Mar 5, 2009

Got Any DCPS Inclusion Horror Stories ?

Well I do. The elementary school where I work in S.E. (it begins with a G) started 100% mandatory inclusion for ALL disabled students several weeks ago. Of course without the appropriate staffing or professional development and without regard to the needs of our students with disabilities. The powers that be have advised our staff that this directive has come from above where most of our half-wit directives seem to emanate. Go figure. Nothing in writing-just do it.

Obviously like many others, I 'm troubled by this. We have been advised that all our IEP's will be changed to reflect this new mandatory model. I guess because our school will no longer be able to accommodate mandated hours of specialized instruction. What I have surmised is that our two special education teachers will spend less time with their students than they did before because they will be required to go from classroom to classroom in what has been identified as a co-teaching model. The problem is that we already don't have adequate staffing to meet the needs of our students with disabilities. As I state many times here in the land of DCPS, our school system jumps from one educational bandwagon to another without regard to research based practices and often no forethought, planning, etc.

I would be interested to hear from any of you about what some of you are experiencing in your schools ? Any ideas about the new DCPS inclusion model ? Is it mandatory inclusion for all students where you are ? What do you need for inclusion to be successful at your school? What's on the horizon for next year ? (Posted by The Washington Teacher).

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

You are absolutely right. We can't be in two places at once and while we're doing inclusion in one room, a child in another class does not get services. Inclusion would work if every classroom would have a general ed and a special ed teacher, plus aides, etc. But with one or two SPED teachers in a school, it can't work. I don't see an elementary school having six SPED teachers plus service providers to go into the classrooms so that inclusion could really work. Candi, you and your colleague running around classroom to classroom trying to coordinate and plan with over five teachers doesn't make sense. Pull out works when there isn't enough staff for every classroom to have its specialists teaching, planning and coordinating together to meet the needs of both general ed and students with disabilities.

The New Teacher on the Block said...

I have definitely seen an inclusion disaster in my school!!! There is an inclusion Pre-K class at my school that is about 1/2 SPED students. The SPED and regular ed teachers in this class don't get along or collaborate really at all. There are too many SPED kids in the classroom to be serviced appropriately and 2 of them have definitely regressed behaviorally over the course of the year, probably because whenever they act out (and sometimes even when they don't) the teachers just send them down the hall to the non-cat pre-K class, where they learn/do nothing. The result, they aren't learning anything except the fact that if you act out, you get to go play down the hall and not do anything. This teacher even had the guts to try to send a kid down to my (self-contained autism) classroom the other day because he was behaving more like one of "my students" than one of hers. I was LIVID. It's ridiculous.
Technically, I work at a SAM school, but no one there even seems to understand or care what this means. I am still pushing to try to get one of my babies in full time next year, but the school is pushing back about it. And they are really wondering what to do with all those kiddos in the pre-K classroom who are going to have to move up to Kindergarten next year (our K teachers are not so good with the SPED and we don't have the support staff for it). The plan originally was to send them back to their base schools since, technically, most of them are out of boundary and that used to be standard operating procedure. But apparently, now, even if a kid is fully time in inclusion, if they have been bused out of boundary, the parents have the option of keeping the kid at that school.
WOW that was a rant. Alright, I'm done, but yes, although I think it CAN be a good model, it must be implemented properly, not just to get to say "oh yes, we use a full inclusion model." And I don't know that its the best model for all SPED students...I know most of mine would get lost in the shuffle.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone else outside of teachers and parents realize that Ms. Rhee is a disaster for children.

Anonymous said...

Advocates on both sides of this debate and not sure there is a simple solution.Do we value all children equally and can DCPS get the support services to the child? If not see legal concerns ahead with IDEA.
Some may argue it's policy driven by an unrealistic expectation that money will be saved.Appropriate placement is critical and we all know that.Stay positive and children that learn together,learn to live together.You may find some ideas reading the Phi Delta Kappa's research bulletin number 11,1993.Bring the support services to the child rather than move the child to the services ? Doesn't sound like there is enough support. So then what happens to the child in inclusion ? Give yourself time to adjust to this change and keep an open mind.You can do it and will !Keep us posted on how it's going !

Anonymous said...

Not sure James Kauffman would support this mandate.Wonder what CSIE would say to support this transition of change implemented ?

Anonymous said...

