Inclusive Schooling: National and International Perspectives

By Stanley J. Vitello; Dennis E. Mithaug | Go to book overview
version inclusion, just as they are free from being judged chronically incompetent in order to receive the libertarian version of inclusion. None of these odious eligibility requirements or demeaning labels is necessary for a person to be eligible of equal opportunity inclusion. The only condition that must be present is a less favorable prospect for the self-determined entry into the mainstream than that experienced by those already in the mainstream.This approach to inclusion is fundamentally fair in the broader sense as well. If the free society holds that every person must enter the mainstream on his or her own in order to earn the respect from others for that achievement, then every person should have equal access to the means necessary for that inclusion. Moreover, if we claim that every person has the same right to self-determination, then we are obligated as a society to provide the means to act on that right. The equal opportunity theory presented here summarizes this argument ( Mithaug, 1996):
All individuals have the right to self-determination.
All societies have some individuals who lack the capacity to self- determine.
All societies generate unequal opportunities to self-determine.
Consequently, some individuals do not experience the right to self- determine because they lack the capacity and opportunity to do so.
Therefore, all societies should optimize prospects for self-determination among these least advantaged members by increasing their capacity and improving their opportunity to self-determine. (p. 11)

In summary, the equal opportunity alternative to ideological inclusion promises to be an effective, significant, and fair policy for inclusion in that it seeks that combination of capacity-building and opportunity enhancement policies that will equalize access, equalize prospects for self-determination, and equalizes respect in the community. The approach seeks an optimal solution to the exclusion problem in that anything less than what it prescribes will threaten the individual's right to autonomy and experience of self-respect, and anything more will strain the free society's obligation to be fair and compassionate when giving help.


REFERENCES

"The Assault of Affirmative Action". ( 1996, April 10). Newsweek, 55.

Bennet J. ( 1997, December 17). "Clinton urges education aid for minorities". The New York Times, pp. A25.

Bergmann B. R. ( 1996). In defense of affirmative action. New York: Basic Books.

Brooke J. ( 1997, December 27). "Minorities flock to cause of vouchers for schools". The New York Times. pp. A1, A7.

Brown v Board of education, 347 U.S. 483 ( 1954).

Carville J. ( 1996). We're right, they're wrong: A handbook for spirited progressives. New York: Random House.

Coleman J. S. ( 1990). Equality and achievement in education. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

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