I would like to alert parents across the nation to an issue occurring all around the country that needs grassroots help. The issue is "inclusion." This is where a district decides to move most of their special ed. students into the regular classrooms and have the special ed. teacher simply "visit" them during the week to "assist" the untrained teacher who may not even like working with these type students as this is not the field they chose when going to university and getting certification. This makes the strong special ed. political activist happy as well as saves the district money by reducing the need for higher paid special ed. teachers. There are special ed. parents who are against this as they understand their child is no longer receiving the extra help they need. I am a Special Ed. certified teacher and love to work with these children. They deserve to be in classes with teachers who want to work with them. As a parent, however, I strongly feel these children do not belong in my children's classroom sucking up tons of valuable time from my child's teacher and ruining their class often by being extremely ill behaved and disruptive on a daily basis. If you are a special ed parent I feel for you. But your child's "rights" should not ruin the education of a full classroom of regular ed. students. Here is the kicker: If your child's classroom is being ruined under inclusion or even a disruptive reg. ed student, your child's teacher is bound by law restricted from alerting parents what is really happening in class everyday. All parents must consider this. Ask your child about other student's behavior during the day in class. Ask "Did anyone get in trouble today? What happened?" If you find anything questionable go to the school and ask to observe YOUR child in class, have lunch with them or volunteer to monitor the school yard or help your teacher. Talk to other parents and have them ask their children what they think of so and so in their class and if the teacher has trouble with any students every day. Ask your teacher directly if there is a problem student in their class they could use a parent to help make a big stink about to the administration. Tell them you are will to make the stink and use your own observations-protecting the teacher from legal trouble. They may ignore you from fear of getting into legal trouble. However, when that teacher's class and work enviroment becomes miserable they may take a risk and contact you later and ask for your desperately needed help. Tell your childrens teachers directly that if they need help YOU are the parent they can trust to come "observe" the situation and see things with your own eyes. Tell them just to send you a note that they could really use you to volunteer in their class. All observations must be from a "concerned parent" and tax paying patron of the school district to protect your teacher. Write a letter to the principal about the offending student/students and your observations about their behavior and how much time your child's teacher is taking on that student. State that if your child is hurt by this child or gets low scores on end of the year tests due to his teacher being preoccupied with this problem in the class you are prepared to seek legal consultation. Ask to be moved to another classroom. Ask other parents to do the same. At the bottom of the letter CC it to your principals boss, the Superintendant, "interested parents in Mrs. ----'s class, and the chair of the school board. Send it certified mail. Hand out copies off school property to other parents. This is NOT being mean. This is giving your teacher and principal written documentation to prove a child is a major problem so they may do something about it without being sued by that child's parents. Everyone must understand that this is happening across America and schools desperately need grassroots help to combat this growing issue.
Your post is not quite accurate. Inclusion is not an attempt by the districts to save money. It is an increasing attempt to desegregate students with disabilities from "regular" kids and provide them with the same environments, opportunities, friendships, and peer groups as every child deserves. Inclusion does not work in all cases and is not always an option. But it is the right of a student to be able to be educated in the least restrictive and segregated environment possible.
Teachers of any specialty have to accept students regardless of differences. Even as a general education teacher YOU WILL also be the teacher of students with disabilities. Most of the time the special ed teacher is not that student's main teacher. So when you go into education you cannot decide who you don't want to work with. That is just as absurd as a teacher saying she will not work with black or latino students. Special education teachers "visit" classrooms and help assist the gen ed teacher, differentiate instruction for the special ed students, provide services and remediation,co-teach the class etc. in the child's classroom environment. These teachers are no less trained or less paid for providing services in this way. Even with "pull out" services, special ed students typically spend the majority of their day in the regular classroom.
The fact is that the classroom is changing and needs to accommodate kids with disabilities. Certainly there are points when the child may become too much of a distraction and this needs to be addressed and remedied for all students. But to declare a need for a grassroots efforts to eliminate inclusion, call parents to "spy" on their child's classmates and report on students with disabilities and lobby the school to get these kids removed is nonsense! Be aware that when you decide you have the right to start picking and choosing who should be educated alongside your student it may not be long before someone finds fault with your kid!69248
To PsychJD: What you are describing is the academic fantasy of what "inclusion" is. What I described is the very realistic reality of how it is actually being used and misused around the country. Of coarse there is room for behaved students who are below grade average or have some physcal disability . But enough is enough. When you have reg. ed teachers running up and down the hallways during their much deserved break period in order to help a student "get out their energy" enough to be able to teach the other students in the afternoon without total disruption this is grossly outside the realm of the expected duties of a reg. ed teacher. It totally wastes her/his time on things they could be doing to prepare for the afternoon. It sounds like you know a little bit about this so I am sure you are well aware how very difficult it is for a school principal to deal with a grossly ill behaved student if "behavior" difficulties are listed as a "disability" on their IEP. There is virtually nothing you can do about it without risking a lawsuit by parents who believe their child is just wonderful and has "the right" to be completely disruptive to 30 children and their teacher. A few years ago a 5th grade teacher friend of mine from another district who is well respected by parents in her school and other faculty, was calling my house crying on a weekly basis due to one of these type children ruining her class on a daily basis and making every day miserable. Her weak principal said there was "nothing he could do." She will tell you today how she agonized over how was she going to meet the NCLB standards on her class tests that year. And don't believe for a second that all of the other kids in class don't know who can't read or who is a social screwup or that reg. students are not talking and saying things behind these students back just because they are "included" all day in their classroom. And for sure the reg. ed teachers are talking and making deals about which teacher has to take which terrible student and their parents the following year. You can fantasize all you want about schools of peace and love and equality. Yes, special ed students have a right to education. But regular students have a right to a quality education with a fully engaged teacher in an appropriate learning enviroment and in classes not "dumbed down" to the lowest standard to meet the needs of the 3 special kids in the class. Stand up parents and start fighting back! Don't leave and go to private school! Save your own comunity school today!!!!!69252
PS: The idea that teachers do not choose specific fields and must teach every student in laughable. Most high school teachers would never dream of teaching grade school and vice versus. Few elementary principals would have the first grade teacher suddenly switch to the fifth grade without dire circumstances in place like several other teachers quitting the same year. I doubt many districts would agree to the high school shop teacher going over to take over for the pregnant kindergarten teacher or having the kindergarten teacher go cover trigonometry over at the high school for a few months. Special education teachers, and I'm one of them, choose to work with special needs. We have taken years of specialized coursework and annual training and believing a regular ed. teacher is equipped to deal with many of these students marked for inclusion effectively is a joke. 69278
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