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NC Education Lawyer Blog

  • Writer's pictureNeubia Harris

The ABCs of Education Law: General Education Setting

You may have heard the term “general education setting” in discussions about your child’s or student's education plan; but what exactly does this term mean. In this blog post, we will explore what it means when a student with a disability is served in a general education setting and the benefits that can come from it.



Young girl laughing in class


A general education setting refers to the typical classroom that includes students of varying abilities and backgrounds. If a student with a disability is served in a general education setting, it means that they are receiving their education in a classroom with their peers who do not have disabilities. This is a result of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act ("IDEA") which requires that students with disabilities be educated in the least restrictive environment possible. Being in a general education setting can provide many benefits for both the student with a disability and their classmates.


One of the main benefits of being in a general education setting is the opportunity for socialization. When students with disabilities are isolated in separate classrooms or special education settings, they may miss out on the chance to interact socially with their peers. Being in a general education setting allows them to develop relationships and friendships with classmates, promoting social development and emotional wellbeing.


Another benefit of being in a general education setting is the opportunity for inclusive learning. Students with disabilities benefit from being a part of the typical classroom environment which can expose them to a wider range of learning experiences. Through inclusive learning, they can develop academic skills alongside their peers and participate in engaging classroom activities at their grade level.


Additionally, when students with disabilities are in a general education setting, they have access to the same curriculum and educational resources as their peers. They may require accommodations or modifications to support their individual learning needs, but they are still exposed to the same rigorous academic standards as their peers. This can increase their confidence, motivation and lead to improved academic skills.


It is important to note, however, that not every student with a disability may be best served in a general education setting. There may be situations where it is not the appropriate environment for a student’s unique learning needs. It is important that each student’s individualized education plan ("IEP") is carefully developed with input from parents, teachers, and educational professionals to determine the least restrictive environment for their learning success.


When a student with a disability is served in a general education environment, it provides them with a wide range of benefits such as socialization, inclusive learning, and access to the same curriculum and educational resources as their peers. However, it is essential that an individualized education plan is developed and supported by educators in collaboration with parents and students, to ensure that the needs of each student are fully met. Ultimately, by emphasizing inclusion and creating a supportive learning environment, students with disabilities and their peers can thrive both academically and socially.

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