Against Mainstreaming

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Against Mainstreaming Faced with skyrocketing costs and wildly uneven results, nearly two-thirds of the states are sketching plans to limit special education spending. Most hope to save money by pushing disabled children out of the small, specialized classes (that many of them need to succeed) and into crowded, ill-equipped classrooms where they will compete with non-disabled peers. On the other hand, some parents and teachers see this as beneficial, because it allows the special child to interact with other “normal” children and therefore learn at the same pace; these parents ask for this action. The process is often called “mainstreaming” or “inclusion” and is being justified by the civil rights notion that segregation of any kind is damaging and that diversity is an indisputable social good. Researchers have yet to prove that mainstreaming is beneficial — or even that it does no harm. Still, educators who have watched children flourish in specialized settings are being urged to send them into regular classes. By dragging these children indiscriminately into the mainstream, we may actually be discarding them again, only this time in full public view. About 5 1/2 million children — 11 to 12 percent of the school population — are categorized as disabled. The U.S. Department of Education estimates the cost of educating the students is at about $30 billion annually, up from about $1 billion 20 years ago. In New York City alone, the annual tab is $2 billion. This 22 percent of total education spending is then educating less than 13 percent of the children, with about three times as much spent on each full-time special-education student as on each general-education child ( While mainstreaming may be all wel... ... middle of paper ... ...should be admittance into regular settings. There has to be standards and regulations to be in classrooms. Students need to be put where they will flourish the most. I think the school boards and states, not the federal government or parents, should decide where these students go. If the state is paying for the education, the state should chose. When parents start paying, they can choose, and I don’t see many parents volunteering to pay for a special child’s education, especially if they cannot afford it. Bibliography: Gearheart, Bill and Carol and Mel Weishahn. The Exceptional Student in the Regular Classroom (Sixth Edition). Published by Merrill, 1999. Secretary of Education Website: The center for Educational Reform: The need for training:
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