The U.S. Individuals with Disabilities Education Act guaranteed that students with disabilities could be part of a regular education classroom and curriculum and participate in programs offered to their non-disabled classmates. While that’s fine on paper, we believe that more funds and dedicated resources are required to ensure that each student receives an education that is truly customized to his or her learning needs as identified by the IEP (Individual Education Program). Ultimately, the goal is to help every student who graduates be ready for a career or college.
Unfortunately, with funding and teacher shortages, many districts don’t provide those additional services so crucial to an appropriate education, not just one that meets the test of the “least restrictive environment.”
We believe that inclusive practices can work if there is also a full continuum of placement options and resources to fund them. This can include self-contained classes in addition to co-taught classes that stem from the needs of the students whom teachers identify in the course of working with them.
More resources are needed to educate all students and give teachers discretion in determining what is appropriate for each of them based upon their day-to-day contact and experience about what creates success.
Have an opinion about this important issue? Please share it with us and your legislators.