Jan 21, 2019, Boston Commonwealth: Boston falls short on ‘inclusion’ classrooms https://commonwealthmagazine.org/opinion/boston-falls-short-on-inclusion-classrooms/ District not meeting standards for special education BOSTON TEACHERS ARE passionate about fulfilling the promise of every child, and that’s why we support robust inclusion programs. … The law requires a per-pupil allocation to serve students with special needs. But on the ground, in schools across the city, this is often not the case. That’s because the dollars that should be earmarked for students with special needs are not following the students into the general education classroom. In many cases there is just one teacher in a room of students with a wide variety of physical, emotional, medical, and learning disabilities. Our teachers are urged to get two or three or four certifications to serve these incredibly diverse classrooms. But no matter how many certifications a teacher gains, it is impossible to simultaneously teach all these different groups of students, at the same time, without proper staffing. The Boston Teachers Union conducted an extensive survey of Boston educators to gather their views on inclusion. We found that, overwhelmingly, teachers believed in inclusion and were committed to nurturing the potential of every student. But teachers often recounted examples of ways the status quo is failing our students and our communities. One general education teacher wrote: “Inclusion does not work well when a classroom contains six inclusion students with diverse and in-depth needs, in addition to general education students with many social emotional needs in situations where a paraprofessional cannot sufficiently support [them]. … Time and again, our teachers tell us that, ideally, they would have two certified teachers and one paraprofessional in the classroom to manage the complex array of students’ special needs. At the minimum, there must be two fully certified teachers in a classroom to ensure every student has an equal opportunity to learn….
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