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Posted Feb 22, 2002 at 5:32:36 PM
Subject: inclusion

What is your feeling about inclusion? Do you think all children with a disability should be included in the regular classroom?

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Posted:Feb 24, 2002 11:46:51 PM

I think the regular classroom should incorporate Orton-Gillingham and Lindamood Bell methods of teaching at least in preschool thru fourth grade. There should be studies made on whether some of these "special ed" methods might not help all kids to learn elementary reading and math. Not least of these being teaching phonetics in a systematic way. Then we'll talk who needs to be included and who excluded.

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Posted:Feb 25, 2002 3:24:33 AM

Tricky issue, and fashion swings in a pendulum.

In my youth, it was inclusion or nothing. The schools I went to had an excellent general program (I was lucky) and had no money or facilities for anything else; they were lucky to get enough roofs over us baby boomers. Quite a lot of special needs kids did well with reasonable adaptations from intelligent teachers. Others who just needed more help fell by the wayside.

When I was in high school, the byword was specialized classes. We were going to have specially trained teachers and specially designed materials and give everyone the ideal environment for their needs. A few benefited, but most special ed kids ended up just being warehoused as nobody ever held anyone up to any standards.

When I started teaching, inclusion was the latest "new" thing (Those of us with memories longer than ten years are outcasts in teaching society.) The teachers were panicking, and rightly, as they asked what they were to do in Grade 9 when the kids who had been in closed classrooms for eight years were suddenly dumped into the maelstrom of a standard American high school. The kids were supposed to have extra support, which of course was too little and too late; the teachers were given two conflicting sets of commands about marking (be rigorously fair and able to justify every point in a court of law, but judge each special ed kid by individual standards), and the special ed kids just ended up warehoused in the back of the classroom.

When my daughter was small, it was both literally and metaphorically 1984 and double-think. We support inclusion and all our kids are assigned a regular classroom but don't actually go there; we test kids, label them for life, and stick them in closed classrooms, although we don't say we're doing it. We have a no-fail social-promotion system but we actually repeat more kids than that strict 1950's school ever thought of (1950's around 5%, 1980's over 10%); social promotion works if you're white and middle-class and speak the right language, but if you're Native American you automatically as a matter of course spend two years in kindergarten and two years in grade 2 and drop out in Grade 8. Some kids get good pull-out special ed and some don't, pretty much by chance and whether you were liked. My daughter(gifted) was being shoved into a special-ed group in K just because, being an adult student on scraping by scholarship, I was living at the worng address on the worng side of town.

When my daughter was in high school we had all sorts of wonderful resource programs on paper but there was never any money or space or staff to implement most of them, a good excuse both for not doing things and for failing at what you do. Some special ed kids got real help and did OK -- my daughter had a lot of friends in the science-tech program who were dyslexic; other kids who didn't start out special ed failed to learn the most basic skills. Some of the dyslexic kids had been in closed classrooms and some hadn't. In this school system also skin colour had far more to do with services than any of the paper programs. I worked with some reading specialists and a Grade 1 teacher who were top-notch; there was also another Grade 1 teacher who specialized in destroying lives and who undid all of the specialist's and tutor's good work daily.

Final conclusion is that the question is not really inclusion or not; it's the quality of the teaching and the attitude of the school system and the teachers towards learning.

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Posted:Feb 25, 2002 5:22:34 PM


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Posted:Apr 16, 2002 2:38:15 AM

I think it's pretty tacky to post this message to a bulletin board of parents, teacher, etc. who are communicating about such a delicate subject.

I read your mail and I don't even understand how asking to be on a mailing list on the internet will bring you money. Care to explain?

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Posted:Apr 16, 2002 9:48:05 AM

Lynette, those posts come & go and are best ignored, and notice it was done back in February. That person has long gone - figured out he was just another sucker I hope.

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