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Electronic Journal for Inclusive Education

Abstract

Inclusion is being implemented in schools across the nation (National Study of Inclusive Education, 1994). Schools are restructuring their general and special education programs because performance in our nation's schools has been poor. Inclusion advocates believe that the inclusion philosophy will improve education for both the general and special education student (An Inclusion Talkback, 1996). However, there is much disagreement on the effects of inclusion on various categories of students and much confusion about what inclusion really means (National Study of Inclusive Education, 1994).

The conclusions made from research on the topic of inclusion depends upon the population being considered. In preschool aged children, [inclusion shows positive than negative results] (Freund, 1995). Research with severely disabled students shows more positive effects for the special and general education student. The research on inclusion involving mildly disabled students shows mixed results (Cook, 1995) perhaps there have been more studies on this population as they have been in general education classrooms since 1975. Professional associations have varying views, too. The National Education Association "supports and encourages appropriate inclusion" (The NCERI Bulletin: v3, 1996, p.31) which includes those programs that have placement options, professional development programs, time for teacher collaboration and planning, adequate support services, and appropriate class sizes. The Learning Disabilities Association of America does not support full inclusion as "decisions regarding educational placement of students with disabilities must he based on the needs of each individual student rather than administrative convenience or budgetary considerations". (The NCERI Bulletin: v3, 1996, p.30)

"lnclusion is a civil and educational right" (Inclusive Education: A Sense of Issue Papers, 1994) in this country. The issue of inclusion and how it effects students is important because our schools must provide the best education possible for all its students. The way that schools are structured, the way that they deliver their services, should be based on competent research on how students learn. (Freagon, 1993) This is not only a special education issue because the inclusion of students in the general classroom involves teachers, administrators, and all students.