ERIC Number: EJ857201
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Aug
Reference Count: 10
The Daily Me: A Response to "Tocqueville on Democracy and Inclusive Education--A More Ardent and Enduring Love of Equality than of Liberty"
European Journal of Special Needs Education, v24 n3 p253-256 Aug 2009
This article presents the author's response to "Tocqueville on Democracy and Inclusive Education: A More Ardent and Enduring Love of Equality than of Liberty" written by Steven Connolley and Rune Sarromaa Hausstatter. Connolley and Hausstatter frame their critique of inclusive education and its relationship to democracy, liberty and equality using Alexis De Tocqueville's "Democracy in America." In summary, they assert that inclusive education is an expression of democratising sentiment in the West "which rejects on the grounds of "equal treatment" the practice of separating pupils with learning difficulties from normal classroom settings." The author concurs with Connolley and Hausstatter's assertion that inclusive education is an expression of democratic principles. However, given the depth and breadth of Tocqueville's writing, the author suggests that the narrow themes employed by Connolley and Hausstatter are necessary, but not sufficient, to inform one's understanding of the evolution of democracy, liberty, and equality on the emergence of inclusive education policy, practice and research. Tocqueville's exploration of democracy, and equality were fertile grounds leading to equal protection under the law; the genesis of inclusive education. The author is puzzled by Connolley and Hausstatter's choice to focus on "Why democratic nations show a more ardent love of equality than of liberty." The author concedes that inclusive education is poorly defined by many and that the lack of common terminology and shared understanding among affected stakeholders is exceedingly problematic. While the genesis of inclusive education is inextricably linked to the 14th Amendment; inclusive education, like other complex social phenomena, can be slippery and its meaning is dependent upon the multiple policy, research and practice perspectives of those involved with the experience. Connolley and Hausstatter skilfully avoid the responsibility to cite relevant evidence-based policy, research and practice literature by confining their focus to "the theoretical content rather than on the methodological issues" in order "to examine the motives behind this movement and the notion of democratisation, however hazy, that lies at its heart."
Descriptors: Inclusive Schools, Democracy, Disabilities, Equal Education, Democratic Values, Social Values, Mainstreaming, Special Needs Students, Civil Rights, Educational Policy, Educational History, Educational Legislation
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A