Term Paper: Inclusion Special Education

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[. . .] The overall findings though leads to a much less clear cut answer and that is that the LRE for each student is different and can fluctuate with success and failure in each option at any given time individually. (p.4)

Some arguments of full inclusion site studies that suggest that the comparative model of mainstreaming introduces an inherent flaw that causes reduced self-esteem on the part of special needs students who are continually left wonder just why they do not find the work as easy as other students. Additionally, special needs students can be seen to develop slower progress based on the inability of teachers, who are already overburdened by the work load of their traditional classes and feel undertrained to serve4 the needs of all students. "...if teachers are to be successful in the classrooms of the future, teacher preparation programs must provide training in the knowledge and skills necessary for working with children with a wide range of ability levels in the same classroom. (Jenkins, Pateman & Black, 2002, pg. 1) Additionally the role of administrators to continue the trend of offering an allowing special needs training for all general educators is also crucial. (Crockett, 2002, pg. 1)

Those opponents of mainstreaming willing to speak out are often regarded as uninformed and dismissed out of hand. Most research is intended to search out success rather than failure of mainstreamed environments leaving little options for opposition. Working with educators and administrators to find a solution for the real problems associated with inclusion and to ensure that challenged students will continue to be offered alternatives is imperative.

Though funding will remain the main opposition to a non-inclusive alternative or even a partially inclusive alternative, many schools already fund those programs through existing avenues and those schools should be analyzed for their sources and modeled. Current trends for district supported alternative education include many options. Those options are varied and can include separate special needs facilities within existing schools, which has been the tradition for many years but these options are also being influenced by mainstream trends in school development, not the least of which is the charter school trend which offers and opportunity for special educators to develop student driven curriculum for both normal and special learners.

Development funding sources can be found through granting organizations. A charter school is a school that has its own fundamental program plan, not dictated by the school board curriculum mandates. It is a separate entity entirely. The separate charter school can choose to be a non-graded institution that has a direct focus on both effort and outcomes, two key indicators for success or failure of almost all special needs students. Outcomes testing is often the funding base but because the services provided are for a special needs population of students the school may be exempted and could run on a Average Daily Attendance funding model.

Curriculum in a charter school can then be based upon the guideline of the IEP (Individual Education Plan) for each student. Mainstreaming opportunity within such schools can be limited but the charter school concept can work hand in hand with other local schools to provide students from both standard and charter schools opportunities for interactions and partial inclusion. This demand can often be met by allowing and encouraging students to attend classes and hours of service not offered by the other institution. This may be curricular or social offering that one or the other institution does not offer but is beneficial to students. The state curricular standards will be met for all the students are able and whose IEPs offer enough time for a standard curriculum. The elected governing board will determine the guidelines, rules, regulations, mission and philosophy of the school.

Special educators understand the difficulty facing students, parents and educators dealing with a lack of time and resources within the all inclusive environment of a wholly mainstreamed school or district. A collaborative effort between classroom teachers and specialists can result in some creative solutions to manpower. The people available to implement IEPs are already working within the schools to elicit results for students and there are many people within the system who would be willing to help establish such services within a charter school that will help disabled students and their parents be removed from the stigma and potential harm caused by exposure to learners who's skills can isolate them. Those people can be further utilized and possibly better utilized through planning and implementation of schedules that allow them a smaller geographic area and less administrative tasks. Parents of students with disabilities are also often a great help in volunteer programs and should be asked to further participate within the system to ensure success.

Though there may be legal obstacles to the development of a separate learning environment the most fundamental legal benefit is the new push toward the legal offering of alternatives to public education. A charter school system for developmentally delayed students will be the alternative that will be chosen for our district. Students with disabilities will benefit from educators and administrators schooled specifically in their needs.

In summary, the results of reviewed literature lead the researcher to believe that the best possible solution to the inclusion question is one of balance. Educating general educators about the special needs of disabled students is a great step toward the success of partial inclusion and should be continued. Additionally, the history and current trends of inclusion as a goal lead to the clear conclusion that the majority of special education needs to continue to be done by experts in the field. Students with varying degrees of needs must interact in a general education setting but the special needs of challenged students must not be lost within the rhetoric of ideals rather than practical situational realities. Balancing the system of offerings is crucial not only to special needs students but also to general reformative goals of all schools.

References

Crockett, J.B., & Kauffman, J.M. (1999). The Least Restrictive Environment Its Origins and Interpretations in Special Education. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Crockett, J.B. (2002). Special education's role in preparing responsive leaders for inclusive schools. Remedial and Special Education, 23(3), 157+..

Hines, Rebecca A. "Inclusion in Middle Schools: ERIC Digest." 2003 http://search.epnet.com/direct.asp?an=ED459000&db=eric&tg=AN.

Jenkins, A.A., Pateman, B., & Black, R.S. (2002). Partnerships for dual preparation in elementary, secondary and special education programs. Remedial and Special Education, 23(6), 359+.

Kavale, K.A. (2000). Chapter 9 Policy Decisions in Special Education: the Role of Meta-Analysis. In Contemporary Special Education Research: Syntheses of the Knowledge Base on Critical Instructional Issues, Gersten, R., Schiller, E.P., & Vaughn, S. (Eds.) (pp. 281-318). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Kavale, K.A., & Forness, S.R. (2000). History, Rhetoric and Reality. Remedial and Special Education, 21(5), 279.

Macht, J. (1998). Special Education's Failed System A Question of Eligibility. Westport, CT: Bergin & Garvey.

Mamlin, N. (1999). Despite Best Intentions: When Inclusion Fails. Journal of Special Education, 33(1), 36.

Seligmann, T.J. (2001). An IDEA schools can use: lessons from special education legislation. Fordham… [END OF PREVIEW]

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