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Marblehead, MA: Experts call for inclusion of 100% of SPED kids, even the most severe

Jan 16, 2018, Marble Head, MA, Local Wicked: Calls for more inclusion come as school budget cuts deepen in Marblehead Experts say goal should be 100 percent of students in gen ed classrooms Kate Bailey Roeser hopes more than anything that her 9-year-old son, who has autism, will be able to return to Marblehead schools in a few years. “Absolutely. We want him back in the district,” she said. “He really would benefit from being with his neurotypical peers. I hope the district can make strides towards inclusion.” Bailey Roeser had to move her son, whom she asked not to identify, out of the ACCESS special education program at the Glover School last May, when it became clear the class wasn’t meeting his needs. The boy, who is in second grade, now attends the Hopeful Journeys School in Beverly. Bailey Roeser was one of many parents, teachers, and community leaders who came to hear inclusion expert and consultant Dr. Maura Hart on Jan. 9 at Marblehead High School. Hart is a strong proponent of educating special needs kids in general education classrooms, saying it not only benefits all students but saves money, too. “Inclusion education is absolutely doable,” Hart said. “Thirty years of research shows we can include kids with the most significant disabilities. The goal should be to include 100 percent of children in gen ed classrooms.”… Out-of-district costs jumped more than $800,000 this year to $3,787,411. After deep budget cuts impacting everything from textbooks to staff, the School Committee reduced the deficit to $531,411 as of Jan. 10. More cuts are expected…. According to SEPAC’s interpretation of district data, 64 percent of IEP students in grades K-12 are in full inclusion. Forty-four students are being sent out of district. …

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