This letter came in the mail last Thursday totally out of the blue. Friday's blog post will explain to you that I am not a fan of the warm and fuzzy feelings. With that being said I did get teary eyed reading this letter, but thanks to my clogged tear duct no tears were shed.
Sometimes as educators we may never know how much we influence students. This particular student is a sophomore in high school now. She was full of spunk and attitude when she was in my classroom. At the time this student was at my school ESE teachers were trying to push students out into the general education classroom instead of being stuck in intensive academic classes. This push towards placing students into the general education classroom has stopped thanks to our course codes being switched to the same as gen. ed. In a way having the same course codes is great, but now there really is no reason to place ESE students into gen. ed. classes since we now have identical course codes.
I think its safe to say that inclusion has died because of these course codes. ESE students are not being mixed in with gen. ed. students they are stuck with one another in the same classes year after year. When ESE students are together they tend to feed off of one another's deficits. I miss the days of motivating students to work hard so they can have the opportunity to get out of intensive academic classes. It breaks my heart knowing that there are students that would thrive by being placed out of I.A classes, but are not given the chance. The sad thing is that we try to place them out of our classes, but they eventually find their way back into our classrooms or their schedules are never changed. This lack of inclusion in the classroom setting is only short changing students with disabilities to reach their true potential.
I wish schools would put inclusion as its top priority in education. I think if inclusion was more of a priority other problems would disappear. Schools need to be provided with resources, funding and support in order for inclusion to even have a chance.