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From Integration to Inclusion

A History of Special Education in the 20th Century

Margret A. Winzer

Publication Year: 2009

Since Margret A. Winzer wrote her landmark work The History of Special Education, much has transpired in this field, which she again has captured in a remarkable display of scholarship. Winzer’s new study From Integration to Inclusion: A History of Special Education in the 20th Century focuses chiefly on the significant events of the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries in the United States and Canada. Its key dynamics consist of a retrospective overview of the paradigms that emerged from and shaped special education; a critical assessment of past progress and reform, including failures and disappointments; and an analysis of the theoretical diversity within the discipline. In this stand-alone volume, Winzer juxtaposes the historical study of disability and of special schooling and service provision with reference to broader social systems, protocols, and practices. She documents how prevailing emotional and intellectual climates influence disability and schooling, and also takes into account the social, political, and ideological factors that affect educational theory and practice. Winzer recognizes that reform has been the Zeitgeist of the history of special education. Crucial problems such as defining exceptional conditions and separating them from one another were formulated in contexts organized along moral, theological, legislative, medical, and social dimensions. Many of these reforms failed for various reasons, which Winzer thoroughly explains in her study. Most of these reforms evolved from the long and honorable pedigree that the field of special education has possessed since its earliest antecedents, now admirably brought up to date by this outstanding work.

Published by: Gallaudet University Press


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pp. 6

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pp. 8-13

This text is designed as a comprehensive history of the field that focuses chiefly on events in the 20th century. The key hallmarks of the book are its retrospective overview of the field of special education, a critical assessment of past progress and reform, and an analysis of the theoretical diversity within the discipline. The text accomplishes...

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Chapter 1 / Revisiting the 19th Century

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pp. 14-31

Difference is inevitable in a community of people. Although difference is constituted in complex ways by varying cultural configurations, the existence of a scale of prestigious and shameful differences seems to be a universal feature of social life. Different societies and cultures have looked along the range of human behavior from normal to abnormal and...

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Chapter 2 / Changing Directions

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pp. 32-57

In the first 3 or 4 decades of the 19th century, the American population was small, rural, and relative homogeneous. Rural life bred a traditionalism that translated into the acceptance of a fairly common set of values. Occupationally, people were bound to nature’s cycles. By the middle...

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Chapter 3 / The Politics of Biology

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pp. 58-89

Social and political problems beset North America as it entered the 20th century. These seemingly unresolvable and mounting issues were not novel. Although faith in the progress of America produced a conservative, well-satisfied nation in the late-19th century, it was clear that progress brought a particular set of problems.As the movement toward urbanization and industrialization accelerated, ...

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Chapter 4 / The Development of Special Classes

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pp. 90-117

Throughout the 19th century, institutions formed the chief setting for the training and instruction of students who were deaf, blind, or mentally retarded. Although the clergy was conspicuous in the early genesis and development of these institutions, by mid-century, the institutions had clearly withdrawn from their historic Protestant alliance. As the 19th drew to a close, a complex of...

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Chapter 5 / Turning Points

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pp. 118-141

It is one of the quirks in the chronological development of special education that certain decades are definable as turning points—benchmarks when an unprecedented array of changes and reforms occur. The 1960s stand out as a beacon of change, an optimistic period of American history, a time when both the desire and the finances existed to promote social and educational changes. Because special...

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Chapter 6 / Handling “the Holdbacks and the Drags”

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pp. 142-167

Children and youth with behavioral disorders are not a product only of modernized social, economic, and educational systems. Recalcitrant, difficult, and disruptive young people have long and consistently challenged society and school systems. In the schools, behavior has been a constant issue—always there, always a matter of degree, and almost always a transaction between an individual pupil ...

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Chapter 7 / Going to Public School

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pp. 168-197

As the 20th century opened, large institutional settings such as the American Asylum (American School for the Deaf) continued to thrive. Special classes and alternate programs and schools sprang up. The special segregated classes, destined to become the backbone and the chief bone of contention in special education for almost all of the next century, arrived largely unheralded. Once in place after about ...

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Chapter 8 / The Professionalization of Special Education

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pp. 198-211

The development of teaching as a distinct profession in the 19th century was neither clear cut nor simple. In the opening decades, elementary teaching was a virtually unskilled and temporary job (Herbst, 1988), not viewed as a profession for either men or women. By the 1820s, a few private academies in the United States began to offer a modicum of teacher education (Woodring, 1975)...

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Chapter 9 / The Era of Inclusion

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pp. 212-237

Complexity and contradiction characterized the reforms and paradigm shifts of the 1960s and 1970s. The next decade was perhaps more contemplative in that it witnessed much education debate that manifested as a fervent reexamination of schooling and of school systems as well as a re-imagining of the philosophy and practice of special education. A broad swath of social, demographic...


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pp. 238-283

Appendix A / Chronology of Developments in Special Education

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pp. 284-291

Appendix B / Summary of U.S. Federal Legislation on Special Education, 1879–2004

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pp. 292-298


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pp. 299-305

E-ISBN-13: 9781563683657
E-ISBN-10: 1563683652
Print-ISBN-13: 9781563683657
Print-ISBN-10: 1563683652

Page Count: 304
Illustrations: 3 tables
Publication Year: 2009