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Two Perspectives on Inclusion In The United States

Author(s): Curt Dudley-Marling | Mary Bridget Burns

Journal: Global Education Review
ISSN 2325-663X

Volume: 1;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 14;
Date: 2013;
Original page

Keywords: inclusion | equity | deficit perspective on inclusion | social constructivist stance on inclusion

The history of schooling for students with disabilities in the United States is marked by exclusion and, until the passage of the Education for All Children Act in the 1970s, a substantial number of students with disabilities were denied free public education and many more were poorly served by public schools. The requirement that all children be educated in the “least restrictive environment” gradually allowed many students with disabilities to be educated alongside their peers without disabilities and today a majority of students with disabilities spend more than 80% of their school days in regular classroom settings. Still, the meaning of inclusion is bitterly disputed, fueled in large part by two contrasting views of disability. This paper discusses these two views – a deficit stance and a social constructivist perspective – and the effects of these views on the meaning of inclusion, the purpose of inclusion, and how inclusive education is achieved.
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