This page is under development
Through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Section 504 of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act, a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) is mandated for students with disabilities. The placement of disabled students must be in the least restrictive environment (LRE), which is the environment closest to the general classroom in which the student's individual needs can be met. Availability of different placement options is required to ensure the appropriateness of an individual's program. This placement can be in a special class, resource room, or the general classroom with or without consultative services. Decisions about placement take place during the development of the individualized educational program (IEP).
Although law requires that students with disabilities be placed in the least restrictive environment, it is not mandated that students be mainstreamed. For example, a full inclusion model may be restrictive for a student that requires intense remediation in reading. It is for this reason that a variety of service options must be made available to disabled students.
To date, approximately 80% of students with learning disabilities receive the majority of their instruction in the general classroom. Although critics have claimed that there is no support for providing service in special education programs, there is evidence that some students benefit from such placements more than they would were they in regular classrooms. There is not yet to be any definitive evidence that supports or rejects the effectiveness of inclusion practices. There has been, however, a massive amount of federal money poured into inclusion research and the results of those studies should be made available in the near future.
This page was developed by Peter and JohnL, summer '94.