Problems with Inclusion in the Classroom

inclusion classroomMost people like to talk about the benefits of an inclusion classroom. Those are numerous, popular, and easy to list. But what about the problems with inclusive classrooms? It is almost as if it is taboo to even suggest there are problems with creating an inclusive classroom. However, as any mainstream or special education teacher can tell you, there are indeed problems.

Problems for Classroom Teachers

A classroom teacher is expected to select educational methodology to best suit each student. This is a challenging goal for one teacher who potentially has more than 30 students in each of five to seven classes. Most students can be grouped with other students whose educational needs are similar. This may reduce the planning required to two or three groups. If you add special needs students who have severe learning delays, developmental issues, or who speak little or no English, this task can feel almost insurmountable – especially if the inclusive classroom does not include a co-teacher.

Problems for Special Education Teachers

The biggest problem for special education teachers who have students in inclusive classrooms is being available to every student. For example, if an ESE teacher has 50 students who are distributed through 15 classes during any given period there is no way to assist every student every day. Students may have to be pulled out of class a few times a week for additional services, which also impacts the ability of the child and classroom teacher to maintain pace. If the ESE teacher rotates into different classes on different days, they are not able to get the full educational picture of the class and may not be there when the student needs them most.

Problems for Students

Special education and mainstream students both benefit from being in a classroom together. After all, work and life are not segregated by intelligence or ability. However, there are still some problems that need to be recognized. In a classroom of 30, with one or two special education students, it can be difficult for the classroom teacher to give the individual time and attention the students require and deserve. If the teacher is focusing on the special needs students, the students who need a more challenging environment may be overlooked because they are able to succeed with minimal assistance. While the students will likely succeed in the class, they may not feel challenged and may become bored and disinterested in the class. If the teacher tries to make the class more challenging for the mainstream students, the special education students may feel singled out when their IEP exceptions become more noticeable in areas such as presentations, projects, and homework requirements. Being in every class together may actually alienate the students more than if they were separated for specific classes.

As an ESE teacher, what do you find to be the biggest drawback of inclusive classrooms? Do you think the positives outweigh the negatives?

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44 responses to “Problems with Inclusion in the Classroom”

  1. Kim says:

    It does seem like the problems we experience in inclusion classrooms are a dirty little secret in our profession. It is extremely difficult to meet everyone’s needs properly when all the needs are so incredibly varied. My biggest problem with teaching inclusion classes is when there are students who are emotionally disturbed or have other problems that are manifested regularly in the class. They cause so many disruptions that I feel it is completely unfair to those students who are willing and able to follow school and classroom procedures/expectations and learn what is being taught.
    Some of the special ed students have “advocates” who insist on all kinds of extra steps that need to be taken, and all of those steps take time away from teaching the rest of the class! I sit in meetings with these advocates, and all I can think about is who is advocating for every other student in the class who is unable to learn because of this one particular student? The whole situation can often be detrimental to others, and as a teacher who truly wants to help every student, it is very frustrating to deal with every day.

  2. Gene says:

    I have taught high school science for almost 20 years. I have NEVER had a certified special education teacher with me in the classroom. I have over 150 students total, with 21 students who have IEPs. After nearly three months, I finally received an instructional assistant in some but not all of my class periods this school year. I do feel that without help from the special education teachers in my classroom, the time I must devote to the inclusion students significantly takes away from the time I can spend with other students. The students I have who are emotionally disturbed do cause major amount of disruptions during the class period. Sometimes as frequently as every few minutes. Instruction time is repeatedly interrupted. Today I finally had to ask a certified special education teacher on staff at our school to please come to my classroom very soon to observe the challenges I am having. I am trained in my content area, and I like most other high school teachers am not trained to fully meet the needs of these students by myself. I would very much appreciate some expertise from the special education department in my classroom.

  3. Annie says:

    Amen! I am a parent of public school students, and I am extremely frustrated. The “rights” of general ed children have been totally brushed aside in the name of inclusion – the latest and greatest fad in education. School is for learning – children should not be treated as pawns in a laboratory for social experimentation. Is it not reasonable to expect that each student obtain an education commensurate with his/her potential? (the spectrum from disabled to gifted.) Special ed teachers are trained to teach special needs children and will surely do a better job than non-trained, overwhelmed general education teachers. We are asking our teachers to do an IMPOSSIBLE task by managing these diverse classrooms and by the way, they are expected to turn out higher and higher tests scores each year. Inclusion is counterintuitive when it comes to educating kids. This is not rocket science. Where is common sense? Obviously teachers were not consulted when the “experts” in Congress made this the law of the land.

