Concepts of Inclusion in Gifted Education

By Culross, Rita R | Teaching Exceptional Children, January/February 1997 | Go to article overview

Concepts of Inclusion in Gifted Education


Culross, Rita R, Teaching Exceptional Children


Inclusion is not metioned in federal law; it is state-of-the-art term that refers to placing children with disabilities in integrated sites.

[Gifted] programs tend to be eliminated for reasons of funding, lacking of advocacy, or the existence/nonexistence of state mandates--not because of movements toward the reintegration of special education within general education.

Sixty-one percent of publlic scholl teachers and 54% of private school teachers at the elementry level reported that they had never hd training in teaching gifted students.

While specialized acdemics programs may best meet cognitive needs, they may noy neccariliy meet other needs as well.

Inclusion is a controversial topic in gifted education. What is best for the student, and how teachers can best serve all thier students--these are the important issues. This article takes a thoughtful look at inclusion and provides guidelines for teachers and administrators as they wrestle with funding cuts, pressure from the public, the needs of their students, and state requirements. An Inclusion Overview

Full inclusion as a movement has evolved at the federal level, from the regular education initiative (REI) and in-class interventions in Chapter 1 programs to state-level regulations regarding special education. In some states, gifted education falls under special education, and reformers have exerted pressure to redefine how schools will serve gifted students. Even when people perceive gifted education to be outside the realm of special education, economic pressures in local school districts have created situations in which gifted students are served within the general classroom for increasing proportions of their school day. Gifted Education-Is It Special Education?

The lndivuals with Disabilities Education Act 1990 (IDEA) stipulates that children with disabilities must be provided a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment (LRE) (McCarthy, 1994). Children can be put in special classes only when the use of supplementary aids and services in the general classroom cannot achieve a satisfactory education. Fully inclusive means that children are taught in the general education classroom for the full day; support services are brought to the children rather than the child to a segregated setting.

Inclusion, however, is not mentioned in federal law; it is a state-of-the-art term that refers to placing children with disabilities in integrated sites (McCarthy, 1994). Moreover, there is no mention that such regulations apply to gifted and talented students. While gifted and talented programs may be covered under special education in particular states, such placement is not uniform across the United States. Concerns About Inclusion and Gifted Education

Within gifted education, people are greatly concerned about the implications of the school reform movement for differentiated programs for gifted students. Renzulli and Reis (1991) have argued that the reform movement is leading to the reduction in the number of gifted programs, with a move toward ending tracking and homogeneous grouping. Purcell (1994), however, found that programs tend to be eliminated for reasons of funding, lack of advocacy, or the existence/nonexistence of state mandates-not because of movements toward the reintegration of special education within general education.

Indeed, if one looks at judicial rulings about inclusion as applied to students with disabilities, the federal courts (McCarthy, 1994) have determined that the focus of the intervention is on where the student can receive an "appropriate" education that meets his or her needs and that "any setting, including a general classroom, that prevents a child from receiving an appropriate education... is not the LRE for that individual child." In particular, in determining whether a child should be placed in the general classroom, schools may consider the following: 1. …

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