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Illinois Ponders New Inclusion Rules

The Chicago Tribune reports that Illinois is considering getting rid of certain decades-old state regulations in order to get more students with disabilities educated alongside their typically developing peers. From the article:

The proposed changes could affect students both with and without disabilities in virtually every public school in Illinois and open the door for more disabled students in mainstream classes—a key goal of federal special education law, state officials say. ...

The proposals, expected to be discussed in June and voted on in August by the Illinois State Board of Education, have generated an unprecedented response—much of it critical. Those who fear class sizes will increase, special education teachers and aides will be laid off, and children will be hurt have bombarded state officials with thousands of letters and comments.

The article illustrates a tension between the mandate in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which says that students should be taught in the least restrictive environment that meets their needs; and parents who believe that their children won't get the special attention they need in large, general education classrooms.

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