As a general rule, teachers must teach to the lowest common denominator. While, they make some effort in maintaining universal interest their focus is always on the weakest students. Where does this leave the rest?
Full inclusion of special needs children certainly does have some benefits for the general population. It can teach patience, respect, tolerance, and empathy. These are all very important life skills that many kids in today’s society are lacking. But, they go to school to learn more than just social interaction skills. They go to learn reading, writing, math, science, and so on.
Twenty years ago, schools had already degenerated so much that individual skill development and accomplishment was not as important as the ability to work in a group. A group could present a sub standard assignment but, still do well on the merit of having gotten along. In the work place, internal office politics always favor the people that play well with others than those that actually make the effort to do a good job.
Universities and colleges are crying because students have no idea that 2x + x does not equal x squared. Bridges collapse and planes fall out of the skies because group think is more acceptable than being seen as a trouble maker. Those students that had potential were not encouraged because what little resources were available in the classroom were eaten up by high need students.
While full inclusion meets special needs, ordinary needs are being left by the wayside. There has to be a better way to handle the requirement to give those kids a better chance to integrate into society without compromising the health, well-being, and education of the rest of us. Perhaps partial inclusion is sufficient. Perhaps subjects that are more focused on life skills such as languages, music, home economics, and gym can provide enough interaction without limiting the rest of the population’s growth potential in more abstract subjects such as math and science.
It may seem heartless and politically incorrect to take this position. However, keeping silent and agreeable has brought us to the point where we find ourselves now. The other day one single father posed opposition to the teaching of “To Kill A Mockingbird”, after decades of presenting the classic for debate and discussion. The school board took it off their recommended reading list. So, as a result of one guy taking a word used in the book out of context and running with it, thousands of students are being deprived of learning from a masterfully told story. This is what being politically correct gets us. Let us not side with the fad of the times. Instead, let’s really put some thought into what is best for both the children and society as a whole.