Teaching students with intellectual disabilities in regular classrooms: good for kids, or good for budgets?

Published: Monday, Jan. 7 2013 3:34 p.m. MST

Though some children will benefit from inclusion in general education classrooms, many need specialized services specific to their particular mosaic of disabilities and will suffer as a result of not receiving them, she wrote.

"We do a disservice to these children when we cite 'equality' as the reason for removing supports when what we really mean is 'funding,' Clayton wrote. "If we're going to take services away from special populations, let us at least be honest about our reasons for doing so."

The Wisconsin Education Association Council weighed in on special education inclusion's pros — the belief that all students belong together in a regular classroom; and cons — that inclusion is a coercive and prescriptive policy aimed at cutting costs. The council concluded that success with inclusion of students with disabilities can't be undertaken lightly.

"It is critical that any district or building considering more inclusive practices take the time necessary to plan effectively," according to WEAC. "Real inclusion involves restructuring of a school's entire program and requires constant assessment of practices and results. … Constant reflection is necessary if we ever hope to be able to make clear determinations about which specific strategies will help children to become happy, contributing citizens."

EMAIL: cbaker@deseretnews.com

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