421). Learning disabled students often suffer socially in regular classes where they and the other students know that they are different. Their academic self-concept can also be damaged as the result of grades and other feed-back which indicates that they are less able than the other students (Carlisle, & Chang, 1996, p. 19). A study by Chira (1993, p. A17), shows that special education students fail 61 percent of the time when they are placed in regular education classes. This compares to a failure rate of 14 percent for these students when placed in special education classes.
A small number of learning disabled students, 1.1 percent, are enrolled in special schools (Kolstad, Wilkinson, & Briggs, 1997, p. 421). At these schools the students make exceptional gains in learning. The classes and teaching methods are geared to enable learning disabled students to succeed. These students are not isolated from their peers and fit-in with the other students as all the students are learning disabled. Given these facts, the team looking for the appropriate placement for a learning disabled student in junior high school can honestly state that the most appropriate learning environment for the student is not in the neighborhood school but is a special school dedicated to the learning disabled student. Parents can be persuaded to place their child in the more restrictive environment of the special school.
Applying the second strategy to reduce the number of high-risk students at a junior high school would mean changing the ideological focus of the placement team. In this case the sociological benefits to all the students in the school are stressed. Respect for diversity is the natural result of inclusion (Glazer, 1997, p. 88). Students with learning disabilities can be taught in inclusive classes if given the proper support.
When placing learning disabled students in regular education classes, the need and provision for su...
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