Handicapped kids and those who care for them have pretty consistently ended up losers in the public schools. Neglect didn’t work. Special education didn’t work, either. Will our efforts to fully include special children in regular classes do any better, given our insatiable desire to raise achievement and measure it by test scores?
Working with less-fortunate kids in academic classes might help the “included” kids a bit, and it will undoubtedly make the “including” kids better people. But let’s also admit that it will take time away from kids’ test preparation, and we all know damn well what really counts.
Teachers all know what suffering we create when we neglect the needy. But we should also consider the grief that follows when overzealous service is provided. Maybe it’s time to explore alternatives when public providers are not satisfactory, for example, private, even religion-based experts, more aggressively ...but with more care than enthusiasm.
To examine these issues further, see Special Education: misgivings and reconsiderations
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