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    #242436 - 04/27/18 03:28 AM Inclusion models - what works?
    Platypus101 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/01/14
    Posts: 665
    Loc: Canada
    Originally Posted By: Tigerle
    Maybe I’ll compare the various laws, and implementation therof, on inclusion in education with special regards to both gifted kids and kids with disabilities or something, to straddle disciplines. I hear that Canada does great on inclusive models!


    OK, had to bite, but figured this was so off topic - even after just plowing through three pages of billing incentives for doctors laugh - that a new thread might be in order.

    Tigerle - I'd love to hear your impressions of the inclusion model in Canada, looking at it from outside the country, and with your obvious awareness of what's happening in many other places.

    We spend so much time screaming about it here that it's undoubtedly instructive every now and then to stop and think about what we might actually be doing right. On the good side, a lot of groups of parents have fought extensively and successfully over the years to get their kids fully included in the regular classroom.

    On the challenge side, I have found that we have a major split across spec ed in Canada. The groups who have led the fight for inclusion represent families whose goal is to provide their child with an education experience as close as possible to being exactly the same as everyone else, and who will learn best this way (i.e. kids with physical and intellectual exceptionalities). It is assumed that all spec ed advocates share this goal. However, we also have two groups who want the opposite: a different curriculum and teaching to meet the needs of kids who learn differently (i.e. LD and gifted) - and who won't learn nearly as well if given the same content, teaching, pace, etc as everyone else.

    After enormous advocacy efforts over decades to achieve inclusion, the voices who lead in setting spec ed policy cannot believe that anyone would choose "exclusion", still seen as synonymous with "dump the kid in a corner to rot". The idea that I might want my dyslexic child in a room full of similar learners where the teacher can spend 100% of her time addressing those atypical learning needs - from reading remediation to appropriate content and output expectations - is simply baffling. Anathema. Whereas I see it as simple logistics: do I want my child in a class where she is uniquely "incapable", and the teacher can spend at best 1/25th of her time teaching what my DD's needs?

    So what does doing great inclusion look like? What do you see in Canada that you think is working? Are there countries/ regions that are successfully implementing it, for real and not just in theory?

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    #242438 - 04/27/18 05:15 AM Re: Inclusion models - what works? [Re: Platypus101]
    Old Dad Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/30/12
    Posts: 423
    The problem of course where it comes to GT education isn't in convincing parents of GT students that inclusion is needed, healthy, and helps those students grow, it's convincing the rest of the school system that it is as such instead of being elitist and other parents feeling that their child is being excluded from something and left behind while GT students move yet farther ahead.

    So what does a successful exclusion program look like? It's part of a larger tiered system in GT education. Strong exclusion isn't needed for everyone who is GT, however, it's strongly needed for others.

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    #242451 - 04/28/18 03:12 AM Re: Inclusion models - what works? [Re: Platypus101]
    Tigerle Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/29/14
    Posts: 601
    Loc: Europe
    Sorry for taking so long to reply - I have felt intimidated, LOL! I said I wanted to conduct this research, at some mythical point in time, not that I already have...

    But I do have some informed opinions.

    In order to understand where I’m coming from, let me copy some of the PM wrote to Aquinas (we actually did notice we we getting off topic, as some of the best conversations do...):

    I live in a country with a tradition of hard core tracking, with schools for college prep (and a few gifted programs scattered among those), for clerical track, for manual track, plus schools for the children with speech issues, learning diabilities, the deaf, the blind, the mentally disabled, the physically disabled...you name it, there’s a school for it - and, of course for every school, there is an adapted curriculum, which assumes, for instance, that physically disabled children need the learning disabled curriculum, or at most can just about cope with manual track. Densely populated country, so there usually will be a specialised school within an hours travel time, and if not, there’s boarding schools. Internationally quite unique, I believe.

    Of course, there is an equal and opposite reaction, with a strong political push for doing away with any and all curricular differentiation for anyone, mainstreaming all children with disabilities immediately in the closest school available no matter what their needs, and including mentally disabled children in college prep classes simply so that „these schools carry their share“, without conceding that some conflicts of interest may not be solved by telling the teacher to „just differentiate“

    Definitely interesting times. With one kid 2e (HG+ and suspected ADHD, plus anxieties, rigidities, the usual), one kid similar but probably somewhat less extreme in both directions and one kid with severe physical disabilities, learning disabilities AND probably gifted (jury still out), I will have my hands full in the next few years. After that, I could probably write a PhD about just my family’s experience!

    So, what is Canada doing right?

    For one thing, the discussion has been going on for decades, and the idea that on principle, all public schools should be accessible for everyone, both physically and otherwise, isn’t radical but mainstream. I can also see, from international surveys like PISA, that Canadian schools tend to manage a large spread of ability, SES and cultural and linguistic backgrounds in their schools and still do very well on achievement for all, but without the incredible pressure that, for instance, South Korean schools put on kids. So, Canadian schools appear equipped to manage a huge amount of diversity, and manage it well. I understand that, for instance, a learning disability is considered and issue to be resolved, in the normal course of things, with support teachers and curriculum adaptation, not segregation, and a physical disability is not considered an issue at all, or of anything, in the realm of medicine and maybe civil engineering (where should we put the elevator?), not pedagogy.
    I am in a position where that would already be HUGE progress.

