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3.1: Introduction

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    General Outline

    • Issues Related to Serving Students in an Inclusive Environment
    • Co-teaching to the Rescue!
    • Peer-mediated Instruction
    • Strategy Instruction

    The issue of inclusion (serving students with disabilities in the general education setting) in education has been debated for over four decades and continues to be a contentious subject (Kavale & Forness, 2000). Kavale and Forness argue that much of the debate has been informed by well-intentioned members of the public and research community who rely on a moral argument as opposed to one based on evidence. Fuchs & Fuchs (1994) describe the inclusion effort as having a “romantic appeal” (pp. 303) wherein the general education classroom will be welcoming and effective for all students through properly implemented Universal Design for Learning (UDL), and specialized instruction (special education) will be wholly unnecessary. Efforts by parents and advocacy groups in the late 1980s and early 1990s lead to increased pressure to include students with disabilities in the regular education classroom under the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) mandate of the Educationfor All Handicapped Children Act of 1975 (EAHCA; now the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act). However, the LRE, like much of the federal legislation on education, contains ambiguous wording, and does not specifically speak to a preference of either full inclusion or a continuum of placements.

    Subsequent court cases on the topic, however have generally ruled in favor of a continuum of placements (CP) over full inclusion (Yell, 1995; Yell & Katsiyannis, 2004; Zirkel, 1996). Specifically, that the decisions made are on an individual basis, and determined by the benefits of the integrated setting versus the segregated setting. However, inclusion versus CP is not the prescient issue, the education the child receive is (Kauffman et al., 2015; Kauffman & Badar, 2014; Kauffman & Hallahan, 1995). Consistent with the IDEA, the placement of the child is made after the special education and related services that allow them to receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE) are spelled out in the child’s individual education program (IEP). Yell and Katsiyannis go on to summarize federal guidance as the following: “It is not appropriate for IEP teams to make placement decisions based on the following factors: (a) category of disability, (b) severity of disability, (c) availability of educational or related services, (d) availability of space, or (e) administrative convenience” (pp. 31). Thus, suggesting that a school that is inclusive may be denying the student the ability to receive the services they require to receive a FAPE.

    Least restrictive environment

    In general.--To the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities, including children in public or private institutions or other care facilities, are educated with children who are not disabled, and special classes, separate schooling, or other removal of children with disabilities from the regular educational environment occurs only when the nature or severity of the disability of a child is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily (20 U.S.C. § 1412(a)(5).

    This page titled 3.1: Introduction is shared under a CC BY-ND license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Mickey Losinski (New Prairie Press/Kansas State University Libraries) .