• Inclusion in the Middle School Science Classroom

      Taverna, Bridget M.; The College at Brockport (1996-07-01)
      Chief Justice, Earl Warren, in the Supreme Court decision Brown v. the Board of Education, stated that public education was foundational to good citizenship. Access, therefore, to public education should be upheld by all as a necessary part of development for tomorrow’s citizenry. However, segregation of developmentally challenged students existed well past this famous court decision. This thesis project discusses the impact of the Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975, and subsequent legislation, as it bears on handicapped and disabled children’s access to public education in America. This year-long study examines the LRE (least restrictive educational) placement in the full inclusion classroom. Questions posed include: Is inclusion an effective way of meeting the educational and social needs of students with disabilities? Who are the actual beneficiaries of such a program? Methods of study include a partial review of the academic literature, as well as a case study following the academic and socio-emotional progress of two special education students and their teachers as first-time participants in an inclusion setting. The students in this study participated in a seventh grade life science inclusion class. In addition to interviews with the two students and a review of the cumulative education records, a survey of attitudes toward the inclusion program by all participating students was utilized to demonstrate the benefits of inclusion for all students. The study further describes how the seventh grade life science curriculum lends itself to the practice of inclusion, and the types of modifications made by the participating teachers to the curriculum and materials. Cooperative learning experiences and hands-on activities assisted the students in the case study to function as partners in the classroom. Conclusions drawn from this study support the improvement of student outcomes by inclusion in a general education setting, and of paramount importance, the strong collaboration of the participating teachers in planning and discussion of daily and long-range activities for the class which facilitated joint responsibility for the inclusion program's success. Both academic and social improvements were noted.