  4. Christina Thompson says:

    I have a special education son and he thrives in the inclusion classroom. On the other hand, he does not have behavioral problems. I believe the class benefits from his time in the class, but there are several other special education students in the class who are extremely disruptive. They are even at times dangerous to the other students around them. I am terribly upset about the situation and feel it is my responsibility to do something about the situation. I am just worried about hurting the education of my own son in the long run.

  5. Randy Burkhaulter says:

    Wow! Your child’s right brushed aside??? How is that? What about my child? Does he not deserve an education like your child. You all have the wrong idea, and have bought in on all the myths of inclusion, shame on you all and the writer for such a hateful and completely backward approach. And just like Christina said our children can be effected like your children can be. We don’t want the world, we just want our kids to be accepted and learn from your children. Well, not your children, children who have tolerant parents.

  6. Denise says:

    Randy, I think you are misunderstanding the concerns of teachers and parents of non-disabled students. I am a Special Education teacher and have read this article and comments as well as several others on the topic. I don’t think that anyone wants to take away the rights of students with disabilities or prevent them from getting an education that is free and appropriate (as the language used in FAPE). It is my opinion and I believe others who’ve made the point here, that it is not always appropriate for a student with disabilities to be in the general education classroom. Now keep in mind (and I think we can all agree) that the needs of students with and without disabilities varies. So, what is appropriate for some may not be for others. I think many advocates of education for all just don’t believe the rights of non-disabled students should be less valued simply because they have fewer special needs. In other words, a student who’s instruction is more disrupted by a peer is at a disadvantage than one who is not in a class with a disruptive student. And this can be said whether the disruptor has a documented disability or not.

  7. Missy says:

    Inclusion is a major concern! It is an injustice to everyone in the classroom. Too many individual needs, accommodations, behavior plans, and not enough staff or help to make sure everyone is getting the best education. Why not have small group resource rooms? If you cannot read on grade-level, imagine how frustrating it must be. Not every child needs to be in the general classroom! If this is what inclusion was intended to be, it is NOT working….

  8. Nancy Maroney says:

    I think that special education lawyers are ruining public education. There should be a law against frivolous lawsuits. Sometimes parents refuse to accept the results of the district’s evaluation. An independent evaluation often gets parents the outcome they desire. Often obscure measurements are used. If they refuse to accept an ED identification they can get a lawyer and the district defense is a referral to protective services which they are resistant to do. In addition the inclusion laws are fiercely protected by lawyers and state department consultants even when the child needs to be in a special education setting. Since that has disappeared in public school, that means an out of district placement is needed and at times rejected. The result is that schools put up with more outrageous behavior that they are not allowed to control or are ill equipped to control. Add to that impossible achievement goal attainment. This comes at a time when more emotional problems are emerging and school shootings are happening. Psychologists are not allowed to or are ill equipped to identify mood disorders or personality disorders. Research shows that unidentified mental illness leads to substance abuse which has become one of the greatest tragedies in America. It is time that the federal government addresses this and amends special education law. This is an issue that should be reviewed by Congress. It is that dangerous. A retired school psychologist.

  9. Susan says:

    I teach in an inclusive classroom with a spec ed teacher, and I feel like it is totally unfair to every student in the room. Another big thing in education is group work. My high students are expected to babysit the spec ed students in their group or to do the work while the spec ed kids just write down what they are told. Most of my spec ed students are capable of so much more, but the spec ed teacher doesn’t want to push them. She is convinced that group work and graphic organizers will magically make them learn. She won’t even make them write if they don’t want to! It is a disaster and is very frustrating for me. And the worst part is that since she is the expert with spec ed, my concerns are considered irrelevant. Every special ed teacher I’ve worked with shows up to class late, leaves whenever they want, sits in the back and plays on their phones while I teach, and wants all lessons watered down to nothing.
    I also have some behavioral issues in my class. I do not think that I should have to be concerned about a kid as big as me having an angry outburst in my classroom. I understand that special kids have rights, but so do I and so do my other students. No child (or teacher) should have to feel nervous or uncomfortable in a class.
    My youngest daughter, kindergarten, is ADHD and ODD and will likely be referred for spec ed eventually based on her struggles to focus and learn this year. However, there is no way I want her to be put in spec ed where her behavior will be excused, she will be taught to let her people do her work, and will have no personal accountability. I love her too much to send her down such a damaging path.

