Our colleagues at COPAA, the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, have fired back, in a blog post by Denise Marshall, the Executive Director of COPAA. Ms. Marshall notes: "The article by Ms. Freedman wholly disregards both the law and science. Her erroneous proposition that educating children with disabilities alongside their non-disabled peers is harmful to students without disabilities has no basis in science nor legal precedents. Not only is this claim based on stereotype, but this viewpoint disregards decades of legal and scientific developments and undercuts a quarter of a century of progress in remedying widespread discrimination against children with disabilities."
Ms. Marshall is correct; research supports the conclusion that all students do better in an inclusion setting. In fact, despite the concerns of teachers about managing a diverse classroom, there are numerous benefits -- both social and academic -- in such settings. Ms. Marshall concludes that Ms. Freedman "is correct in stating that our schools thrive with a diverse population and engaged parents. However, the idea that removing children with disabilities from regular classrooms will promote diversity, defies comprehension. A return to segregation and exclusion of children with disabilities will hardly promote diversity and is definitely not the way forward.."