A Teacher’s Response to “Spotlight on Inclusion”

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.

Cindy Prescott
4th Grade Teacher, Kent

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5 Responses to “A Teacher’s Response to “Spotlight on Inclusion””

  1. Student Says:

    I’ve seen the exact same problem myself, in several of my classes. one of my teachers has a class including some special ed students, which is wonderful – but there are as many special ed students in that class are there are in the special ed-only classes – plus the regular students on top of that. It’s downright shameful. Oh, and did I mention that this teacher has not revieved needed para support despite countless requests? Forget shameful. This is a disgrace.

  2. KSD teacher Says:

    At our high school, 9 self contained Special Education students were placed into an art class with 21 other students and no IA support. This is NOT inclusion. It can be done right, with time, money and resources, but that is not how the KSD operates.

  3. Troubled Says:

    I am troubled that KSD has such BIG IDEAS, with no backup. Are they in it just to look good to the very naive public? Education cannot happen if there is no support for the classroom teacher. Pretty logical if you have the sense to see it. Dr. Vargas? Mr. Miner? Ms. Reiger? Kim Halley?

  4. Weary Says:

    Would someone please tell me how inclusion benefits the non special ed students? Even with para support, what are the academic benefits for the rest of the students?

  5. Student Says:

    Weary, I believe I can answer your question.

    Well, if the smarter students help out the slower students, as the inclusion theory assumes is the case, by teaching the material to others they learn it better themselves. Realistically, however, there is little benefit because there is not usually a lot of interaction between the special ed students and the academic leaders of the class. The social dynamic tends to result in the smart students being biased towards talking to each other as opposed to an equal distribution of interaction between all students as the inclusion theory assumes.

    Conversely, it does also remind the smart students that their intelligence is a gift that not everyone possesses, and should accordingly be used to its fullest potential and not wasted. That intelligence is a thing that should be used for the good of others as well as the self, and that it should never be ignored for a whim’s sake. Inclusion gives those high-achievers a reminder of who they are and the magnitude of their potential to succeed on the world. This reminder helps keep those students on-track and focused on their studies.

    Would those students rather not have inclusion, though? To be blunt, yes. Smaller classes, more managable classes, always are more interesting to those students within them, regardless of the subject of the class. “Small class sizes are good for kids.” In my experience , inclusion often adds disciplinary or disruptive problems to a class, and adds a usually fairly uncontributive student to the group. Now, this is my opinion, not fact as such. This is my perspective, but others may disagree with me. My advice would be to ask your students (not during class, but in casual conversation) what they think of inclusion. Most will be fairly honest with you, if you ask.

    I hope this helps.
    Student

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