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Providing information, education, and training to build knowledge, develop skills, and change attitudes that will lead to increased independence, productivity, self determination, integration and inclusion (IPSII) for people with developmental disabilities and their families.

The Top Questions Asked About Inclusive Education

Question Five: Isn't inclusive education more expensive?

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Patrick Schwarz: Isn't inclusive education more expensive? And this is something I want to say to this in terms of working with schools who have went and evolved to more inclusive models of learning and teaching is, it all depends on how you use your resources. One thing that I think happens in the beginning, when any school system is making a change, is it may be more expensive, you may need to bring more resources into it. But here's what has happened. As a school system has adopted more into using this system, it equalizes itself out. And what I found is inclusion is about the same cost, but I think the benefits far outweigh the segregated situation. So thinking about this, I'll tell you how a school decided how they would spend some resources on inclusion.

So they were looking at, for example, teachers and para-educators who might provide resources. And they looked at every student who had an IEP who was being included. And they looked at just how much special education support time would this individual need during the course of the day. And what they did is they looked at that amount of time and they added it up for all students and that's the way that they did hiring. And what they started to do is what it would be by the end of the school year when we could start fading out of certain things that students acquire more skills and routines and things such as that. And we again found that it is about the same over time. You just have to give it a few years to work. I would say three to five years, and it kind of equalizes itself out.

But thinking about the learning gains and the gains that a person receives when they graduate from the school system. So, for example, is when somebody becomes an adult does inclusive education end? No, it just evolves into what I would call adult inclusion. So are we included in our community? Are we living, working, playing, and becoming educated in the community with everybody else? And thinking about that importance is support over time it even becomes more important because we've been connected with everybody in the school.

If you think about it, is think of everyone in the school, and in the future you have people that are going to become employers, co-workers, neighbors, and friends. And they need this as part of their education just as much as anyone else who might have a disability is we all need this particular education because I believe if you want to live effectively in the world together, you need to learn alongside each other together. And so that's a very important thing. So I feel cost isn't a point that people should be making to not do it. Actually, it becomes the same over time and the benefits far outweigh any disadvantages.

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This project was supported, in part by grant number 2001MNSCDD-03, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects with government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official ACL policy.

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