Deconstructing Special Education and Constructing Inclusion

Deconstructing Special Education and Constructing Inclusion

Deconstructing Special Education and Constructing Inclusion

Deconstructing Special Education and Constructing Inclusion

Synopsis

Focusing on parental involvement in children's education in the USA, this volume covers such topics as: school, family and community partnerships; family involvement in Federal Education Programs; home-school commmunication; parent-child literacy projects; and family centres in schools.

Excerpt

'Inclusion' has become something of an international buzzword. It's difficult to trace its provenance or the growth in its use over the last two or three decades, but what is certain is that it is now de rigeur for mission statements, political speeches and policy documents of all kinds.

But although it is used so often now, people barely seem to think about its meaning any more. The word 'inclusion' is often merely a filler in the conversation. Politicians sometimes seem to use the words 'inclusion' and 'inclusive' merely to add a progressive gloss to what they are saying. When they talk about the need for a more inclusive society they know that they will be seen as open minded, enlightened and right thinking. And they will be confident that such is the power of the halo effect that accompanies mention of 'inclusivity' that it will be possible to circumvent all sorts of difficult practical questions. If this happens, and if there is insufficient thought about the nitty gritty mechanics, those who do work hard for inclusion can easily be dismissed as peddling empty promises.

This series is dedicated to examining in detail some of the ideas that lie behind inclusive education. Inclusion, much more than 'integration' or 'mainstreaming', is embedded in a range of contexts – political and social as well as psychological and educational – and our aim in this series is to make some examination of these contexts. In providing a forum for discussion and critique we hope to provide the basis for a wider intellectual and practical foundation for more inclusive practice in schools and elsewhere.

In noting that inclusive education is indeed about more than simply 'integration', it is important to stress that inclusive education is really about extending the comprehensive ideal in education. Those who talk about it are therefore less concerned with children's supposed 'special educational needs' (and it is becoming increasingly difficult meaningfully to define what such needs are) and more concerned with developing an education system in which tolerance, diversity and equity are striven for. To aim for such developments is surely uncontentious; what is perhaps more controversial is the means by . . .

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