  10. CGC says:

    I would be willing to bet that none of those lawyers’ children participate in Inclusion Classrooms with a high degree of disruptions. This is where the American Legal System breaks down. We have politicians who are not of the working class governing the working class majority and now lawyers making laws and defending laws they don’t even participate in. Doh!

  11. Jane says:

    I teach in high school inclusive classrooms. I particularly take aim with Susan’s comment. As a college graduate (with a master’s degree), I know the content.The teachers do not want to share planning or teaching responsibilities, rather they want me to show up, maintain order (some of them-some like chaos), be the cell phone policewoman, and then magically help all IEP students complete their work in the 15 minutes allotted at the end of class. Sometimes I have to leave the room during lecture (“to use the bathroom”), so I don’t nod off.
    I like all the teachers I work with personally, but they refer to me as their para and order me around, and then expect to me to cheerfully exude professionalism. If I had known this was what special education was, I wouldn’t have gone down this path. I thought I would be a teacher, crazy me.

  12. allyson says:

    1st let me say that all parents have the right and responsibility to fight for what’s best for their kids. You wouldn’t be on this site, reading the messages if you didn’t care. My son is not ld. He does well in school and has always enjoyed it. Until last year in 3rd grade. He found himself one of 27 kids in a class where over half the kids had some form of ld. Three of the kids came to school with their own assistants each day. Then we had the teacher and the co-teacher who was there to facilitate the learning of the ld kids. The second day at school ended up with my son a crying mess when one boy wiped “boogers” on my sons face and another child had a screaming episode. I figured out what inclusion was, and tried to give my son a pep talk about how he was placed in the class because the school knew him to be a good kid and that he seemed to make friends easily. He was a trooper…at 1st. The teacher put one gen ed kid at each table and had them help the lp kids. This was a big job that left much of my sons work unfinished each day. Later came the reports about how loud the class was at all times with so many adults talking and whispering to the kids. He couldn’t concentrate and asked if he could just take tests in the hall….later he just wanted to stay in the hall the whole day. The “booger” kid kept at it all year…eventually this led to a fight. The teacher did add in my sons file that he really had told the child over 20 times over the last many months to stop. Now we have this on my sons record. Don’t get me wrong, I was furious with my son.
    Cut to this year, I wrote a long note to the school that I didn’t think my son could go through all that again this year. I pointed out that he had never gotten into any trouble before and that his grades had suffered. I asked that he not be placed in an inclusion class. I was told that he was not…now…I find out that he still is! The good news was that the class was made up of pretty good kids with ld instead of social disabilities. There is only one extra adult in the room. My son was pretty happy…the class just moved so slowly as they waited for the co-teacher to catch her kids up. Now a new student with severe anger issues has been added. The boy can’t do any of the classwork and is angry at the world.
    The public schools have get to start getting this stuff right! It must be a funding issue. I can’t see any other reason why this is going so wrong. Wrong for kids that need more help and wrong for those that don’t. I am going to sound like the worst person ever..but my son is now behind his piers who were in gen ed classes the last two years….. we are done. The school seems to have no control over which kids are ready for inclusion. There is a huge difference in a child that just needs a little help and one with no self control and social outbursts. The child with those issues would be much better served being in an inclusion class with fewer children and a more calm environment. The class sizes are not adjusted to control noise and assistants constant chatter. The school will not, or can not honor gen ed’s a parents request to not be in an inclusion class. The poorly run inclusion concept has us looking at private schools.

  13. Pat Orange says:

    I am a high school Business and Information Technology teacher. Last year, 3 low-functioning SPED students were placed in my Computer Applications class with an Aide. All 3 were on a 2nd grade level mentally. Believe me, I read not only their Present Level of Performance but also went into the “Big File Room” where the enormous past records are stored.
    It stated in one student’s PLOP that she ‘sometimes had to be reminded to wipe herself after going to the bathroom.”
    It was EXPECTED that I ‘modify’ the curriculum for them. . . .Oh, of course, with ‘help’ from the Caseload Managers (Special Ed. teachers) HA. They don’t even KNOW what is taught in the class. Students in this class learn all 4 Microsoft Office products and sit for certification exams.
    “Expert” Advice given to me: Well, let them do a little of the Typing Tutor and then a little Powerpoint, and then a little Word.

