Mainstreaming special education students have many incentives to students with disabilities and regular student alike. In the past, special education students have been learning in isolated classrooms while regular students received instruction in separate classrooms. However, much has changed with more schools districts mainstreaming special education students by teaching them alongside regular students in what is termed as inclusive setting. Mainstreaming of special education students has attracted significant public debate because some people believe that this process has more harm than benefit. In the United States, many stakeholders in some school districts believe that mainstreaming special education students is the best solution. Because of the debate on mainstreaming of special education students, a rift has occurred between those who support the process and those who do not. While mainstreaming of students has been argued to lower curriculum standards and overwork teachers, it improves academic achievement of students; reduce costs, and better teaching in schools that have regular and special education students learning together.
Mainstreaming of special education students has received criticism because it lowers the quality of curriculum used in schools. According to Miller, special education students require more attention than regular students (Para.4). Because of this need, many teachers may concentrate more time and resources to student with disabilities such as autism or blindness. In addition, many teachers may not be able to attend to other regular student as required should they focus on the special education students (Bertinpara. 3). Such an instance leads to lowering of standard because the needs of regular students and special education students are not well addressed. The lowering of curriculum quality is a significant reason why many people criticize mainstreaming of special education students.
Some people also argue that mainstreaming special education students overworks teachers who may have few resources and training on how handle special education students. Ryan argued that traditional teacher lack proper training essential in providing special education students with appropriate teaching (18). Apart from lack of these skills, teachers may also have few resources that special education students require to learn as teachers expect. The lack of proper training and resources can, therefore, leads to overworking of teachers (Ryan and Cooper 69). Teachers who are overworked high changes of being frustrated in their work because they may lack appropriate training or capacity to address the needs of special education (Tomsho para.4). This is another undoing of mainstreaming special education students.
Research has found that mainstreaming of special education students has a positive impact on their academic performance. Streaming of special education students allows these students to learn in an ideal environment where they learn new communication techniques and encounter other realities of life. This environment has a positive impact on special education students because it makes them have a sense of belonging and a place where there issues are understood by other students (Flores para 4). In addition, learning in an inclusive setting enables special education student to improve their academic goals and efforts to succeed because they will be have other regular students to compete together (Gargiulo, 140). Given the importance of academic performance to both regular students and special education students, I believe that mainstreaming special education student is worth undertaking.
Proponents of mainstreaming special education students believe that this process stimulates better teaching among the teachers. Flores in her article Special needs, "mainstream" classroom argued that schools that mainstream special education students can benefit from novel teaching strategies that teachers adopt to cater for the needs of all students (Para. 3). Without doubt, teaching requires the use of creative teaching strategies, and challenges motivate teachers to be creative and responsive to the needs of the students. When teaches attend to special education students, it becomes valuable to pursue strategies that maximize teaching and learning (Miller para 4). Therefore, mainstreaming special education students is a catalyst that has the potential of making traditional teachers come up with better strategies that will enhance learning of regular and special education students.
Mainstreaming of special-education students is advantageous because it can reduce the cost of offering special education (Thompson, 40). Provisions of special education continue to demand significant amounts of funding that are becoming scarce in many school districts. In some schools for disabled students, tuition fee ranges from “$28,500 to $42, 000. This amount is even high for private special education schools (Tomshopara 15). School incurs most of the cost by hiring special education teachers and buying resources for them. However, mainstreaming of special-education students significantly reduce the amount of money spent on special education. Mainstreaming special education students can help many schools to reduce cost.
A United States Kindergarten teacher enrolled a special student. According to the teacher’s observation, the new student demonstrated lower skills in adapting to the class work and needed more attention to finish class work. According to the teacher, the student demonstrated distraction, hyperactivity, impulsivity, difficult in transitioning and disorganizing. Furthermore, the child displayed poor behavioral habits such as careless, sloppy and procrastination (Ciccantelli & Vakil, 2011). The teacher complained that the student was unable to follow a one-step instruction based education concept because of a difficulty in sitting still whereby the student would rather walk about blurting answers instead of writing. The teachers concern invited the school-based intervention team to support the special student adjust to normal learning environment.
Therefore, teachers need to learn how to collect and interpret information concerning the special cases by determining the frequency of psychological maladjustment. Schools psychologists usually intervene to help the challenged student maintain their distractive behavioral patterns. According to psychology, child interactions at require that each should is able to make a decision that self-regulates the interaction activity. Therefore, a normal class setting hosting special students needs to have a goal-oriented plan to help children reflect and know that their knowledge is help them multi-task, wait in turns to speak, evaluate each idea before speaking and drawing on conclusion based on knowledge. On the contrary, a special student’s cognitive skills required to maintain social-emotional development may in a manner that inhibit impulsive behavior blocking appropriate problem solving capacity of the child. Information is required to control impulsive behavior, which when controlled by the cognitive mind result in responsibility (Ciccantelli & Vakil, (2011). Nevertheless, children requiring special education appear to suffer from disability that affects their social-emotional functionality of each student. Impulsive character is the main characteristic that defines a special challenged child who requires more attention from the teachers and school fraternity. Furthermore, training of normal class students to accommodate deficit cognitive skills seen in special students is mandatory if the two kind of students have to sit and learn from similar environment.
Special students from the Ohio Department of Education are required to undergo the progressive literacy skills test by using the Get it, Got it, Go (GGG) and the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment-Literacy (KRA-L) (Ciccantelli & Vakil, 2011). GGG and KRA-L main objective is to assess and test the amount of information and the subsequent application of the gathered information in an assessment stage. GGG measures the literacy aspect of a child to benchmark the progress of a child in normal class education while in a normal school
In conclusion, mainstreaming of special education student has more incentives that challenges. While this process can lower quality of curriculum or overwork teachers, it allows teachers to use better teaching strategies, reduce cost of teaching in schools, and enhance academic performance in schools that have inclusive environment. Indeed, these incentives outweigh the shortcoming of mainstreaming special education student in schools.