Inclusion is a topic that is still at the forefront of educational controversy, in the classroom and also in Congress. According to The Cyclopedic Education Dictionary, inclusion can be defined in two ways: one, inclusion can be defined as the placement of disabled children in a general classroom setting for the entire school day and two, inclusion can be defined as the placement of disabled students into a general classroom setting for part of the day while they are placed in a special setting during the other part of the day (Spafford and Grosser, 1998). Parents and teachers have been debating the issue of full inclusion of disabled students in public schools since the passing of the Education for all Handicapped Children Act of 1975. The social implications of full inclusion can be both positive and negative for the student, with the positive results stemming from adequate and beneficial programs implemented by public schools.
Before 1975 all disabled children were included in general education classrooms; however, children with severe disabilities were placed in institutions for educational and living purposes. In 1975, Congress passed the Education for all Handicapped Children Act, which stipulates that all disabled students should be placed in a classroom considered the least restrictive environment for learning. This act does stress the importance of learning in an inclusive environment; however, it does not restrict the placement of students with severe disabilities into a segregated environment (Romano and Chambliss, 2000). In 1991, the name of the law was changed to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) after some amendments were made. This new law states that every child with a disability has a ri...
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Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). (2001, December). Retrieved November 24, 2002, from http://www.pta.org/ptawashington/issues/idea.asp.
Lipsky, D. and Gartner, A. (1998). Taking inclusion into the future. Educational Leadership, 78-81.
Merritt, S. (2001). Clearing the hurdles of inclusion. Educational Leadership, 59, 67-70.
Romano, K., & Chambliss, C. (2000). K-12 teachers' and administrators' attitudes toward inclusive educational practices. Handicapped and Gifted Children. 1-29.
Sage, D.D. (Ed.). (1997). Inclusion in Secondary Schools: Bold Initiatives, Challenging Change. New York: National Professional Resources, Inc.
Spafford, C., Pesce, A., & Grosser, G. (1998). Inclusion. In The Cyclopedic Education Dictionary. (p. 29). Albany: Delmar Publishers.