Friday Essay- Mainstreaming
By: Amanda Lack
In the 1950’s, schools were segregated racially because African American children were perceived as lesser than white children and many believed that the black children would not be able to perform as the whites did. Similarly, although the schooling system today vows to “Leave No Child Behind,” children with special needs are conveniently disregarded and separated into self-contained sectors rather than being included alongside typically developed children. Opponents of mainstreaming claim that the level of “instruction required to develop some functional skills is not possible in mainstream classrooms” (source C). However, many studies have indicated “inclusive education produces better outcomes for all students” (source C). Therefore, due to the fact that mainstreaming promotes socialization and has been proven to aid all students, it should be implemented into schooling systems.
Mainstreaming of special needs students is “by definition, a process of integration,” and should be utilized in schools because there is no evidence to indicate that segregated schooling aids these students (source A). Proponents of such segregated classrooms compare the process of mainstreaming to “a lake with an average depth of 20 cm.” and claim that “many students with ASD flounder in the deeper parts” (source C). However, studies have shown that special needs students in mainstream classrooms often did better than their peers who stayed in more restrictive, segregated classrooms. Due to their restrictive nature and extremely specialized sensory details, segregated classrooms do not allow students with special needs to “spread his wing and soar” (source B). Therefore, although teachers and schooling systems are attempting to make learning as comfortable as possible for special needs students, these resources can be limitations. Furthermore, studies have indicated that mainstreamed students are less disruptive and have higher test...