Mainstreaming is the inclusion of hearing-impaired students--or people with any type of disability, for that matter--into schools with people without disabilities. Note that many of these arguments apply not only to the controversy of hearing-impaired students, but to other areas as well.
Proponents of Mainstreaming believe that mixing "normal" people with hearing-impared students is essential to the childs' development. Hearing-impared students need to be with people who can hear so that they get used to such an environment.
Most hearing-impaired students are not completely deaf; excluding them from a normal school because of a minor hearing problem would not warrant putting these students in a specialized school. Other disabilities, such as Down's Syndrome, would severely hamper a child's learning ability, but most hearing-impaired students are capable enough to handle being taught by a mainstream teacher in a normal environment.
Mainstreaming is also on the rise. Back in the 1960's, mainstreaming was a concept unthinkable. No one imagined the very idea of mainstreaming. However, the push for mainstreaming increased over the years and at present, almost half of all disabled students now take some courses with non-disabled students. Innovations have been made, and one such example is the interpreting service. Gallaudet University prov ides a program called Gallaudet Interpretive Services. This organization translates between English and American Sign Language/Signed English for hearing-impaired people in the classroom (or in the Washington area).