Learning Outcomes:

  1. Show your knowledge and understanding of InTASC Standard 2: Learning Differences—The teacher uses understanding of individual differences and diverse cultures and communities to ensure inclusive learning environments that enable each learner to meet high standards
  2. Examine the concepts of least restrictive environment and inclusion and write a paper that shows your understanding of and perspective on these. This examination includes:
    1. Least restrictive environment (LRE) and its importance
    1. Inclusion, including what this philosophy embraces, the benefits for students with disabilities and those without disabilities, inclusive practices, and the possibilities and challenges for implementing inclusive practices
    1. Your future classroom, including your perspective on inclusion and how you will create an inclusive environment that supports all children and meets the expectation of least restrictive environment mandated for students with disabilities.


Special education law as we know it today was first signed into law in 1975 as the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (PL 94-142). Over the years, this law has been revised and reauthorized four times. The most recent reauthorization was signed in 2004 as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act, IDEIA, although it is commonly referred to as IDEA or IDEA ‘04. Throughout this time, the guiding principles of special education law have remained. This includes, but is not limited to, a focus on students with disabilities receiving a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE).

What is Least Restrictive Environment? Special education law defines LRE requirements as follows:

Section 300.114 LRE requirements

(a) General.

(1) Except as provided in §300.324(d)(2) (regarding children with disabilities in adult prisons), the State must have in effect policies and procedures to ensure that public agencies in the State meet the LRE requirements of this section and §§300.115 through 300.120.

(2) Each public agency must ensure that—

(i) To the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities, including children in public or private institutions or other care facilities, are educated with children who are nondisabled; and

(ii) Special classes, separate schooling, or other removal of children with disabilities from the regular educational environment occurs only if the nature or severity of the disability is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily.

(b) Additional requirement—State funding mechanism— (not included here)

While the principle and requirements of least restrictive environment (LRE) have remained constant in the law, the interpretation and application of LRE continues to evolve. Currently the field of special education embraces the philosophy of inclusion, a philosophy that closely aligns with the principle of LRE. The interpretation of both the principle of LRE and the philosophy of inclusion can vary among educators and team members. As a result, the implementation of inclusive practices varies widely.

Finally, while inclusion is often associated with educating students with disabilities, this philosophy may extend to all learners. Whether learners differ by disability, race, ethnicity, religion, gender, gender identity, and/or any other difference, all want and deserve to be included. Brown v. Board of Education is often referenced as a seminal case for establishing principles, such as least restrictive environment and inclusion.


  • Write a 3–5-page paper
  • Include all items and expectations noted in the learning outcomes stated at the beginning of this document.
  • Use class resources to support your understanding and to think critically about these concepts
  • Use of this additional resource is encouraged.

Format your Inclusion Paper according to APA Guidelines:

  1. Your paper should be typed and double-spaced with one-inch margins on all sides.
  2. The font should be 12-point Times New Roman.
  3. Include a page header (also known as the “running head”) at the top of every page. This includes the title of the paper and the page number. To create a page header/running head, insert paper flush right. Then type the title of your paper in the header flush left using all capital letters. Rather than titling your paper “Inclusion Paper,” try to think of a more creative title for your paper.
  4. The title page should contain the title of the paper, your name, and the institutional affiliation (Morningside University). It should also include the course number and name, instructor name, and assignment due date. Refer to the example on the Purdue Online Writing Lab webpage: https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/apa_style/apa_formatting_and_style_guide/general_format.html
    1. The title should be typed in upper and lowercase letters centered in the upper half of the page. The title should be centered and typed in boldface.
    1. All text on the title page, and throughout the paper, should be double-spaced.
    1. Beneath the title, type the author’s name (your name)—first name, middle initial(s), and last name.
    1. Beneath the author’s name, type the institutional affiliation (Morningside University).
    1. Beneath the institutional affiliation, type the course number and name (EDTE 502: Principles of Education).
    1. Beneath the course number and name, type your professor’s name
    1. Beneath your professor’s name, type the date that you are submitting your paper.
  5. The paper should be 3-5 pages in length. In addition, it must include a title page and a reference page.
  6. Guidelines for formatting your reference list can be found on the Purdue Owl website: https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/apa_style/apa_formatting_and_style_guide/reference_list_basic_rules.html.

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