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Electronic Journal for Inclusive Education

Abstract

In 2001 No Child Left Behind (NCLB) was enacted and its pressure to have all students achieve academically has caused many teachers and administrators to reconsider whether mentally retarded children should be included in regular classes. The purpose of this study was to survey experienced professionals in the field of special education to get their insight about the future role of inclusion for students with mild intellectual disabilities. Members of the Georgia Council on Exceptional Children members were surveyed to find out their expectations for the future of the education of mentally retarded children in the next ten years. While there were differing views, generally the respondents believe that inclusion of mentally retarded children should focus more on socialization aspects and less on academics. This was the model espoused in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. There is some concern for the future of inclusion under current NCLB mandates. NCLB places unrealistic academic demands on mentally retarded students in regular classrooms and does not allow the development of transition skills because of the focus on academic skills. Advocates for Exceptional Children on the national level are now working on a more appropriate application of NCLB in accordance with IDEA guidelines.