Beyond Equality in the American Classroom: The Case for Inclusive Education

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9780739177495: Beyond Equality in the American Classroom: The Case for Inclusive Education

Beyond Equality in the American Classroom: The Case for Inclusive Education addresses the basis of inclusive education for students with exceptionalities from the perspective of social justice and scholarship-activism. Drawing on historical, legislative, and philosophical references, this book builds the case for including individuals with exceptionalities in general education classrooms as a matter of social justice and civil rights. Providing a comprehensive foundation for exploring the concept of inclusive education scholastically, Shyman provides a well-organized and clearly-structured treatise for both the philosophy of inclusive education as well as a means of putting inclusive education into practice in American schools. With pointed critiques of the current trend of standardization and traditionalization in the current educational climate, a new philosophy for addressing inclusive education is put forth. The book is both readable and scholastically legitimate, and can be adapted for personal academic use or as a teaching tool for undergraduate or graduate classes in the areas of education, philosophy and sociology.

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About the Author:

Eric Shyman currently serves as assistant professor on the faculty of the Special Education Department at Dowling College in Oakdale, NY.

Review:

This wonderful book provides a compelling narrative of the historical and philosophical roots of inclusive education and contextualizes that history in a framework of social justice and critical pedagogy. Part 1 provides a historical perspective on exceptionality, including a nice chapter describing conceptions of exceptionality during biblical times and additional chapters focusing on legal developments and the genesis of exceptionality as a legitimate academic discipline. Part 2 begins with an overview of Western philosophical thought and its various connections to the study of exceptionality. Two important chapters focus on the study of exceptionality within a framework of social justice and the author's recommendations for utilizing that framework to advance the discipline and improve practice. Curiously, Shyman (Dowling College) makes only brief mention of how critical theory has been and continues to be employed in the theoretical study of exceptionality as well as applied innovations to improve practice. Readers would benefit from some foundational knowledge of critical theory concepts such as hegemony and the hidden curriculum. Overall, this is a wonderful book of great value to scholars of exceptionality as well as advanced practitioners. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduate, graduate, research, and professional collections. (CHOICE)

Eric Shyman’s Beyond Equality in the American Classroom: The Case for Inclusive Education offers an impassioned articulation and defense of the imperative of inclusion, as well as the implications of inclusion in the realms of both educational and disability policy and practice. . . .The work is successful and will be of interest to a variety of academic audiences. (Educational Theory)

Eric Shyman argues the case for an inclusive classroom in which education is truly individualized for all students as needed, rather than treating students with disabilities as a special interest group. At a time, when textbooks are removing chapters on the historical background of special education, and the professional standards developed by the Council of Exceptional children have been rewritten to exclude the importance of historical and foundational knowledge in special education, a book like this one is vital... It is critical that professors incorporate a book like this into their reading lists. (Elizabeth Finnegan, St. Thomas Aquinas College)

Dr. Shyman’s in depth knowledge is evident in this well documented journey through special education practices, policy and law and he provides a riveting example of social justice at this relevant time. (Alyson Martin, Columbia University)

In Beyond Equality in the American Classroom: The Case for Inclusive Education, Eric Shyman examines inclusive education reform in the United States from multiple perspectives, including legal, philosophical, historical, and practical. Perhaps no other book on the topic brings such a diverse and powerful armament of intellectual resources to the challenge of interrogating inclusion. The result is a full-force challenge to the continued operation of segregated educational provision and a thoughtful exploration of the promise and limits of inclusive education as democratic practice. (Scot Danforth, San Diego State University)

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