In the United States, 5,693,441 students between the ages of 6 to 21 qualify for special education, yet many do not have the resources needed to help them succeed. Many school systems have cut back on their special education programs due to lack of funding and resources.
Due to a lack of funding, many schools have cut the amount out students they let into the special education programs. A recent investigation in Texas has revealed that they had set a percentage on the number of students that should receive special education. The state set a limit to 8.5% of students in a school were allowed to receive special education, which is far less than the national average of 13.8%. If Texas provided services at the same rate as the rest of the United States, 250,000 more kids would be getting critical services such as therapy, counseling and one-on-one tutoring. This cutback was put into place to save the Texas government $1.1 million.
Another way school systems are reacting to lack of funding in mainstreaming students with special needs. However, doing so without providing the correct resources hinders the student. In general, studies conducted indicate better academic outcomes for students with learning disabilities who are served in special education settings. When these same students are served in general education settings without any additional help, they have poorer self- concepts. If schools want to help their students with special needs by mainstreaming them, they need to take the specific measures in order to promote success. According to the Journal for Inclusive Education, there are three ways for mainstreaming students with disabilities: co-teaching, differentiated instruction, and peer- mediated instruction and interventions
One of the easiest and cheapest ways to successful mainstreaming is through peer-mediated instruction.When I was in high school, I created a peer learning group that partnered a special education student with a student without disabilities. What I would do is find a student willing to participate, who understood the subject well and would partner them up with a special education student. They would sit next to one another in class and help one another during class.They were also required once a week to meet in the library to help the special education student with the assignments for that week.
If you have any questions about starting your own mainstream program don’t hesitate to contact me!