Over-inclusion?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Peregrin5, May 29, 2017.

  1. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    I'm speechless! That goes against any behavioral research, psychological research or sociological research I've ever read. (And it's not just happening in your school. I've heard of it in other schools). It does sound like "pop" psychology like you might find in magazines somewhere, maybe, perhaps--no, I'm not sure even they would come up with such an unworkable system of behavior management.

    If I may pick apart each example, it's true that freedom of choice has worked in some school settings under controlled conditions, but giving a child permission to walk out of class whilly-nilly (and go where?) so as to miss the planned lesson and forcing the teacher to make up that lesson is the same as baking a cake and skipping some of the ingredients--why?--oh, just because you don't feel like it that day. It's true that wax crayons promote excellent brain activity and can produce a redirection or calming effect, but do crayons counsel a child or provide a standard penalty for misbehavior. Walking distance from my house a bank was robbed last year. Should the tellers have given the robber some pictures to color along with the money? And as I've mentioned above, excessive video games are the antithesis of logical socially-appropriate brain activity. And candy??? I realize that "sugar activated hyperactivity" is a myth, but sugar conditioning is not--kids are now experiencing Type 2 (adult onset) diabetes. Brain nutrition is not a myth, either. At least, if their going to feed the kid, give them a carrot. (Or perhaps a plate of broccoli, now that actually might curve some misbehavior).

    No, I'm sorry administrators, but this mimics the old humorous "child psychology" that was often portrayed in the 50's and 60's sitcoms. But in real life, socially, people behave according to accepted norms and people learn to realize the consequences of misbehaving. Basic example, if I go to the store and walk up to someone and shove them or slap them in the face, are they going to say, "Oh, Obadiah! Let me buy you a Hershey Bar!" But if I walk up to someone with a smile, they still probably won't offer a Hershey Bar, but we will connect positively, socially. Kids need to be taught to behave just like they are taught that 2+2=4.
     
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  2. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    A district that allows or worse encourages a bad placement by either pushing it on a psrent or not fighting through their legsl means to get the student to the proper placement is trampling the rights of all students.
     
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  3. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    The district can call an IEP meeting at any time to change the IEP and placement. If they choose not to it isn't any different than ignorwthe behaviors of the non disabled student.

    Districts do have a vehicle to address your concern. They just don't use it because it often means more services.
     
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  4. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I definitely think that these accommodations need to be made, and this might just sound like laziness or complaining on my part, but I literally do NOT have the time to go through individual assignments for each of my 20+ IEP students and black out portions of multiple choice answers, chunking different assignments, and completely modifying assignments for each individual student to meet each of the individual needs of these 20+ students. I think the case managers or special ed teachers should be the ones doing that since they really are the experts on each of these students and the strategies needed to support them, but I don't fault them either because they're are SOOOOO busy organizing all of these IEP meetings, writing IEP plans, testing students, and all of the other millions of paper-work and communication things that they need to do. Our SPED teachers are frazzled, and I don't blame them. What they really need to do, and this comes back to funding, is hire someone specifically for all of the paperwork portions of the job, and enough people to work directly with students, and get and alter curriculum for the individual needs of all of these students that they want to include. I can do this for a few students, and catch them up, but with the number I have now, it's just not feasible. Teachers need help, but the SPED teachers also need help so we can best support these students. There's just not enough man(or woman)-power to do all of the things being asked of us.
     
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  5. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Me too. If they aren't helping you, that's bull shit, and someone is not doing their job. IEPs are not every day. At most, I have 2 a month. Nobody needs to be absent from servicing children every day to get IEPs done. Same with testing. The biggest hurdle is standardized testing, and that is 3 times a year. Sounds like your team needs to communicate and get organized.

    As far as crossing out answers, they should do one copy and then copy it 20 times. That should take 5 minutes. Nobody else should be getting significantly modified ANYTHING unless they have "modified curriculum" in their IEP, which is generally reserved for more severely disabled students.
     
  6. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    I'll be devil's advocate here. I ended this year with 35 students on my caseload. I typically had at least 7-8 meetings per week between regular IEP meetings, ASCs, referrals, problem solving meetings for kids already on IEPs, and transfer meetings. I can't imagine doing 2 per month! I also had at least one full day per month of RtI meetings. We're also responsible for doing all of the formal academic testing and observations for evaluations, which takes up a significant amount of time- way more than standardized testing which is only a few weeks out of the year. Between initials and Tris I tested over 20 kids this year. We're not allowed to modify tests anyway, so that's not a really a factor for me, but if we were and I tried to take on modifying everything for the 12 gen ed teachers I work with, plus providing accommodations like reading tests aloud any time one of those 12 classes was taking a test, that's all I'd be doing. I'd never see kids.

