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Mainstreaming is a controversial issue. When I was still in second grade I experienced mainstreaming first hand. I believe that it was detrimental to both the regular education and the special education. The SPED (let's just call him Steve), Steve, received different treatment that the rest of the class. For that we didn't really like him very much. He had easier work, got extra recess and lunch and many extra breaks. This made people (including me I must admit) dislike him. For this he didn't have any friends and there was animosity between him and everyone else. When you're in second grade you just want to play, spend time with your friends and not do as much work. Those are all things that 'Steve' received and the rest of the class did not. This created hotility and for that reason I'm against Mainstreaming.


New Member
Mainstreaming (or now called, inclusion) is good for some and not good for others. It allows the student the opportunity to be around his/her age appropriate peers. If a student is learning disabled in reading, he should not be totally separated into a self contained class. He should still be around his peers. He still receives benefits from the regular classroom. The work is easier because it is on the level that student needs. In this day and age, there is no way that every student is going to be on the same level in a classroom. Work should be modified per students needs.


Senior Member

Hello. The mainstreaming (as mentioned by Allison, it's now been changed to 'inclusion') that you experienced is NOT the model that we're supposed to be using today. If a student with an IEP is in a reg. ed. class today, that student should NOT be obvious. Other students should not be aware of the different expectations. For example, on a test, the sp. ed. student may be told, privately, to skip sections B and D. Or they may be allowed to do just the odd problems, but again in a private way, and when the teacher is calling on students to give answers, that student is asked an odd numbered problem. Lunch should be the same, unless there is a significant reason to be treated differently, and even then the other students shouldn't be aware of much. If extra breaks are necessary, the student should be sent on 'errands.'
These days, post-IDEA, students are MUCH more accepting of special-needs students. I have a wide variety of disabilities in my inclusive classes, and the other students don't make an issue of it at all. Even 1:1 aides don't carry the social stigma as much as they used to. Additionally, lots of reg. ed. students are now accustomed to having two teachers or a teacher and an aide in a classroom at the same time.

Schools have changed since the early days of 'mainstreaming.' I'm of the opinion that this has been positive change.


I'm sorry, but whatever state or county that regulates your curricula and suggested models of teaching must be worlds different from where I live. Here, unfortunately, special ed. students are still ridiculed, teased, and sometimes even physically harassed by other students who cannot accept anything different from the norm.

The students where you teach are very lucky to have teachers like yourself and to have understanding peers. All I was trying to say is that Inclusion still hasn't come as far in areas that don't have as much money. Many elementary classes in my area don't have aides like you mentioned and for that reason, teachers who aren't used to teaching special ed. students have to teach them.

Also, not as many teachers are, or have the subtlety to be in my opinion, as discreet with the student who gets different work, or would be sent on 'errands.' The fact is that these students would still be out of class and other students tend to notice who gets extra treatment.

Again, in my opinion, inclusion in places that aren't ready for it are more detrimental than helpful.


Full Member
I am currently teaching in a a full inclusion school. It really works for some and really doesn't for others. The "general ed" students at this school have ALWAYS been around "special" students and think nothing of it. In fact they are usually downright helpful! However, the students who need a great deal of help are not in this school, they are bussed to another local school who uses a resource model or even self contained. This is not to say that we only keep the cream of the crop so to say, we have many students who need accomodations, modifications, and even nearly-full-time aides. I think that it has to be done in the correct way (I have seen too many that aren't done correctly) and from a younger age so that the other students are used to them being there.


Inclusion and treatment

I am schocked to hear that special education students have no friends, are treated differently, and are subjects of hostility at some of these mentioned programs. The problem doesn't seem to be the special education model, but the school's environment. Our school has a strong school community environment and our students know that everyone learns differently and has different expereriences in the same classroom. Be careful that you don't become a breeding ground for bullying and ignorance.