Your Name Your The Course Number 31 July 2011 Separation vs Inclusion: Personal Statement I agree with the statement that inclusion of a variety of students within the mainstream education is essential for providing these students with equal educational opportunities…
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It does not, however, mean that all the children have equal abilities. Equal opportunities means providing accommodations within the general curriculum or modification of the general academic curriculum based on children’s strengths and weaknesses. These strengths and weaknesses have to be evaluated through special testing that is nondiscriminatory in nature. Segregation on the other hand, is grouping students according to certain characteristics, like abilities or disabilities, race or any other characteristic. Historically segregation has been viewed very negatively since it has led to a lot of discrimination and unjust treatment of certain groups of people. Even to these days, placing a child in special education may be viewed negatively by some parents due to their negative experiences in the school system before. Historically, segregation provided too much space for subjective judgments that can lead to discrimination as well as denial of opportunities for a variety of children. Inclusion, on the other hand, provides children with equal opportunities. Throughout the years it has been proved to be the best practice of educating children. A brief look at US history and legislature will help clarify this issue. Equality has been long a guaranteed right to American people ever since the passing of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. The aspect of the 14th Amendment that was and is especially important in decisions regarding schools is equal protection clause. The equal protection clause states that no state shall “deny any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” This clause has been interpreted differently throughout the years. The 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s were decades of increasing federal court involvement in school-related issues. This was due to numerous school actions that violated the constitutional rights of students and their parents. In 1954 landmark Supreme Court ruling, Brown vs Board of Education, the Court decided that each state must provide equal education opportunity to all children in its jurisdiction regardless of race. The Court rules that the assignment of African American children to separate public schools is a denial of equal protection under the 14th Amendment of the Constitution (Jacob & Hartshorne 33). In two other important Court cases, Pennsylvania Association for Retarded Children vs. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (1971) and Mills vs. Board of Education (1972), the courts ruled that the exclusion of children with handicaps from public school education is a denial of equal protection (Jacob & Hartshorne 33). Through these cases, the Court delivered a message to the states that they have to provide equal educational opportunities to all children regardless of race, national origin, native language, sex, disability under the 14th Amendment. Since then more and more steps have been taken by US federal government and state governments to ensure the equal access to education and equal opportunity to a quality public education for all children. Years after the above mentioned Court decisions, a keystone legislature that ensured the equal educational opportunities for all the children was passed. The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) provides financial assistance for schools with high concentrations of children from disadvantaged homes. The purpose of this legislation was “to close the achievement gap with accountability, flexibility, and choice, so that no child is left behind”
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