    These students could not take a ‘thought’ from their head and transfer it to their fingers to key it in. They could only key (very slowly) words that had been written by the paraprofessional.
    “Dirty Little Secret” from above REALLY hit home with me because a regular education teacher can’t even TALK honestly with Special Ed. Teachers! Each time I say something very valid concerning problems with including these students in my class and the fact that I have NEVER taught elementary education and ‘modifying’ this curriculum was really me ‘writing’ a curriculum for them, I am met with the ‘deer in the headlights’ look and wrinkled brow that says, “Noooo, you’re just modifying it,” as if I am an idiot for pointing out that “The Emperor Has No Clothes.” They are the ones who ‘choose’ to to give standard, irrational, illogical ‘semi-suggestions’ for modification. I am expected to sincerely ACT like they are supporting me when they are not.
    I have been at this school for 15 years with an excellent reputation for teaching successfully to my students. Last year when ‘they’ decided to “INCLUDE” these 3 students and I responded with logical and possible obstacles (which occurred), I ended up being put on a Performance Improvement Plan.
    I REALLY wish one of the administrators or Special Education Department members had ‘shared this dirty little secret,’ and I would have played the game.
    Stupidly, I was advocating for what would be most beneficial for THESE STUDENTS! I have learned the hard way that truth, honesty, and fairness to all is no longer valued.

  14. Reena Parikh says:

    I have a son in inclusion class. His education affects because of special education kids. I don’t know how teacher feels but most of their time goes in calming sp.ed. kids. One thing I don’t understand is sp.ed kids have different requirements from learning, emotional, behavioral. my concernd is emotional and learning. they need to be heard , they need to be treated with care and be nice all the time where as there are other general ed kids need to be straighten out strictly and while doing that emotions get hurt. There are couple of kids can not handle music at all. they find it is a big noise and their brain hurting with it. Now why would you send them in a music class when they are getting so bothered with it at the same time why general ed kids should stop from learning music. There should not be inclusion class as it is not right or beneficial for either set of kids.

  15. Terri Smith says:

    Inclusion is a bad idea. It is not a safe environment. It is not fair to the ESE students or to the standard student. Teachers are not able to give the students all of their accomodations. There are no support systems in place to help the teachers.

  16. maphie says:

    Yes, if you want to be popular you will stand for inclusion but if your real a helper teacher, you will suggest for exclusion of learners with disabilities from general classrooms! Inclusion has lost many hopes of both learner with and without disabilities. It is true that, teacher cannot offer the maximum help at a time to people with different needs and capacities; the only way to help both teachers and students is classification of students according to their beings

  17. maren gucha says:

    what are they problems that inclusive students get in physical education class.

  18. ESE teacher says:

    As an ESE teacher I find that Terri Smith has posted just shows that many people do not have one clue what true Inclusion in tails. It is absolutely fair and it is the best environment for students. This article is not research based and uses to many if when it should be using facts supported by data. True inclusion does not include those with severe learning disabilities who are basically functional and need a one on one handler for learning disabilities. Inclusion is not placing a child with a disability in a General Education classroom with no support. My suggestion is truly looking at the years of research from a number of world renowned educators before saying such a statement. Teachers who can teach can teach any one and those who can’t teach complain. I have taught ESE for well over a decade and have been extremely successful. I suggest you read Widening the Circle the Power of the Inclusive Classroom because the numbers don’t lie. Students with disabilities can learn in the General Education setting when given the proper support and having teachers who know how to teacher to a diverse group of learners. Public Schools are failing because many teachers simply can’t teach. The post by others on here just shows the problem is not inclusion, but the school systems their children are in not running Inclusion the way it is supposed to be run making the problem more of an administration issue than an inclusion issue. Its about alternative teaching and not segregation because that is what a Self-Contained ESE classroom is because it segregates kids with disabilities from their peers.

  19. Ms. says:

    I’m the 4th grade general education teacher in an integrated co-teaching model, but my issue is a bit different. While most of my 14 SPED students are significantly below grade level, they are hard working and well behaved. However, they are often highly inattentive, and easily distracted by the slightest thing.Hence my problem.

