To what degree do you think this contributes to the issues in public education nowadays? I think it is likely a huge reason why public education has largely gone in the toilet. It used to be that special needs kids went into special classes, and the kids who were intellectually and behaviorally able to keep up with the normal pace of the classroom weren't held back by these other kids because the teachers' attentions weren't so divided.
I know this isn't a very politically correct opinion, but there you have it.
My special needs daughter has done very well in her mainstream classrooms. She has the ability to leave the classroom if she needs to, and go to a special room with a special needs instructor. She gets 3 passes per day, 5 minutes each. It helps her refocus, and it keeps the distractions of her down time out of the classroom.
I have personally helped in her classroom 3 of the past 4 years, and hope to help again this year. I have never seen any instances of her or the other 3 kids in her room causing any disturbances that distract from the learning in the entire room.
I think the current laws were helpful but have out,Ives their usefulness. I think we need more of a child by child approach. The laws (IDEA and pl94142) were set up to help kids who didn't need such restrictive classes. For example the deaf child who only needs an interpreter or the kid with cp who is ply can't take notes but would otherwise thrive in mainstream class. The problem is it has been applied in the wrong ways. Instead of evaluating (IEPs) students for proper placement ALL special needs kids were thrown into classes whether they were a good fit or not. And ALL special Ed classes were shut down as the "least restrictive environment" meant that only severely troubled kids got the help and support they need,
I honestly think that most special needs kids should be mainstreamed at their level, but with an aid. By this I mean if they are on a 3rd grade level no matter how old they are they should be in a 3rd grade classroom. I think it would create more acceptance if they weren't sheltered away from the rest of the world.
I have one of each. My special one is in mainstream classes for most classes (she's now in HS) and is doing fabulously. She has some changes, but most are ones that only she and her teachers (and I) know about. We try not to make a huge deal about it so that she can have a "normal" experience. She goes to special classes for english and math, everything else is the same. Outside of some minor adjustments such as more time if needed and ability to take her tests in another room, or help reading tests... she's good. My daughter is very highly functioning, despite multiple special needs.
The problem is not our kids, it is the parents of the ones who are not special being lazy and not teaching their children compassion. Special needs does not equate to mentally retarded. Just they learn differently.
My sister is blind of course she needs extra help but she can keep up with her peers as long as braille is a part of it. She shouldn't be segregated at all. And most of the time kids can handle it and then part of the day they split up and go to the "special" classes for extra help. I think it is a really positive thing for my kids to be around "special" needs kids and see that just because someone is different doesn't mean they are any less of a person and that standing up and helping them out when need be is always the right thing to do.