The needs of the many being outweighed?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by 2ndTimeAround, Sep 26, 2012.

  1. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Sep 26, 2012

    So, I know we've alluded to this before, but I'm seeing this issue more and more now. I went from having one student with an IEP per semester to having 25% of my kids with either an IEP or a 504. And it is getting downright silly.

    I have had situations where 'average' kids are put at a disadvantage because of IEPs. One child who could not afford new glasses had to sit farther back because she didn't have an IEP that guaranteed her a spot up front. Things like that.

    Heard a new one this week. A student must have all the lights off in the classroom so there is no glare on the smartboard. Actually written into a 504.

    If that were my student I would have to either have the child transferred out of my class or get fired. A dark room would give me a migrane. I surely couldn't be the only one in that situation.

    What about a child whose allergies trigger asthma attacks who is placed in a room with another who has a service dog? Who 'wins' that one? Sometimes there isn't another section of that course available. What if the only teacher that teaches that class has asthma attacks which are triggered by her allergic reaction to dogs?

    With the huge increase in IEPs I imagine it won't be too long before those scenarios actually happen. Which will only prompt MORE parents in getting accomodations for THEIR child so their kid who has been trying to go without doesn't get sent to the back of the room.

    What will we do then?
     
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  3. BumbleB

    BumbleB Habitué

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    Sep 26, 2012

    You bring up very valid points. My school is trying inclusion for the first time, and my math class is 50% kids on IEPs. To me, that is NOT inclusion and, like you said, it can actually bring down the pace and rigor of the class. You're supposed to teach and review a concept until 80% "get it", well if 50% of your class is still struggling with their multiplication facts....that's going to skew what your 80% is and leave the kids who are on track feeling bored and frustrated.

    I don't know if there are any good answers to this problem. I'm interested to see what others have to add....
     
  4. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    Sep 26, 2012

    Precisely why as a teacher and a parent, I will never embrace full inclusion. IMO, it is unfair to both the on grade level children and the ones with special needs.
     
  5. BumbleB

    BumbleB Habitué

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    Yeah, we are obviously "doing it wrong", but we are a district that doesn't have the resources to hire more teachers. In fact, we're putting a levy on an upcoming ballot and I'm almost 100% sure it's going to fail. It really sucks...inclusion could be so much better if the proportions were smaller.
     
  6. ChemTeachBHS

    ChemTeachBHS Comrade

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    Sep 26, 2012

    I've taught inclusion for the last 5 years. This year I have about an 80/20 split with the majority being special ed. It's out of control. I only have 24 seats in my room. I have 19 kids that need front row seating. It's impossible. Meeting all of the mods has become so difficult that the entire class has become modified ie- everyone gets extended time, word banks, etc because I can't single out the few regular ed kids. That would be discrimination. The idea od it is good but it's a losing battle.
     
  7. Elocin

    Elocin Comrade

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    Sep 26, 2012

    I work in an inclusion school also. Would you mind sharing how your sp. ed. teachers work w/ you? Are they in the classroom all day? Certain times of day? What is the sped teacher to student ratio?
     
  8. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Sep 26, 2012

    I'll PM you. :)

    But I'll say here that I understand your concerns.
     
  9. Mellz Bellz

    Mellz Bellz Comrade

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    Sep 26, 2012

    As an inclusion teacher I understand your concerns. I think we really need to be more selective with students who are receiving IEP's and 504's in the first place. Whatever disability they have it MUST be affecting their education. A child who has ADHD should not automatically get classroom mods if they are on medication and responding well.

    Some of those mods are ridiculous. I try to keep mine pretty generic and easy to implement for the most part. Also instead of saying "Johnny must be seated in the front of the classroom" I leave it at preferential seating meaning the student is just sat somewhere in the room where a teacher can monitor them more closely if needed. (Not necessarily the front).

    I think that inclusion can be great for some students, but there are definitely some that need more intensive instruction. The most frustrating thing for me is getting students who are 3-5 years behind grade level and have no idea what is going on in class yet they can't qualify for self-contained because their IQ's need to be 60 or lower. It's doing them no good to be in an inclusion classroom where they are honestly just being passed through. It's very frustrating to see kids fall through the cracks like that.
     
  10. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Sep 26, 2012

    I have a para who comes to my room twice - once for ELA and once for math, for 30 minutes each time to "service" two inclusion students. He has no knowledge of what I will be teaching them, and comes with no preparation. I provide materials for him to use, but honestly, the two kids don't need him! One has cerebral palsy, but is mentally fantastic - one of the best readers in 1st grade. The other is repeating 1st, but so far is doing fine. The kids who really need extra help don't get it from anyone but me, because "by law," he has to work with the inclusion students only. Ugh.
     