    My principal figured that since two adults would be in the classroom, it would make sense to put most of the behaviorally challenged students in with the IEP
    students. The non IEP students are the most disruptive energy drainers in the classroom. She also decided the many of the low performers in the room too. The SPEDS students are losing out. This is not benefiting anyone.

    • Ashley says:

      I think it’s best to split up the sped kids into different classes for inclusion. Divide and conquer!! They are all lumped into one math class and it’s a disaster due to poor behavior and learning issues- if I don’t get more support from the admin, then I will leave. And they aren’t making progress. Seems like no one cares but me, the special ed teacher.

  20. Khloe says:

    Here’s another consideration: the support staff at my school are only paid $12 an hour. To pay someone, barely above minimum wage, to do a job that is SO important and DIFFICULT, is ridiculous. Most of the support staff consists of young people right out of college trying to get work experience and a foot in the door–they’re inexperienced and untrained, they’re not special education teachers. We need to throw more money at special ed if we want this model to succeed. We need MORE support staff and more highly qualified ones. Also consider that in a high school, kids are learning specialized skills and subjects: algebra II, classic literature, foreign language, bio-technology. A lot of us would be hard-pressed to thrive in these sort of classes, and now we’re going to put kids in there who are cognitively impaired, many grades below reading level, and suffering from social-emotional disabilities, with overworked teachers and poorly trained, poorly paid paraprofessionals, who not only are lacking the SPED background, but also the content knowledge necessary to teach a disabled student geometry. It just doesn’t make sense.

  21. Lady Ruth Smith says:

    I have taught high school science for almost 35 years as well. I have NEVER had a certified special education teacher with me in the classroom. Yes, if you want to be popular you will stand for inclusion but if your really a helper teacher.

  22. Kimberly Perren says:

    My son has had an IEP since pre-school. He stayed back in 3rd grade and also finally got his IEP in third grade however, nothing has changed. He was diagnosed with learning disability and ADHD but the school has him in an inclusive classroom with mainstream students. My child Is not learning at all, he’s not on grade level and does not ask for help. He becomes too nervous to ask for help and will become disruptive by fooling around. He tells us that he’s scared because other kids are able to follow along and get their work done and he’s clueless and feels if he asks for help they will make fun of him. Within the first 2 weeks of school I have gotten phone calls from every single one of his teachers. This is not rare, it happens every year. He goes all year long with F’s and not learning however, because of his IEP they continue to move him forward. I have requested to take him out the Inclusive classroom and put him in a special ed classroom however I’m being told his “disabilities” are not severe enough to be in a constrained classroom. So how is my child supposed to learn if this is not working for him?!?! Every single year his teachers are sick of him and we’re punishing him for not doing work that HE CANNOT DO. Why don’t I have a choice in this.

  23. Kim Perren says:

    This is the same issue I have with my son. They claim that he’s pulled out of class once or twice a week for an hour for “tutor” or there’s supposed to be an AID in his class however, he doesn’t utilize this help. He refuses to ask for help and when he is helped he still doesn’t get it. Probably because he’s testing on a 3rd grade level in 7th grade classes!! What can I do about this, I feel it’s absurd my child is not on the same learning page as the rest of these kids.

  24. Theodora says:

    Teachers who tell the truth about problems with inclusion are treated like unfeeling people. It is very difficult to teach when a child starts screaming just as your getting to the heart of a lesson or when children try to ask questions. I had one student who had an obsession about spinning on the floor. It was a bit distracting. Some aides can handle things, as some don’t try. I know that socialization benefits all students, but in certain severe cases, it isn’t fair to the rest of the class. I was a General Music teacher and taught first through sixth grade. We did much more than sing little ditties. I had students with pretty severe problems in many classes. There were some real success stories with my Asperger’s students, but overall, I became rather discouraged and sometimes dreamed certain classes. I think there needs to be a better balance. All students need to learn compassion, but difficult students need to leave the classroom with their side when behavior becomes severe.

  25. Candice O says:

    Some of these comments are so disheartening. I am a parent/educator of son with some delays, I see both sides. I see teachers who are working hard to meet the needs of every child, then I see teachers who complain about everything regarding students in Special Education, however, even without these students in their class, they are still incapable of teaching. Also, All teachers should be required to get training for working with students with special needs. Please use people first language! If you cannot handle your class, maybe teaching is not for you. By the way, Special Education teachers are not aides, they are certified teachers, treat them with respect.

