The Current State of
Inclusive Schooling in California
Inclusive schooling has been a hot topic among educators in recent years. Some say that segregation is consistent with discrimination and therefore, in the spirit of progressivism, we must include all students in our general education classroom. Others, however, argue that inclusion is not beneficial to all students. They say that it causes problems for general education teachers who are not trained sufficiently and that exceptional learners are a distraction for those without disabilities. This paper addresses each side of the debate and aims to come to some sort of compromise that is realistic, fair and beneficial for everyone involved. This paper also presents evidence that the movement toward inclusive schooling is happening, regardless of which side is favorable. If inclusion is our reality, then as educators we must arm our teachers with the tools they need in order to help exceptional learners succeed in the general education environment. This paper also provides educational considerations for general education teachers who have exceptional learners in their classes.
Keywords: exceptional learners, response to intervention, RTI, inclusive schooling, Universal Design for Learning
What is Inclusive Schooling?
In short, inclusive schooling is including students of all backgrounds and abilities, as well as those with special needs, in the general education classroom and giving them the unique support they need to succeed. Inclusive schooling is more than a statewide or nationwide trend; Australia’s Victoria government is also working to reach a general standard of inclusive schooling in the region. Victorian government officials define inclusive schools as those that “recognize and respond to the diverse needs of their students, accommodating both different styles and rates of learning and ensuring quality education to all through appropriate...