Search

Ed. Week: 'For the first time in history' large numbers of SPED kids are in reg ed classes

Dec 5, 2018, Education Week: Special Education a Growing Priority in Teacher-Training Circles https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2018/12/05/special-education-a-growing-priority-in-teacher-training.html Lisa Nelson earned a master's degree in middle school education and taught for five years. But she never learned much about dyslexia until her own daughter began struggling in school. … "Dyslexia is the most common learning disability. ... If teachers are not getting training for the most common reading failure, then what percentage are getting trained in anything else?" asked Nelson, who has since co-founded the Massachusetts chapter of the advocacy group Decoding Dyslexia. Students with disabilities make up about 13 percent of the public school student population, according to 2015-16 federal data. Because of the inclusion movement, which says that students with disabilities should be educated alongside their nondisabled peers, 63 percent of those millions of students with disabilities spend the majority of their day in general education classrooms. Yet historically, many colleges of education have offered just one or two courses on special education for their general education teacher-candidates. Advocates say that's not enough to know how to teach students with such learning disabilities as dyslexia or other conditions like autism or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. "This is the first time in history where so many kids with disabilities are being taught in general education classrooms," said Michael Gottfried, an associate professor in the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Santa Barbara. "I do think a lot of it is happening without so much preparation on the teacher side." But there's hope the tide is turning, educators say: More colleges of education and state education departments are beginning to put a priority on teaching their general classroom teachers how to work with students with disabilities. … Statistic shown: “177% increase in the autism category over the past decade for the 3 to 21 year olds, the fastest growing disability category.”