  26. Alisha says:

    I feel we should not put behavioral children in with ESE classes. Florida is working on having inclusion classrooms which I am not for. If ESE kids are placed appropriately then it will benefit them. I had a student from 3rd to 4th grade in an ESE room. 5th grade his mom put him in an inclusion room and he has blossomed. I am so proud for him but we still need ESE rooms for those that need it. MY school if they are in an inclusion room that get accommodations. Some teachers will fail kids to get them out of their classroom which is wrong. I am for having both classrooms, but should not get rid of ESE classrooms which is what Florida wants to do. I have been a paraprofessional since 2001 and worked in an ESE classroom since 2004 till present time which I LOVE. I feel that our kids will not gain the skills they need in an inclusion room.

  27. Stana says:

    Greetings Parents and Educators-
    I am currently studying for my Elementary teaching certifications, and this topic is currently being discussed in my class. Your comments, opinions (personal and professional), have allowed me to see a totally different perspective and the disadvantages of inclusion classrooms. I agree, it is not fair to the general education students, the special education students, or the teachers. The parents of the children in this situation are basically helpless. My daughter, who now attends private school, was in an inclusion physical education class. They were playing volleyball, and while going for the ball she fell into one of the SPED students. The student did not understand when my daughter attempted to help him up. He grabbed her arm and proceeded to punch her. Fortunately, my daughter was strong enough to restrain the student until the gym teacher rushed over to assist her. The SPED student was not reprimanded or punished due to his disability, and my daughter was traumatized, but upset for the other student. We decided on private school way before this incident; however, afterwards, it was one of the factors that reinforced our decision. There may be some benefits, but the cons far outweigh the pros. Educators, please continue to support each other; communication is key. Parents, stand together and speak out and for your children until your voices are heard and a change is made. God bless.

  28. "ESE Cluster" Teacher says:

    Let me share a story of inclusion gone wrong on a grand scale. In my general ed primary classroom, 75% of the students have IEPs or are on track for receiving one before the end of the school year. My school has close to 1000 students with an average of 7 or 8 classes per grade level. The principal, however, places all these students in one or two classrooms per grade level. Her method of “inclusion” is encouraged by district policy despite a teacher contract that specifies equitable distribution across each grade level and common sense that dictates that that would be best for all. Why would a district with 72 elementary schools encourage an inclusion situation that is not best for SPED students, general ed kids, or teachers? Follow the money. This arrangement allows the district to hire the least number of SPED teachers to push-in for student support. If the students qualifying for support are all in one room, one SPED teacher can service them all conveniently. No scheduling difficulties. No need to hire extra teachers. No extra expense. The effect? You can hardly call it an inclusion model when only 1 out of every 4 students in a class are “typical peers”. The kids in that class and in other classrooms know which classes have the SPED kids and there is nothing inclusive about it. And what about those general ed kids in the class? The district is less than transparent with parents. I have yet to meet any parents that have a clue that 3/4 of their child’s class require accommodations. What about the least restrictive environment for these students? And the situation is certainly not best for teachers. Extra accommodations, paperwork, behavior plans, health alerts, meetings, etc. x 14 is a recipe for teacher burnout if I’ve ever heard one. As a professional and mother of a child with an IEP, I accept the challenge to differentiate, to meet the needs of diverse students, to help those with unique learning struggles. Just don’t give them all to me at once. An equitable distribution would allow each of the classes at my grade level to have 2 IEP students. What a difference we could make for them! Parents, do you know the ratio of typical students to inclusion students in your child’s class, grade level, and school? You should ask.

  29. Sally Leatherwood says:

    ESE Teacher in a perfect world inclusion classes would have an assistant. What about a kindergarten class with 20 students and 5 have severe behavior issues. How does 1 teacher meet everyone’s needs when they have children climbing on tables , crawling under the teachers desk , throwing the teachers materials , screaming, crying, refusing to follow rules, kicking the teacher, and hurting other children?

  30. JOSHUA says:

    It is difficult to arrive at a conclusion.

