“Including” young children with emotional and behavioral disabilities affects the learning and behavior of their non-disabled classmates, researchers conclude. Other students “had more absences, lower math and reading scores in kindergarten and 1st grade, and were more likely to act out in the classroom or struggle with social skills,” reports Ed Week.
Federal law requires mainstreaming of students with disabilities “to the maximum extent appropriate”.
There is a “direct negative effect,” said researcher Michael A. Gottfried, an associate professor of education at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
In 2009, Jason Fletcher, currently a University of Wisconsin professor, looked at the “spillover effects” of inclusion of emotionally and behaviorally disabled students on their non-disabled classmates.
. . . Fletcher found that the negative spillover effects were more “robust and larger for reading” and had more of an impact on African-American and Hispanic nondisabled students in low-income schools. Fletcher also reported that score gaps between Hispanic and white students were larger at the end of the school year in classrooms with students with emotional or behavioral disabilities than they were in demographically similar classrooms without such students. The same pattern held for the gaps between white and black students.
This is very troubling — and not very surprising.