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Different Spaces, Different Places: An Analysis of the Inclusive Reform for Students With Disabilities in the United States and Germany

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Inclusive schooling for students with disabilities has been evolving for more than 25 years in the United States. Continental Europe was more tardy in embracing inclusive ideals. In the specific case of Germany, progress is gradual: a segregated system persists and the inclusive agenda faces severe challenges. This paper interrogates and compares the status, progress, limitations, and challenges to inclusive schooling in Germany and the United States. We conclude that the inclusive agendas in each nation are developing with different intensities and different goals. The American enterprise is undergoing rapid ideological and pragmatic changes; Germany seems unready to shift course. These different paths are influenced by the cultural and educational systems, but also by challenges inherent in the precepts of the inclusive movement itself.

Keywords: Germany; Individual Education Plan; United States; inclusive schooling; special educational needs; students with disabilities

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2010

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  • World Studies in Education is a bi-annual, refereed, international journal offering a global overview of significant international and comparative education research. Its focus is on educational reforms and policy affecting institutions in the global economy.

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