  31. Denise Dayson-Bristol says:

    All of your comments concern me. I am a newly retired special education teacher. My faculty and administrators worked together to ensure that ALL students received the best education. When politicians got into the mix is the problem. Plus, it is not a learning disability. It is a learning difference. I personally did co teach with all disciplines in the school environment. I witnessed regular classroom students behaviors to be also questionable. It works. Parents, teacher and administrators must remain in communication. The politicians need to stop making laws that causes teachers to jump through changes on IEP’s. I had a very good experience at my school. However, I am in a rural school. School population in high school was 1000.

  32. Ritu Vyas says:

    I do understand there are problems in every school with staffing – but because of improper staffing to say that inclusion does not work is not true! I am apalled to read some of the comment. Inclusion definitely works, but needs to be implemented properly. If a class has over half of the students with Id, its not inclusion in its best setting ! Inclusion best works if there are only 1-2 students with special needs in a class of 25-30.
    Having said that, do only children with special needs disrupt a classroom ? I have seen children without any special needs disrupt a classroom as well. There are also many students with no known condition but are not good at academics. So, such students should also be thrown out of the class as they disrupt a classroom or are not able to cope with their peers.
    Where do you draw the line? Just because a student has a condition that has a name attached to it, he or she is not entitled to education? And where all will you segregate them ? They are as much a part of society as you and I. Inclusive schools are the first step in building an inclusive society.

  33. Sad and Frustrated says:

    As both a teacher and a parent of children with high functioning autism who have been in both inclusive and non inclusive programs, I understand the frustrations on both sides. First, I am a believer and supporter of inclusive education, but the problem is most people don’t understand what that really means. True inclusive education that supports teachers, paras, students, and families elevates everyone. If you want to see what a successful inclusion program looks like, visit The Chime Institute and the ASD Nest program

    The complaints I’m reading on here I believe are a result of the state of our public education system in general.

    Class Size: Class sizes of 30+ students, many of whom have undiagnosed or unidentified learning differences, don’t work, plain and simple. The benefits of smaller class sizes on learning for all students is research based and documented.

    Teacher training programs need to change. We need to stop differentiating between “General Education” and “Special Education” teachers and just train “teachers”. Most credentialing programs fail to prepare teachers with vital basics – classroom management, collaborative teaching, and addressing the needs of all learners, especially those with IEPs, second language learners, low income and foster youth. The credentialing programs are often taught by professors who focus on education theory and who haven’t stepped foot in a public school classroom in years.

    As a society, we don’t value education and it shows in the number of vacant teacher postings that districts can’t fill. Our brightest and most capable young men and women aren’t choosing to go into teaching. Why should they when they can’t even make a living wage, when they aren’t valued? It’s often said, if you want to see what someone values, look at how they spend their money. Only 9 percent of the federal budget is spent on programs that support children, including education, healthcare, safety and wellbeing. The country’s future economic health and prosperity is dependent on the next generation of children, yet 2019 saw a 12% reduction in federal spending on education. States are required to pick up the majority of the cost and that includes funding IDEA.

    Fully Fund IDEA: IDEA, the landmark special education law that Congress passed in the 70’s that required school districts to identify and provide services for students with disabilities. At the time, Congress promised to pay 40% of the additional costs of providing these services to these students. Despite the fact that students served under IDEA has risen 25%, the federal government only funds 14.6% of what IDEA requires. States have to pick up the rest. Some do a better job then others.

  34. Staci Coller says:

    Regular Gen Ed classes should be no more than 25 students and if you have resource students, you should have a full-time aide. Plain and simple.

  35. Christine says:

    “ESE Cluster” Teacher

    Your comment is EXACTLY what we encountered this school year. We walked into our child’s 1st grade classroom for meet the teacher night to discover it was a “team taught” classroom with a special education teacher. The real issue was that 13 kids in the class were special education while only 3 were gen. ed. How can you possibly call this an inclusion class? I volunteer in the school constantly & am very involved with my child’s education, otherwise I would have never known. No one said the other teacher was special Ed. I only knew from being in the school. Anytime we asked about the ratio in the class we were told they “could not discuss other children”.. they found every excuse to not answer our questions. I am all for inclusion, but this is NOT inclusion. They found a loop hole to abide by the law without having to hire more special ed teachers. They have a special ed class that they throw a few gen ed kids into so they can call it inclusion!

