I remember when my son got placed in a resource-room algebra class, kind of on a fluke, and his speech therapist shook her head and said, "Where's the functionality?" I was invited to agree that for a kid like my kid, something like algebra could have no possible usefulness. But, for goodness sake, where's the functionality of algebra for anybody? Unless you go on to major in math, probably you could function just fine without quadratic equations. Still, we seem agreed as a culture that things like algebra have some value for training the brain and bestowing on a student a general understanding of the world of learning, and why not open that world to everybody? It does give good practice in approaching things in a procedural way, breaking them down into steps, maintaining focus, and checking work. Those are life skills, too.
It's going to represent a sea change for special education, I think, to roll from the life-skills/social-skills approach to a more academic one. It's a change that will be forced by inclusion, as the sort of alternate universe represented by self-contained classes fades away. I know some parents will miss that, have liked the school taking responsibility for teaching the skills their kid is really going to need to survive. Personally, I'd rather my guy learn things in school I can't teach -- algebra being, oh my goodness, one of those things. I'll take care of the bed-making and the bus-riding on this end, thanks.