Inclusive education’s promises and trajectories: Critical notes about future research on a venerable idea


  • Alfredo J. Artiles Arizona State University
  • Elizabeth B. Kozleski University of Kansas



Inclusive education, educational equity, disability, difference


The purpose of this article is to offer critical notes on inclusive education research in the U.S. We discuss issues germane to conceptual clarity and the ways in which inclusive education interacts with reforms that share equity goals, noting disruptions and unintended consequences that arise at the nexus of these reforms. In addition, we identify enduring challenges and paradoxes in this research literature. These include sampling issues, an emphasis on where students are placed as a proxy for inclusive education vis-à-vis inclusive education as the transformation of educational systems, the ways in which outcome measures have been examined in this research, and the need for and challenges of building strategic alliances that could advance an inclusive education agenda. We conclude with reflections and suggestions for a future research program that include sharpening inclusion’s identity, attending to the fluid nature of ability differences and students’ multiple identities, broadening the unit of analysis to systems of activities, and documenting processes and outcomes.


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Author Biographies

Alfredo J. Artiles, Arizona State University

Alfredo J. Artiles is the Ryan C. Harris Professor of Special Education and Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at Arizona State University’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. His scholarship examines educational inequities related to the intersections of disability with sociocultural differences. He co-directs the Equity Alliance and was Vice President of the American Educational Research Association (AERA). Dr. Artiles edits the Teachers College Press book series Disability, Culture, & Equity. He received the 2012 Palmer O. Johnson Award for best article published in an AERA journal. Dr. Artiles serves on President Obama’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics. 

Elizabeth B. Kozleski, University of Kansas

Professor Elizabeth B. Kozleski, Chair of Special Education at the University of Kansas, conducts research on equity and justice issues in inclusive education and professional learning. Recent awards include the UNESCO Chair in Inclusive International Research, the TED-Merrill award for leadership in special education teacher education, and the Scholar of the Century award from the University of Northern Colorado.  Recent books include Ability, Equity, and Culture and Inclusive Education: Examining Equity on Five Continents.




How to Cite

Artiles, A. J., & Kozleski, E. B. (2016). Inclusive education’s promises and trajectories: Critical notes about future research on a venerable idea. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 24, 43.