Because of its long commitment to inclusive/integrated education, Italy leads the world in educating the largest percentage of its students with disabilities in general education classes. It also boasts the fewest special classes and schools. Inclusion in Italy is based on a principle that disability is not a problem, but rather a positive force in the classroom. Focused on developing the competencies of each student, inclusion/integration shares a belief in the capacity for growth of all learners and an assumption that non-disabled and disabled peers, even those with the most significant learning needs, learn in mutually reinforcing and reciprocal ways. Integrazione scolastica is not, therefore, simply a moral or ethical project but has led to increased achievement for learners with and without disabilities. Yet, despite progressive laws and policies and a 30-year history of inclusive education, there remains a need to be hypervigilant to pressures to revert back to the status quo of segregated education. The problem is not a lack of a US-centric approach, as advocated by Anastasiou, Kaufman, and Di Nuovo (2015), which is increasingly out of step with international policy and deeply mired in racial inequalities and a overall lack of efficacy, but rather to find ways to recommit to fully inclusive practices in an era of increased diversity, diminished economic resources and increasing pressures of neoliberal reforms.
- inclusive education
- Integrazione scholastica
- special needs education
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Professions (miscellaneous)
- Developmental and Educational Psychology