The Confusion About Inclusion in Public Schools
A new system of classification has been developed by the World Health Organization. The new form of classification of the disabled or non-disabled are now viewed as the interaction between a person’s mental and physical state and the physical and social environment in which the person exists in. Once the classification is determined, interventions that surround disability and the limitations that it has on the individual. This brings up a question about education and what school activities will be affected by the limitations. As we move toward the fulfillment of No Child Left Behind, what kind of education are the disabled able to achieve and what does society expect for them in a information based society?
According to Norwich (2002) there is confusion between states, and even amongst districts within a state, on the policies and practices that deal with inclusion. The author argues that a commitment to inclusion means a commitment to a minority population. With this commitment, accommodations must be in place to make that minority successful within the mainstream environment. A balance must be created between the needs of the individual with disabilities and the resources of the school or district.
Nilholm (2006) argues that there is a psycho medical perspective when dealing with inclusion and the implementation of it. The researcher argues that there is a blurred interpretation of what inclusion is between practitioners, theorists, and researchers. Nilholm suggests that when inclusion is discussed, the word democracy should be include and also a discussion of how special education can gain a foothold in social science. With the ideals of inclusion, special education, and democracy included, the author believes that their will be a better understanding of what is directed by the researchers and what is acted upon in real life by the practitioners.
Avramidis, Bayliss, and Burden (2000) stated that the perception of inclusion is more positive when there is evidence that there is experience with inclusion. The researchers found that educators, when surveyed, had a more positive outlook toward inclusion than teachers who did not have as much experience. The study suggested that more professional development should be offered to teachers in regard to inclusion to promote positive attitudes that help facilitate change. These changes, according to the authors, should promote more informed decision making in the IEP process.
Croll and Moses (2000) agree that there is confusion about inclusion and they also believed that there is tension about inclusion between those who wish to support separate special education programs and those who wish to see disabled students learn with the mainstream. They found that most of the subjects interviewed believed that inclusion was a great idea, but given the severity of some of the disabilities that they taught, did not find inclusion encouraging.