I would like to respond to the column by Kim Halley (“Spotlight on Inclusion” May 7). I, too, attended this event on April 22. In fact, as a general education teacher, I was involved in a focus group for this project. I was surprised that our group and our comments did not make it into the inspiring videotape shown during this event.
The general education teachers in my focus group all agreed that we feel inclusion to the fullest extent possible in the general education classroom is beneficial for children, both special education and general education kids. However, our concerns were about the support that is needed in our classrooms for inclusion to be most beneficial to all. In some instances, all asssignments and tests have to be modified for students who are working significantly below the standard for that grade level. In other cases, students with behavior problems do not have another adult assigned to the classroom that can help defuse situations that occur without completely stopping learning for the rest of the class.
Extra personnel, resources, extra time and planning must be part of a well designed inclusion program that works for the benefit of all. Additionally, each building should in charge of designing how inclusion works for their particular students, as they know their students’ needs and building resources best.
In the Kent School District, in some general education classes with included children, this is not currently happening. And next year, with the cuts the district is now proposing, it is hard to understand how our children will get the best education possible.
I urge the Kent School District to rethink its priorities and put the needs of all children first.
4th Grade Teacher, Kent