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Special Education in the 21st Century

Issues of Inclusion and Reform

Margret A. Winzer and Kas Mazurek, Editors

Publication Year: 2000

In the late 20th century, a tidal wave of calls for reform and inclusion of special needs students swept over public special education. The current debates over implementing these themes today are authoritatively addressed by 19 distinguished scholars in this thorough volume. Organized into three cohesive sections, it begins with the issues of educational reform and the emerging discourses of disability and integration in the inclusion movement. Respective chapters appraise specific arguments for inclusion and the federal legislation and litigation surrounding and supporting special education. The second part features the thorny issue of assessment, the technological revolution in special education, and the disposition of teacher training. The third section scrutinizes the inclusion of various populations of students with exceptional needs, particularly how teachers can make an easy transition from ideology to educational practice. Special Education in the 21st Century sets the standard for extrapolating future directions by wisely weighing classroom practices for different groups and the technical problems of resources, management, social groupings, instructional design, and the supposition that teachers will automatically change to accommodate an even greater diversity of learners.

Published by: Gallaudet University Press

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General Introduction

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pp. vii-xiv

Contemporary special education encompasses an extremely complex social and conceptual system that is designed to assist all children and youth with special needs to reach their full potential. Special education is designed to accommodate students who are different from the average in some or many areas of functioning. The children and youth who are served have traits...

Part 1: Educational Reform and the Inclusion Movement

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pp. 3-4

The current atmosphere in the general education system is one that includes reform, restructure, and reinvention. This atmosphere is paralleled in the discrete area of special education where the present reformist climate is making significant differences. The appropriateness of special education as a system is under attack from many constituencies, as is the classification and...

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1. The Inclusion Movement: Review and Reflections on Reform in Special Education

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pp. 5-26

In the past decade, inclusive schooling has been elevated to a dominant education discourse, the critical orthodoxy in contemporary special education. Increasingly, parents, legislators, educators, and school boards express the desire to follow an inclusive philosophy whereby all children are effectively welcomed into the regular classroom. Spurred on by changing public attitudes, court...

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2. The Inclusion Movement: A Goal for Restructuring Special Education

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pp. 27-40

Educational inclusion “is the process of allowing all children, regardless of disability, race, or any other difference the opportunity to remain a member of the regular classroom” (Encarta Encyclopedia 1998). Educational inclusion involves practices that include everyone in all aspects of school and community life. Within these practices, steps are taken to make everyone...

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3. Defining U.S. Special Education into the Twenty-first Century

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pp. 41-61

Many forces are shaping modern special education in the United States. Although numerous factors have influenced the system as it exists today, few have had as significant an effect as federal legislation and litigation. The foundations that undergird the field are reflected in the turbulent and triumphant history of special education and civil rights law. This chapter...

Part 2: Supporting Educational Reform

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pp. 65-67

The ongoing education reform movement has brought numerous education issues into sharp focus. As we have seen, few issues have received the attention and generated the controversy and polarization of perspectives as has the movement to include all children with disabilities in general classrooms. This section examines a range of supports that are necessary if inclusion is to be...

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4. Assessment Issues in Special Education

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pp. 68-82

The purpose of special education, in its simplest terms, is to meet the educational needs of students whose disabilities interfere with learning under typical instructional arrangements (Deno 1989). Given this purpose, any assessment system in special education is defensible only when the measurement practices involved can demonstrate treatment utility (Hayes, Nelson, and Jarrett...

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5. Technology and Special Education

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pp. 83-105

One of the more notable trends of the second half of the twentieth century has been the rapid pace of technological change. This phenomenon has been particularly dramatic during the last two or three decades. For example, Sawyer and Zantal-Wiener point out that as recently as 1972 we had “no MRIs or CAT scans, space stations, Walkmans, camcorders, VCRs, CDs, personal...

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6. Teacher Education: Reform and Restructuring

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pp. 106-134

Numerous issues and policies—social, political, and economic—influence education reform and restructuring at all levels. This chapter explores considerations related to litigation and legislation, approaches to educational assessment and service delivery, and technological applications to education. The focus of the discussions concerns children and youth with disabilities and others who...

Part 3: Including Special Populations

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pp. 137-141

As educators grapple with the issue of equitable treatment for all students, the question of how the integration of students with disabilities is to be accomplished remains a hotly debated issue. Discussions on the merits of inclusion as a philosophy are not as prominent as apprehension about putting inclusion into practice. Few dispute the contention that every child, regardless...

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7. What Happens to Gifted Education within Inclusive Schooling?

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pp. 142-162

Students who are gifted and talented are increasingly likely to receive all or most of their schooling in the regular education system. In many school districts, separate specialized programs are being curtailed or phased out. The expectation that students who are gifted and talented will have their needs met within the regular school and classroom environment is congruent with the...

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8. The Education of Students with Emotional or Behavioral Disorders

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pp. 163-174

Perhaps no issue in education can raise the anxiety of teachers—particularly those in regular education—more than the prospect of teaching and working with students with emotional or behavioral disorders (E/BD). By definition, students identified with E/BD present what are easily the most disturbing rule- and norm-violating behaviors that teachers have identified. As...

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9. From Tolerance to Acceptance and Celebration: Including Students with Severe Disabilities

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pp. 175-197

Students with severe disabilities frequently have been marginalized and segregated by school administrators, teachers, classmates, and society in general. This chapter discusses many of the issues regarding students with severe disabilities and the characteristics of students labeled with “severe and profound, multiple disabilities.” Why have these students been excluded from...

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10. Inclusion of Infants, Toddlers, and Preschoolers with Disabilities

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pp. 198-220

For more than twenty years, the education system in the United States has devoted considerable effort to “mainstreaming” children with disabilities. The primary focus of this effort has been the placement of school-age children into regular elementary and secondary school classrooms. Recently, however, appreciation has been growing for the importance of “inclusion,” a broader concept...

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11. Bilingual/Bicultural Education for Deaf Students

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pp. 221-237

Throughout most of the twentieth century in North America, those in the education field were consistently prejudiced against Deaf children using any kind of manual communication and maintained an especially intense opposition to the use of American Sign Language. Sometimes, the opposition has consisted of a large majority of educators of Deaf children and sometimes a minority, but it was...

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12. Multicultural Special Education for Increasingly Diverse Societies

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pp. 238-256

The United States and Canada are countries built on immigration and, therefore, have always been multicultural societies. However, during the past three decades, we have witnessed enormous changes in the traditional demographic composition of these two nations. Previously characterized by a predominance of people of European ancestry, Canada and the United States are now societies with...


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pp. 257-260


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pp. 261-270

E-ISBN-13: 9781563681790
E-ISBN-10: 156368179X
Print-ISBN-13: 9781563681004
Print-ISBN-10: 1563681005

Page Count: 284
Illustrations: 4 tables
Publication Year: 2000

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Educational change -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • Inclusive education -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • Special education -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
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