes at a time in which the educational system

is already fragile. Reports such as ?A Nation at Risk? call for raising the

standards of education with in the American schools. Oponents of inclusion argue

that the school system can not handle the additional burden of educating special

needs students in the classroom.(AFT, 1994)

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 will not benefit either.?

Citing numerous concerns expressed by many of its national membership, the AFT

has urged a moratorium on the national rush towards full inclusion. Among the

concerns is the time factor involved in educating special needs students.

Furthermore, depending upon the disability, the classroom could become a hostile

environment for all of the students. The report goes on to cast a suspicion that

school administrative motives for pushing for inclusion is influenced by

finances rather than what is best for the students. Including all students in a

regular classroom would cut the cost associated with special education by

eliminating special equipment, materials, classrooms and additional personnel.

(AFT 1994)

Supporters argue that while it might appear to save money by ?lumping?

all of the students together, if the program is properly implemented there will

be little if any financial benefit as a result of inclusion. Additionally, for

inclusion to work a commitment must be made to move the needed services to the

student rather than to place the child in a segregated setting. An inclusive

education program would allow time weekly and in some cases daily for regular

and special educators to concur. Special educators will become consultants as

well as teachers. The regular classroom teacher would ultimately be held

accountable for the successes and or failures of the student with special needs.

(Education World, 2000)

Opponents would argue how could we hold a regular classroom teacher

accountable for needs that are outside of (his or) her area of expertise.

Furthermore, the idea that students will embrace and want to become ?peer

buddies? with special need students is simply an assumption with little if any

research to support it. Students are very unpredictable. Teachers, parents and

special needs students all have concerns with the emotional impact of inclusion.

They are cautious because of the fears of mockery or ridicule by the other

students. (ERIC, 1998)

Nevertheless, it is believed that teachers who have low-ability students have

lower expectation for the entire class. Furthermore, the segregated programs

tend to be ?watered down? and lack individualized plans. Whereas, special

education teachers have higher expectations for the students as well as special

curriculum that is appropriate for special need students. The fact is,

individualization is more likely to take place in a small setting than in the

regular classrooms. In essence, inclusion could delay the educational progress

of the whole class. (AFT 1994)

Labels within themselves are not negative when properly applied. It is only

as we realize a student?s educational level, that we can provide services to

benefit the student. Special education advocates contend that some educational

programming in regular classrooms is totally inappropriate for some special

needs students. Therefore, the programs would have to be watered down in order

to meet the needs of the special needs child. In this case, the needs of the

normal students will be neglected. Inclusion does not seem to make sense in

light of the call for higher academic achievement for all students says William

Tornilla, President of the Florida Education Association United. (ERIC, 1998)

A call for inclusion comes at a time in which we are testing more, not less.

We are holding teachers accountable and implementing curriculum that leaves

little room in some case for manipulation. Presently the barrage of competency

test, achievement test and so forth seems to be overwhelming even the most

flexible teacher. Tornillio goes on to argue, ?teachers are required to direct

inordinate attention to a few, thereby decreasing the amount of time and energy

directed toward the rest of the class. Indeed the range of abilities is just too

great for one teacher to adequately teach. Consequently, the mandates for

greater academic accountability and achievement are unable to be met.?

(Education World, 2000)

Proponents argue that teachers can overcome the burden of inclusion by using

team teaching, mastery learning, assessing learning styles and other

individualized and adaptive learning approaches. These are tools that are not

limited to the special need teachers, but are good practices to be exercised by

all teachers. For inclusion to work, educational practices must be

child-centered. Teachers will have to find where each student is academically,

socially, culturally and determine how best to facilitate learning. Long gone

are the days where the teacher can just learn a child?s name, medical

condition and a few limiting factors for that child. Instead, we expect the

teacher to be a sort of 2nd parent who knows everything about the student.

(ERIC, 1998)

In conclusion, those against inclusion would not argue that the present

special education program is problematic to say the least; however, regular

classrooms are presently fighting their own battles. The main concern on all

sides of the argument should be what is best for all of the students, special

needs and normal students alike. We can not afford to view inclusion as a simple

reconfiguration of special education services. Inclusion would involve a

complete overhaul of the entire education system at its core level where our

frontline teachers are already struggling. The relationship with special

educators, regular classroom teachers, parents and students will change

significantly. Learning will indeed need to be individualized to meet the needs

of all students.

Personally, I do not believe that we are prepared for the challenge of

integrating all students. The educational and social benefits expected to be

obtained from inclusion are amicable but unrealistic. Presently, children with

glasses, short hair and or suffer from obesity are ridiculed. I am not sure if a

student with a severe disability could handle the additional emotional pressure

associated with a regular classroom setting.

The world?s educational system is the yardstick that many use to evaluate

the quality of America?s schools. If we are to proceed with inclusion, I

suggest the proponents of it find a nation that has implemented inclusion

successfully and study their ?lessons learned? to prevent us from making the

same mistakes. Our children?s future depend on us getting it right the first

time. Let?s not produce a generation of young adults that will not be able to

compete in this global high-tech society.

As educators, we have a responsibility to educate all students. The means of

achieving this goal can be reached through several different avenues. However,

at this time, we are struggling to stabilize as well as raise the standards of

education as a whole. I believe that the special education system needs to be

changed in order to become stronger and meet the challenge of educating those

with special needs; but should not be demolished in order to implement

inclusion. If a house requires a major renovation, it is not necessary to level

every wall.

American Federation of Teachers, AFL?CIO – 555 New Jersey Avenue, NW -

Washington, DC 20001

Copyright by the American Federation of Teachers, AFL?CIO. All rights

reserved. Photographs

and illustrations, as well as text, cannot be used without permission from

the AFT.

Resolution on Inclusion of Students with Disabilities

AFT: About AFT: Resolutions: Inclusion of Students with Disabilities

AFT Home > About AFT A Proud Tradition A Diverse Union of Workers An

Innovative Union A Commitment to Quality An Issues-Driven Union A Tradition of

Social Justice AFT … – size 16.2K

Inclusion Can Hurt Everyone

by AFT President Albert Shanker

April 21, 1996

American Federation of Teachers, AFL?CIO – 555 New Jersey Ave, NW -

Washington, DC 20001

Copyright by the American Federation of Teachers, AFL?CIO. All rights

reserved. Photographs

and illustrations, as well as text, cannot be used without permission from

the AFT.

AFT: Where We Stand: April 21, 1996: Inclusion Can Hurt Everyone

AFT Home > Where We Stand 1999 1998 1997 1996 1995 1994 1993 Inclusion Can

Hurt Everyone by AFT President Albert Shanker April 21, 1996 Today’s guest

columnist is Romy Wyllie, an … – size 11.3K


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