The Inclusion Paradox

The Cultural Politics of Difference

Authored by: Roger Slee

The Routledge International Handbook of Critical Education

Print publication date:  February  2009
Online publication date:  February  2009

Print ISBN: 9780415958615
eBook ISBN: 9780203882993
Adobe ISBN: 9781135903091


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Despite its appropriation by neoconservative education agendas inclusive education originated as, and struggles to remain, a fundamentally critical project. Confusion surrounding the nature and aspirations of inclusive education is ubiquitous. For many inclusive education is default vocabulary for special education or more specifically for the education of that part of the school population that has come to be known as students with Special Educational Needs (SEN), a term first delivered to the British education community in the Report of the Committee of Enquiry into the Education of Handicapped Children and Young People chaired by Mary Warnock and entitled Special Educational Needs (DES, 1978). In the United States inclusive education seems to have replaced the use of the term mainstreaming and refers to an array of educational provisions for disabled students. In-built in this usage is a notion of a continuum of educational provision from separate settings to the regular classroom. The continuum of provision derives from the surprisingly controversial work of traditional special education researchers Lloyd Dunn (1968) and Evelyn Deno (1970) who provoked “rancorous debate” (Fuchs, Fuchs, & Fernstrom, 1993; Kauffman & Hallahan, 1995) which pales against more recent and shrill exchanges between traditional special educators and those such as Brantlinger (1997) and Gallagher (2004) who have earned the pejorative title of full-inclusionists from those described by Fuchs et al. (1993) as “conservationists” (Kauffman & Hallahan, 1995; Kauffman & Sasso, 2006a, 2006b; Kavale & Mostert, 2004).

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