    As far as inclusion, I think the first step is that it takes a significant amount of staff to be able to even think about doing it correctly. I always wonder why people say that inclusion is pushed to "save money." I'm in a pull out program and IMO we'd need to triple our SPED staff to even think about doing co-teaching instead. Beyond that there are so many hurdles with sharing a clasroom and being seen as an equal as the SPED teacher. SPED (and education in general) is funded significantly better in my home state, where I went to college. In the majority of my field experiences, there was one SPED teacher per grade level and that person only had 10-12 kids on their caseload (with a legal limit of 16). The kids were typically clustered into one or two gen ed rooms, so at most there were only two gen ed teachers to work with, and they'd both be in the same grade level so you had common planning time. Even then, I was in about 15 schools and never saw the SPED teacher doing anything but being an aide. I HATED the SPED portion of my student teaching; it was really hard to go from being the teacher to basically being the aide in the same room. I was bored out of my mind. I think that set up has a lot of potential because you would have time to do the skill based small groups I'm currently doing in my pull-out system AND helping the kids access gen ed curriculum through co-teaching. I just never saw it implemented successfully.

    As far as behavior, I think part of that is saving money on the district's part. I work in a low SES school with many, many kids who have severe behavior issues. We probably have 50 kids who would be considered "severe." First of all, that would take an astronomical amount of money to have small, self-contained programming for all 50 kids. Secondly, even if we miraculously had that money, the state would be ALL OVER us for trying to say that 50 kids needed self-contained. We'd never get away with it.
     
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  7. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    I'm going to somewhat disagree with you, depending on a few factors... Let me start by acknowledging that I've never worked above fifth grade, and I realize that you and Peregrin both work at the secondary level. So, my perspective may be completely unrealistic for secondary teachers. I don't know. Anyway, here it goes:

    First of all, being an elementary school teacher, I don't find it unreasonable that the general education teacher make those accommodations - the chunking, eliminating answers, etc. I say that with experience on both sides of gen ed and sped. It's really not too much to ask when, as you said, you're just making accommodations one time and then copying it as many times as needed. Gen ed teachers, at least at the elementary level but I would also think at the secondary level, should know their students and their content well enough to be able to make basic accommodations for students. A sped teacher shouldn't automatically be assumed to know the student and his/her needs better. I'd argue that minor to moderate behavior issues and data tracking could also be handled by the gen ed teacher without need for a sped teacher to be in the classroom.

    Second, I'm just going to say that all districts handle their sped paperwork differently, so what is considered reasonable time away from students to work on paperwork may vary from district to district. The district where I worked last year (which I believe is the district where you work, FourSquare) assigned one sped teacher the role of case manager, and it was that person's role to set up meetings, coordinate testing, communicate with parents, etc. for all students either already in sped or those being referred for sped in the school. That person also got paid a stipend to take on the extra work in addition to his/her regular sped teacher duties. All other sped teachers simply had to write their own students' IEPs and show up for the meeting - that's it.

    In the district where I worked prior to that, all sped teachers and SLPs acted as case managers in addition to their regular teaching duties. That means that it wasn't uncommon to have multiple meetings per week or month and loads of paperwork to go with it. Servicing students' needs most definitely came second to paperwork. Sped teachers didn't only have their own IEPs to write, but they also had to schedule their own meetings, find coverage for teachers who needed to be there, and send home meeting notices and notices of action for their own students, in addition to filing all of that paperwork in the official sped file. On top of their own students, they also had to coordinate and run meetings and file paperwork for students who were not yet officially in sped but who were being referred to sped. In addition to all of this, sped teachers also had to do some - not all - of the testing and observations of students who were being referred to sped and those who were up for their re-evaluation. The paperwork load in this district was significantly higher than the one where there was an official case manager, and yet there was no stipend or additional plan time given to anyone. It was just expected to get done on top of teaching duties. So, you can see how sped teachers could be actually doing their job as expected by admin and not finding time to do minor things, like blackout answer choices on a test - something that a gen ed teacher is capable of doing.

    My current district is a bit different than both of those two, although I've only seen it from the gen ed side, whereas I saw the other two from the sped side. In my current district, we have a school psychologist who handles anything having to do with a re-evaluation or a referral - testing, observations, setting up meetings, etc. Sped teachers, though, still have to write their own IEPs and handle any additional paperwork and meeting scheduling/coverage. Sort of meeting in the middle of the last two, it seems.

