Special Education Reform

Districts Grapple with Inclusion Programs Gao ID: T-HEHS-94-160 April 28, 1994

In an inclusion program, all students, no matter what their disabilities, are taught in a general education classroom. If inclusion programs become widespread, 3.2 million disabled students now assigned to segregated special education classrooms could be affected. This is one of the most hotly debated, high-visibility issues in the education of disabled students. GAO testified that inclusion programs can work, but they take tremendous efforts and considerable resources. Some of those GAO spoke with--parents, teachers, and administrators--generally supported these programs because of the positive effects observed for the students with disabilities, their nondisabled classmates, and school staff. But the necessary levels of effort and resources may not be possible for many districts. A number of educators and parents gave the following advice to districts attempting inclusion programs: Go slow.

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