Mainstreaming On The Rise, But Advocates Question To What Extent
The number of mainstreamed students with intellectual disabilities is up dramatically in Connecticut, but advocates say schools have not done enough to truly include such students.
A lawsuit settled in 2002 led Connecticut schools to sharply increase inclusion of students with intellectual disabilities. Today just over half of these students are mainstreamed, meaning that the state ranks second in the country for inclusion, state officials say. But with the settlement set to expire in August, advocates worry that the state’s schools could slide backward.
Already, advocates say many students with intellectual disabilities who are included in regular classrooms sit in the back or off to the side, often working on far different assignments than their peers. Many teachers are not properly trained to include such students and they rarely have teacher’s aides or other resources at their disposal, advocates say.
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For their part, state school officials point to the progress made in increasing the number of students in mainstream classrooms and say they will continue their efforts even after the settlement period comes to a close. But plaintiffs say the state has not yet done enough and are asking a judge to rule that the state has not met the terms of the agreement, reports the Hartford (Conn.) Courant.