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is full inclusion desirable?

            There is much debate surrounding the subject of full inclusion of students with disabilities in regular classrooms. Is full inclusion of disabled students desirable? Like most controversial topics, this is not black and white; there are advantages and disadvantages associated with it. Also, like a lot of controversial topics, many people have opinions, such as teachers, parents, students, researchers, and others.
             First, it is necessary to define what inclusion is. An inclusive school or classroom educates all students in the mainstream. This means that all students, including students with learning and physical disabilities, at-risk, homeless, and gifted are included in integrated, general education classes. It also means providing all students within the mainstream: 1.) appropriate educational experiences that are challenging yet geared to their capabilities and needs, and 2.) any support and assistance they or their teachers require. (Stainback, 1992) Inclusive education suggests the restructuring of special education to permit all or most students to be integrated in mainstream classrooms through reorganization and instructional innovations. It suggests the redesign of the traditional special education service delivery model to integrate students into regular education classrooms and to promote collaboration between educators in regular and special education. Since its evolution in the late 1980s, inclusive education has increasingly challenged the legitimacy of virtually every professional and institutional practice of twentieth-century schooling. The structural implications of inclusive education are quite clear: it requires fundamental changes of the most basic structural features of schools as organizations, that is, the very ways in which the work in schools is divided and coordinated among professionals. The cultural implications turn on recognizing the historical separation between general and special education and the structural isolation of all teachers.

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