chapter  9
Worth, Burden, and Control: The Rejection of Personhood and the Most Dangerous Assumption: Julia M. White
Pages 28

In 1986, 11 years after the passage of the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (PL 94-142), Madeline Will, Assistant Secretary for the Offi ce of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS), in a report to the Department of Education, envisioned a system of education that blends “the intrinsic strengths” of both special and general education (p. 12). Will’s report, recognized as the framework of the Regular Education Initiative (REI), made recommendations for educational reform that do not do away with special education; instead, Will affi rms that schools should “deliver the resources and provide the personalized [individualized] instruction each child must have to achieve to his or her greatest potential” (p. 23). Instead of using special education as a “panacea” to which frustrated general education teachers refer needy students, Will advocated for a collaborative, unifi ed system of shared responsibility and accountability that would “bring the program to the child rather than one that brings the child to the program” (p. 23). The major reason Will cited as the impetus for REI is outcome measurementspostschool graduation and employment rates for individuals involved in special education programs. While Will’s report was directed at the education of students with high-incidence disabilities, she does leave open the possibility, “as we improve our knowledge,” of REI’s applying to “those with more severe disabilities” (p. 1). Advocates of students with signifi cant disabilities took up that challenge and continued their work and research. This report, and the advocacy work around the inclusion of students with signifi cant disabilities, sparked a fi restorm of controversy around “the radicalization of special education reform” (Fuchs & Fuchs, 1994) and “inclusion versus full inclusion” (Fuchs & Fuchs, 1998 ) that rages still.