    I don't mean to argue here, just pointing out that I don't think it's fair to say that someone is not doing their job when we don't know what system the sped teachers operate on in regards to the case manager role at that particular school.
     
  8. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Fair enough. I've never been without a case manager, so I'm spoiled. I just really can't understand, if it's that big of a load, how a sped teacher is expected to benefit children. Children suffer in all of this. This is what really makes me furious. I don't really care who does the work as long as it gets done.
     
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  9. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    It is done to save money because they don't provide the support. So, if they are in a general education class with much less support or non if there is no para or special education teacher in the room, then they don't have to hire as many special education teachers for pull out, don't need as many extra class rooms to accommodate the pull outs, and they don't need to provide additional services.

    It does save money at the expense of everyone.
     
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  10. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    I agree. That's the main reason I had to get out of sped. I felt like I was doing my job and doing it well when it came to paperwork, but I never felt like I was adequately meeting the needs of my students. It was really hard to come to terms with that when I was working as many hours as I was, getting paid as little as I was, and all the while feeling like I was failing the kids - who were the reason I went into the field. Personally, I think all districts/schools should have a full-time case manager (not even a sped teacher who earns a stipend, but a full-time case manager whose only responsibility is case managing, not teaching). There is enough work to keep them busy, just not enough money to pay them. I'd wager that the burden of case management is probably the number one reason for sped teacher burnout. It's all too often an impossible job.
     
  11. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    It would seem so.
     
  12. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    We have one sped teacher for 18 classrooms. I don't even know how that's legal.
     
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  13. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    [QUOTE="agdamity, post: 2032424, member: 28700".

    Teacherintexas---47 accommodations? How do you keep that all straight?[/QUOTE]

    A cheat sheet for me and lots and lots of checklists and sticky notes!
     
  14. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    I guess if you mean "inclusion" as in not putting them on IEPs in the first place, but I would guess that only works up to a certain point. Around here, when people say "full inclusion" they mean services are provided inside the general education classroom instead of outside in a pull out group. There is a major push for "co-teaching" in my area. I can take kids from 3-4 different classrooms and meet their minutes all at the same time in a 30 minute pull out group. I can't be in 4 different places at once to meet those same 30 minutes if I'm trying to push in to all of their classrooms instead. Even if we clustered every kid with an IEP into one class per grade level (which I think would get us in trouble with the state also, since in many grade levels that would mean over 50% of the class would be SPED students), I'm still doing the same 30 minutes, so there is no saving time or money by hiring less people. I guess if it's a school that is much better staffed in the first place, you could replace some teachers with paras to do push-in services, but in my area most elementary schools only have one sped teacher in the first place. When I was first hired I had 50 kids and 7 grade levels. The one thing that I liked about that situation was there was absolutely no logistical way they could try to make me push-in instead of running my groups. We do have two teachers in my building now, but we're the only elementary school in the district that has more than one.

    If you look at the schools that were set up like my home state with one SPED teacher per grade level and still being "full inclusion," they could save a lot of money if they'd switch to pull out instead. There are only so many times you can pull kids out if you're only working with one grade level. If they switched to all pull-out, their SPED teachers would go from having a full schedule to maybe being able to fill up half the day with a couple different really small reading groups and math groups. They'd have to give them at least two grade levels to fill their schedule, therefore needing less teachers for the building as a whole. Yet every school I was in was proudly full inclusion- no pulling kids out for any reason. This is what makes me think it's not motivated by money. I also spent four years in college hearing about how "full inclusion" is the only way to go and how horrible and outdated pull-outs are. I think many people truly do think they are doing the right thing with full-inclusion set ups.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2017
  15. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Sounds like either way the kids still get the short end because IEPs are written based on your program and staffing rather than need.

    As for inclusion, I meant kids on IEPs. They are often pushed into classrooms with little to no support where I am. Even when there is support it is not designed for the children but based on how to make the classroom run. Usually here kids are clustered making the class filled with kids with really different needs in a gen ed classroom that often has to be modified to meet some ofvthe needs. Yes, I mean modified, but done in a manner in which can be said to be the teacher's preference in teaching.
     
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  16. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    To illustrate my thoughts, where I lived when I was growing up in the 60's, the woods were a major part of our play area. Favorite activities were visiting the frog pond to catch tadpoles, picking blackberries and raspberries, looking for interesting stuff to bring to school the next day, pretending to be like Fess Parker on Daniel Boone, and of course playing chase and hiding games. Every parent and even the schools taught us the appropriate cautions for being in the woods. We knew how to avoid contact with poisonous snakes, what to do if we were bit, to avoid male deer, what to do if we saw a bear, but most importantly what to do if we were lost in the woods. I don't recall ever venturing out that far, but deep into the woods surrounded by trees, everything looks the same. A lost child could wander around in circles never finding a way out. We were taught how to safely find food and water and most importantly, how to walk in a straight line out of the woods.