  11. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Sep 26, 2012

    It's simply out of control.
     
  12. Elocin

    Elocin Comrade

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    Sep 26, 2012

    There are at least 2 kids in my class who shouldn't be in an inclusive classroom. I get frustrated bc the parents always gush about how they love our school's completely LRE (we are completely inclusive, no pull out or self-contain or even life skills) and for some of our kids I think it is a huge disservice and is more just a way for the parents not to feel that their kid is "other". I worry when these kids hit HS.
     
  13. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I hate that some people don't seem to understand what LRE means! The LRE for many students is not the regular classroom!
     
  14. Elocin

    Elocin Comrade

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    Sep 26, 2012

    I know! To these kids it is completely restrictive because th material is so far above them, it might as well be in French. I differentiate to the point of completely different assignments but when you have 8th grade kids in your class at a 1st grade reading level, there are going to be times they are just not included :(

    Eta: this started to derail the op's point but I do agree with it. I feel like I can't always reach my on level and definitely gifted students. I spend so much time reviewing and reteaching (or more commonly handling behavior issues) with the kids who need more 1:1 I don't begrudge them the time, but at the same time, is it fair to my other students?
     
  15. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    Sep 26, 2012

    I can tell you what happens in the dog situation: the 4 or so kids who are severely allergic transfer to a new school.
     
  16. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Hmmm... Our district (the only one for the county) is small and we don't have options. Wonder what would happen in those circumstances.
     
  17. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    Sep 26, 2012

    As far as I recall, the problem was AP classes.

    Tough situation. The girl needed her guide dog. She can take him anywhere in public. What do the kids with allergies do then?

    But, legally, I believe an IEP trumps a 504. Someone correct me if I am wrong.

    Sometimes, it seems any solution will screw someone over. Though, I do feel a good situation would have been to offer them all free online AP classes and see who was willing to do that.
     
  18. McParadigm

    McParadigm Companion

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    Sep 27, 2012

    There's nothing wrong with thinking that each and every student, everywhere in the world, should have access to the most valuable and effective education possible. I see no problem with wanting to attain that goal, and by definition it requires a sizable degree of experiential personalization.

    The real problem is that we're still using the old school house design, packing kids in together to all experience the same lecture/lesson/activity/whatever, at the same pace of both instruction and overall progression, and then thinking that the one or two teachers in the room can provide that perfect scenario education for all 27 students. You can't provide anyone with a perfect education, or anything close to it, using that structure...and you certainly can't expect to meet everyone's needs.
     
  19. indigo-angel

    indigo-angel Companion

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    Sep 27, 2012

    :yeahthat::yeahthat:
    :agreed:

    This, to me, is the reason why many students are "failing" in school.
     
  20. ecteach

    ecteach Devotee

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    Sep 27, 2012

    I know I'll get yelled at for this one, but.....

    Parents get it put on paper, because they know it won't be done otherwise. The 504 or IEP is the last line of defense for most parents. A lot of parents feel victimized by the school system. I teach in a middle school and I see parents who look like they have been through war zones when they walk into school.

    I understand that things that seem simple on paper sometimes aren't. But the opposite is also true; we sometimes make mountains out of molehills.

    Obviously these kids need these accommodations to access the general curriculum.

    As I have stated before, there should be a process for developing a 504 or IEP. The least restrictive environment for the child needs to be chosen.
     
  21. ecteach

    ecteach Devotee

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    Sep 27, 2012

    Very, very true!
     
  22. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Sep 27, 2012

    This is true. There are times when I just want it in writing just in case. It is much easier to keep something than to get it back after it is taken away. At one point I asked for something last year and the teacher suggested I leave it up to the classroom teacher. I told her to at minimum put in the notes that it was requested by us. Luckily this year's teacher doesn't mind implementing it even though it isn't officially in the IEP and the other grade level classes do not do it. It made me incredibly nervous to be at the whim of the upcoming teacher I've never met to implement something I felt contributed to my child's ability to stay on task. Teachers vary year to year and the williness to support individual needs also varies. The ability to recognize the needs also sometimes vary. Everyone comes to the table with different experiences. What seems silly sometimes is probably born out of frustration and to make sure the school is adequately looking after the child's individual needs. Often we see threads where teachers want to focus on the majority. We parents recognize this thus the need to document the needs instead of relying on the williness OR expertise the teacher may or may not have. The parents who have not been through these battles usually don't have the need to document so much.
     

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