What is come down to, though, is a legal right to be educated in the least restrictive restrictive setting that is appropriate for them. Msk has been successful in an LRE A setting for the last two years. He has been less successful in an LRE F setting previously and before that in an LRE C setting.
First, here's some vocabulary to help explain what all these levels mean:
- LRE level A -out of general education classroom < 21%
- LRE level B -out of general education classroom 21% - 60% of the day
- LRE level C -out of general education classroom >60% of the day
- LRE level F&G -separate public and private schools
So, besides being a legal right, why do I think that inclusion is the way to educate special need students?
- The first and most obvious reason is that we no longer live in a society where people are instiutionalized. Eventually, to whatever level they can, these students will need to live in society and they need to be working on that skill as early as they can.
- General ed students need to learn that there are lots of different people, some with some pretty major problems, but that we're all humans and we can live together
- When teachers learn to differentiate education for one child they learn that it's not thaat hard to do and that many students without IEPs can benefit from a tailored lesson
- A lot of learning in schools is peer to peer. A diversity of peers makes for the richest learning environment
I know different kids have different needs, but I think many special needs students are in more restrictive settings than is really required. The biggest driver is that all parties need to want inclusion to work. It's that desire for working with msk and seeing him as adding to their school that I'll be looking for in meetings with schools.