We need to start listening to the teacher's and more closely to those that "work it" every day.If it's not working, then why not allow a vote for the school and teacher's to make that decision as a team.To many mandates top down without the budget to make it successfully happen.I'm to out spoken right now to be a teacher in Public Education ! We need a fire truck and marching band at the Washington Monument !Who's got the stimulus check to back up all these mandates for children the teacher's say aren't working ? End the mandates on NCLB and fund our American Public School Buildings supporting teacher's and principles !Let the policy begin with those that work with the children every day!Vote on the policy and include the parents !

Anonymous said...

Policy and Mandates backed up with solutions and "funding" of which directly reflects positive results working for children,teacher's and principle's.The do more with less theory in education leaves to many children behind.We can't afford that !

Anonymous said...

NGFL Inclusion has a catalogue of resources. www.inclusion-solutions.com/links.asp. Now that you have the mandate with no funding,how do you make it happen? I'd be on the phone asking for the experts to get in my classroom !Go find them and they're out there !

Anonymous said...

Richard Rieser ! We need you on Candi's blog with ideas and solutions ! Where are the r.rieser@btinternet.com and he's got a great book on Implementing Inclusive Education.He's out there and we'll find him !

Anonymous said...

Take your concerns to Raw Fisher's radio and let him know about this !

Anonymous said...

Inclusion, as a delivery model, is not just for special ed. I teach ESL and many of my colleagues in schools with high numbers of English language learners like Tubman, Brightwood, Reed and Bancroft teach under inclusion. Their horror stories abound and I don't know how they can stand it, as it rarely works.

Anonymous said...

As a social work service provider I think using the "inclusion model" without training should be an ethical violation. I've been trained to pull children out for groups or individual sessions. I am not a behavioral specialists. I have more clinical skills than that.

Anonymous said...

Horror...Horrible...are my words exactly!!! I smell a class action suit forthcoming...What about you guys?

Anonymous said...

As soon as I read it was thinking law suit,another one that could be avoided with administrative planning.Are services to the child ? So blame it on the ESL department ? No !

Progressive Educator said...

Hi, Washington Teacher,

I just started my own new blog focused on inclusion. I hope it will become a forum for sharing strategies and encouragement between myself and others.

I know there's a dearth of training and information in DCPS about how inclusion should theoretically work. It requires more than just having more special ed teachers. I was in a school that tried to do inclusion, and had plenty of SPED teachers - who all had no clue about what the inclusion model looks like. They tried, though.

By blog is at includemetoo.blogspot.com.

In full disclosure, I'm a new teacher who chose to spend my first year teaching in an Upper Northwest School so I could see the inclusion model.

Anonymous said...

I also work in a school with mandatory inclusion. This school begins with a B. 95% of the parents have obtain lawyers this school year and have sued or will be suing DCPS. There was only one SPED teacher in the building, but this teacher was holding a class and therefore unavailable for any instruction. Now that there is a teacher and a ESL teacher for the class that the SPED teacher was holding, it is believed that instruction should occur. Wrong. The SPED instructor spends time doing favors for the principal, but will be truthful in saying that no instruction is being provided. The principal has said that the children with IEP only need a good spanking and the parents need to mind their business and stay out of what the educators do. Even instructs the SPED coordinator to send mail to the parents and not to communicate with the advocates and lawyers.
Yes, there will be a class action suit...I can't wait.

The Washington Teacher said...

Some of your comments are scary. Of course I am not surprised after many years in special education in DC. It seems that we take 2 steps forward while taking 3 steps backwards. What will it take to achieve real reform in special education ? Of course my question is rhetorical. Thanks to all of you for weighing in.

BCC said...

I'm the parent of a special ed student, and I find this terrifying! How do they propose to simply change 100% of the IEPs to reflect this mandate? Does no-one in the administration realize or care these are legally binding contracts?

It is no wonder that parents like myself refuse to enroll our children in DCPS. Indeed the only wonder is that there are not more of us. I suggest there soon will be.

Anonymous said...

Inclusion is mandatory because often it is the Least restrictive environment. This is a federal law that DC must comply with but the teachers get stuck trying to figure out how to make it work.

I've seen it done successfully with teachers and special education teachers who work together. When a child needs over 3 hours of special education services a day, they were placed in two classrooms 1/2 day.

All children benefit from a teacher who knows how to teach to many different learners. As a former teacher of an inclusive classroom, I learned more about teaching with those children and about helping others to feel like they belong than I ever could in a "regular" classroom.