  36. Aleyan says:

    Thanks for the interesting pros and cons of Inclusion teaching. We have a small roll with different students. Very little to no disabled or physically challenged students. Yes there are the ODD, ADD and ADHD students and then those who come from single parents homes without breakfast or lunch. We have received over the years those who are reading challenged but who given the chance leave with 1, 2 or 3 skill subjects. I recalled one of my students who had severe reading difficulty and whose average was very poor at the time for wring external exams. Concerns for led to the usual parents’ Conference to discuss his chances. To make a long story short he wrote 7 subjects and passed five. His results were the first I checked. I felt proud for him. I am seeing it happened again with those who have difficulty with the traditional core subjects. When these are placed in skilled subjects or allowed to use the computer it makes a big difference.

    Again thanks for the different perspectives on Inclusion.

  37. Aleyan says:

    Thanks for the interesting pros and cons of Inclusion teaching. We have a small roll with different students. Very little to no disabled or physically challenged students. Yes there are the ODD, ADD and ADHD students along with those who come from single parents homes without breakfast or lunch. We have also received over the years those who are reading challenged but when given the chance they leave with 1, 2 or 3 skill subjects. I recalled one of my students who had severe reading difficulty and whose average was very poor at the time for writing external exams. Concerns for him led to the usual parents’ Conference to discuss his chances. To make a long story short he wrote 7 subjects and passed five. He failed English and Mathematics. His results were the first I checked. I felt proud for him. I am seeing it happened again with those who have difficulty with the traditional core subjects. With those who are not challenged and with the frustrated. When these are allowed in skilled subjects or permitted use the computer it makes a big difference. We may have to relook our planning and make regular adjustments and even think outside the box for creative ways to teach our children. Here’s my question: What if it was me or you?

    Again thanks for the different perspectives on Inclusion. I was enriched.

  38. Emily says:

    I am a teacher and I have special education students in my room. I think if those students are to be in the general ed room they need to at least be able to aone what of the grade level work with a some accommodations. I am tired of those kid, sweet as they are, draining the general ed teacher. They cannot even do the grade level work even with accommodations. I have a student that is more preschool level so why is he in a first grade class. I believe for them to be in the general ed class the need to be able to do some of the grade level work. They need to behave too because the kids that are not special ed deserve to be in a class where they can learn and get help from the teacher. Instead the sped kids keep the teacher busy because they have to work with a kid that can’t even do the work and the sped kid is a behavior issue too. Not fair to the general ed. kids.

  39. Stephanie Brod says:

    Hey I am trying to get my daughter moved from a special education class room to an ese class. And they are giving me problems saying they have problem with the county. I’m allready fustrated and shes only been in the kindergarten class for 3 months. And they have yet to move her. I wanted to hold her back a year but they said they didnt have space for that.

  40. katie says:

    my little brother has autism. he cannot help what he doesn’t know and can not control the way he reacts to things. I agree that there shouldn’t be such a big glass because having a big class with people who don’t have to have more help for there needs is still problematic and loud and difficult to focus in. The children should be pushed away from all the other children, they should have a special teacher with them to fill the spaces the normal teacher cant. they shouldn’t be excluded from the other pupils and shouldn’t keep having new different needs teachers as if you always have a different teacher helping you, they wont really know how to help you and the child would feel uncomfortable.

  41. Annette williams says:

    Wow! I really needed these comments. I thought I was in the twilight zone. This is my first time in ,32 years dealing withstudents who have severe behavior problems in a regular Ed classroom. These comments gave help me to understand that it will get worse before it gets better. after this school term, I am done with public education.

  42. Sped teacher inclusion 10 years says:

    Special Education Inclusion only works when you have a healthy reg Ed/sped student ratio. Sped 30% or lower in the class. There has to be support staff in place that are COMMITTED EMPLOYEES that come regularly and do their job. Also, there comes a point when it’s clear that some students cross a threshold where it’s clear as day that the gen ed inclusion classroom is to much of a challenge even with proper accommodations and supports. There needs to be an alternative placement for these students…it’s a win for the student in the end not the teacher and no one is casting that child off. I think severe social/emotional disabilities can constitute this kind of placement on a child by child basis. Inclusion works for most…but not for all…and once we stop trying to force those kids through a system that is to high a mountain to climb for them, and just accept reality and find a placement that’s best for them…then all parties involved succeed and it’s a win/win.

    • Naomi Griffin says:

      Thank you for providing your feedback on this blog post. We appreciate you sharing your perspective on inclusion in the classroom.

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