Is this legal?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Ms.Holyoke, Mar 24, 2019.

  1. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    Mar 24, 2019

    My middle school has inclusion classes. These classes have about 26 students in them. In the math and english classes, there are two teachers in the class--one gen. ed teacher and one sped teacher. However, for all of the other classes, there is no co-teacher or para--it is just the gen. ed teacher (who is not sped certified). For example, my friend teaches science and she has all 26 students alone and is still expected to implement accommodations! She says the class is chaos because of the number of kids who need help and the behavior. The other science teacher was joking and said that she can't implement small group testing, so she just sends the kids to the back lab tables.

    Is this legal/normal? It seems like it would violate a child's IEP?
     
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  3. GemStone

    GemStone Habitué

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    It is legal. The students' IEPs specify the number of hours they receive from special education staff, and the specific reading, writing, and/or math goals that they are to meet. Special ed personnel work to help students meet their specific IEP goals, and they provide the hours on the IEPs. In other classes, accommodations are expected to be provided by any educator in the room. Is this best practice? No.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2019
  4. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Agreed. This is completely legal and completely asking for trouble. How many students with IEPs are typically in these classes?
     
  5. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    Half of the kids have IEPs! It is crazy!

    I had one student who has been in my mat class but came from another district in October. She apparently had an IEP but her paperwork got lost for 6-7 months. She was moved to the inclusion math and english classes within a day when her mom called and said she had an IEP...but she her other classes remained the same.
     
  6. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Whether it is legal or not depends on what the IEP says. Accommodations do not have to be made by a special education teacher. Accommodations typically align with the 504 part of the IEP. I don't know one accommodation that can't be part of a 504.

    The special education piece comes in with the goals and services. Those goals and services define what will be provided, how long, and by whom.

    What does the IEP mean when services are provided to the student for the goals? Since these services are supposed to be specially designed instruction in order to make progress on these goals, what does that look like? For the most part, nothing when it comes to kids in gen ed classes with special education support. They rarely get anything different than the gen ed students in terms of instruction. They do get accommodations, but they don't have to be provided by special education teachers.

    Are students in science or history going to be getting specialized instruction toward the writing or reading goals? Theoretically, if not, there is no need for a special education teacher.

    So, depending on how the IEP is written, it can be completely legitimate to not have special education teachers in science and history. However, it is ill advised because usually the students never get the real help they need so the kids have the "support" to prop them up rather than provide specially designed instruction to teach them the skills they need.
     
  7. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Unfortunately we don’t have resources to keep kids with SED teachers all day. As long as the IEP requirements are being met, it’s fine. Often I have a co-teacher half the time anyway, and the kids have goals for reading and writing.
     
  8. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    When there are significant standardized tests for history and science, there will be significant discussions about having a SPED co-teacher in those classes. Right now, the push is all about ELA and Math in the standardized testing world. As long as they remain how we rate whether or not a teacher is effective, then that is where your SPED resources will be focused. Even in states with a cursory exam in, say, science, everyone primarily talks about the ELA and Math scores. In theory, if you teach them to read and do the math, the skills should learned well enough to improve performance in all classes that require reading with purpose and the use of numbers/math to understand concepts. Many schools consider the chaos in rooms without co-teachers to simply reflect on classroom management skills.

    Understand that these comments are simply my observations, but the observations of many years. As standardized tests for other subjects become more common, there MAY be a shift in how teachers are allocated. You must remember, however, that there is already a problem with getting enough SPED teachers in many districts, and that includes the districts that pay well. The amount of paperwork that comes with the job is so much more than non-SPED teachers can imagine. Many teachers start in SPED just to get a job, then want a gen ed job in a short period of time. If in doubt, just scan the older threads - it has been a subject of great debate in the last few years. I don't have the answers, but I have noted the problems.

    I am a science teacher, and I never had a SPED co-teacher, although the occasional science classroom would have one. My observation was that those classrooms with SPED co-teachers contained students who, in reality, should have been in a self contained classroom, but whose parents were having none of that. The co-teacher was the district's attempt to keep certain parents happy, and so they would funnel the worst of the SPED students into that class with the co-teacher. Granted, I witnessed this in MS and HS. I teach SPED in Science, but we are all SPED teachers in our school, so that makes my experience much different from the public schools. Some states are becoming more interested in creating standardized testing that is meaningful in Science, because of the emphasis on STEM, but the reality is that those tests are not what colleges and universities are looking at when they are determining students for admission. Until scores in science and history are more than a footnote, SPED dollars won't be spent there. This is, of course, simply MHO.
     
  9. zmp2018

    zmp2018 Rookie

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    Your story sounds similar to my student-teaching experience.

    My school used to have more SPED teachers, but many of them were furloughed to keep costs low. Sad to say, but that was the reality.

    We had one SPED teacher on our team of five teachers. I taught ELA, and ELA was blocked (~85 minutes everyday). We taught three blocks of that. Our classes had about 27 students in each class; there were at least five with IEPs in every block. The SPED teacher was assigned to our class for only a couple periods a day, and she was also expected to float to the other teachers on our team. She ended up spending about 10 minutes (out of 85) in our class each day. It was rough, especially with the more “difficult” students.

    Unfortunately, it is legal, and it is giving everyone involved (IEP kids, regular ed students, teachers) a huge disservice.
     
  10. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    I teach ELA and 39% of one period has IEPs. I have an aide that comes to do documentation for about 45 minutes per week. One child reads below PP, three are on PP, and one reads on P level. The others are close to grade level. If it weren’t for an app in iPads, I’d have a really hard time doing oral admin for that many kids.
     
  11. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    If the IEPs stated 10 minutes of service for that class it was legal. Otherwise, it may not have been.
     

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