    Is that how an inappropriately placed child in an inclusive classroom feels? Do they feel surrounded by all the trees of information without a clear pathway through the maze?
     
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  17. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Nearly all of those 20 students are on "modified diplomas" and I've been told by our SPED teachers I need to modify curriculum for each of them according to their needs. This goes back to my issue with having these many students who require modifications included when they cannot handle 90% of the work in the classroom. We also only have about 3-4 SPED case managers/teachers (they are the same here) for our entire school which has thousands of students at it, and a high percentage of them having special needs.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2017
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  18. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Because you're in primary, the elementary teachers only have about 20-30 kids in a classroom all year. At the secondary level, the teachers has about 200 different students on average (I only see them on alternating days), while the case manager works with the same kids, a much smaller number of them, and usually on a daily basis. In my situation, the case manager definitely knows the students better than I do. And the accommodations are usually different for each individual student. I've been asked to design alternate assessments for students who couldn't read the tests, or write things. I've been told to design new and individual projects for each student based on their needs, or allow them to do zero work over the course of the year, and excuse them from the test, or have them just verbally tell me what they learned about 'insert-subject-here'.

    I can make accommodations like extra time on work, preferred seating (although when half the class has it in their IEP to sit at the front, it becomes a problem), and I can even swing 1 on 1 help during my lunch, preps, and after school if I have to (which I do daily, so I have essentially no prep or breathing time). But that on top of in-depth, individual modification of curriculum for each and every student at the request of the SPED teachers is too much for me in addition to all of the other duties we have heaped upon us. I know you said you only had experience in primary, but I'm just sharing the secondary perspective (and my perspective based on my particular site.).
     
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  19. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    This is all so strange. Nobody severe enough for a modified diploma should be in gen ed without a full time co-teacher doing this work. Do you have a union? Our union would be completely up in arms and I'd be filing grievances all over the place. Also, do your parents know about this? Our parents would sue for more support.
     
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  20. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    We do have a union, but I confess to not knowing enough about this district to know that this is something that isn't normal, and something that should be brought up. It's also the first time I've really experienced this problem before.
     
  21. Jerry Dill

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    Yes. I am at a private school, and I have a couple students who are mainstreamed who do not belong at their current levels.

    In the case of my school, it is not the idea of inclusivity as much as the ideal of profit making that leads the school to accept students who are far below their grade levels then to mainstream them with their same-age cohort. They are below the skills of their same-age students, but to not offend the parents and students, they are placed with students of the same age, instead of where they belong which is at a far younger ages.
     
  22. Froreal3

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    Can we say it again? This is 100% the truth. If parents advocated more for what their children actually need to be successful, we would have less of a problem with this. My class is probably 50% kid's with LD or other issues that seriously impede their learning, yet no one is receiving even half of what they need. I have tried to make modifications, but even these are too high. I am not a sped teacher and I am not a miracle worker who has unlimited time to make modifications to the modifications for lower level learners in the curriculum. It's even worse when we are held accountable to the scores and work products of these students who are not being given the services they need or any at all. I'm always like, "How about we provide the students with their services first before you worry about how my modification to the modification needs to push them to the next level." :rolleyes:
     
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  23. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    Yes, that is the problem, even for non-SPED students. High stakes testing results in teaching to statistics rather than teaching children. Principals and supervisors are perfectly capable of weeding out non-performing teachers: test results aren't able to sit and observe the teachers. The focus needs to be on the child, not competition with national and international statistics. Then, as we begin focusing on what's best for each child, placement will be according to their needs. The money, currently spent on worrying about test scores, could be used to hire more staff and resources.
     
  24. TeachCafe

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    In my classes, I have students so low they're not sped so the sped ones fit right in. I'm already teaching far below grade level to "reach" so it's not a stretch. These are the "so low, yet we cannot find anyting learning wrong with them" no ADD, ADHD, SLD, ELL, just low.
     
  25. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I've never taught a class where there wasn't at least a 4 year ability range; this year there's probably a much greater range than that. I'm very comfortable with modifying and accommodating for my Special Ed students who need academic support. The behavioural and social/emotional needs are far more challenging to accommodate in a large class.
     
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  26. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    Jun 12, 2017

    An excellent book that includes much discussion related to these posts is Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution that's Transforming Education by Ken Robinson and Lou Aronica. Viking, 2015.
     

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