One of the five classes I'm taking this semester is an introductory Special Education class. Our second chapter discussed the civil rights movement and its effect on special education. I am in favor of equal treatment, in so much as we can deliver it. I am in favor of fairness. The problem with dealing with students with disabilities is that they are not receiving "equal treatment", and in fact, each such child should have an Individual Education Plan in place.
I addressed the teacher tonight: "Doctor, am I correct in understanding you to say that the impact of the student with disabilities on the general education students may only be considered if it's a potential safety issue?"
"That is correct."
"So- if only the rights of the child with disabilities can legally be considered, doesn't this mean that the other students have fewer rights?"
She didn't disagree.
I am not arguing in favor of "the greater good" or any such nonsense. I do not advocate sacrificing rights of even majorities for minorities. But I do want fairness, in so much as it is possible to provide. Unfortunately, making exceptions and spending extra amounts on individual students can and will be taken to an extreme, and everyone will lose. Ultimately, we are alike in that we are all individuals. We could all profitably have our own IEP. It just is not practical, efficient, or cost effective.
The "right" of schooling- if you believe that any such right should exist at all- should be that reasonable accommodations will be made to students with exceptional challenges. We as a country and society have gone from deplorable treatment of certain individuals to equally ludicrous and extreme efforts arguably on their behalf. I'm not saying students with disabilities should not be helped if reasonably possible: I'm just saying let's use some common sense in this.