    I imagine (this is where on the ground research would have to start) that a system like that has a head start also on how to include the biggest outliers (the highly gifted, the multiply disabled etc) - that a system that is doing so well accomodating so many different learners, it would be easier to find an individualised solution for situations in which a parent or a teacher might feel a child is not served well even then, the way you describe.

    I wish I’d feel more confident about in class differentiation for widely differing intellectual ability levels - I can’t get my mind around the problem that a teacher can teach (ie actually instruct, as opposed to manage individual work time) in the zone of proximal development only for exactly one level at a time, and that the more levels there are in the classroom, the less time there is for each and the outlier levels fall by the wayside.

    I read texts stating that inclusion is when you engage *everyone* in the classroom in the same topic and simply feel “not possible”. But maybe I’ve just never seen it done.

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    #242452 - 04/28/18 03:18 AM Re: Inclusion models - what works? [Re: Platypus101]
    Tigerle Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/29/14
    Posts: 601
    Loc: Europe
    So, tl;dr:

    The inclusion model I’d like to see is one that is committed to both:

    to educate all kids together, ie in the same building(s), by staff that is responsible for all, in physical proximity wherever that is possible without compromising the education for anyone

    And to educate everyone in their proximal zone of development, with the understanding that this will result in outcomes that will radically differ across the student body.

    I would hope that once you had a system committed to both, one would be able to navigate all the compromises, indivual solutions, mistakes and new attempts cheerfully and eventually successfully.

    Getting off my soapbox now!

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    #242453 - 04/28/18 10:24 AM Re: Inclusion models - what works? [Re: Platypus101]
    aeh Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/26/14
    Posts: 3640
    I would agree with tigerle on general principles. How that looks in reality is quite a bit more complex, of course. Perhaps it is worthwhile to think about a few of the concepts and models that feed into inclusion, such as:

    1. Universal Design for Learning (UDL). Embedding scaffolding and accommodations into instruction for all students. On the disability end of the curve, these allow students to receive content instruction, and demonstrate learning, at the highest level concepts and skills of which they are capable, with supports for deficit or asynchronous areas that are not essential to the content learning objectives.

    An example of this would be a student enrolled in a high school biology class whose conceptual skills were appropriate to that level, but whose reading or writing skills were not. Such a student might be allowed to use text-to-speech and speech-to-text to access text and produce written responses. Or use alternate assignments to demonstrate mastery of the standards, such as an audio-visual or performance product, rather than written work.

    The variant of this known as differentiated instruction is usually focused on curricular adaptations, typically within a narrow range. The absence of greater adaptation upwards reflects the origins of UDL and DI in special education, for the purpose of giving students with disabilities and English language learners access to grade-level work.

    2. Age-matched socialization and social skill development. This is a high value in the literature on inclusion. As it happens, I don't personally find it be as high of a value, and would argue that a higher goal would be social skill development that encompasses relationships with diversity in age as well as ability. When we remove the age-locked element, it opens up additional models for inclusion, such as age-decoupled instructional groupings based on current instructional needs. This brings strategies such as SSA and double- (or more) promotion into the umbrella of inclusion, as inclusive in age, but matched in academic needs. With respect to some of the social concerns, one solution that integrates both social developmental needs and intellectual/academic needs might be multi-age/multi-grade clusters, with students sorted by instructional needs in each content area, regardless of nominal grade placement.

    My own educational history includes being the precipitating case for promoting change in the private secondary school I attended. Years after I left the school, I returned for prepractice observation, and was pleased to see that they had maintained and extended into policy many of the practices that initially had been proposed by my parents as exceptions for my sake, such as placing students in individual courses based on their specific instructional needs, both above and below nominal grade placement. It had become a common enough occurrence that it was no longer noteworthy to most students or faculty.

    3. The 1%. By which I mean the top and bottom 1%. Well, it's probably more like the top and bottom 1-3%. The US and Canadian systems actually have a decent amount of success or potential success with +/- 2 SD (which is the middle 92% or so). Another couple percent on each end can potentially have their needs met with hybrid solutions/partial inclusion (some inclusion, some special programming). For the last few percent, it becomes more challenging.

    I am a huge proponent of inclusive education for the disability end of the exceptional population, as the ability to navigate the general population on a social and practical level is a much more important long-term skill for them than achieving age-appropriate academics is. But even there, the intensive instruction necessary to master life skills and functional academics, and the limited incremental benefit from being included in academic (out of their instructional zones) settings with NT age-peers, suggest to me that a better use of their K-12+ education years (to age 22, in the US) would limit time in inclusive educational settings to those with the most potential for community transfer, such as in non-core classes with greater social interaction (e.g., chorus, athletics, community service).

    For the right-hand tail, I believe a similar phenomenon occurs. At some point, the incremental benefit of leaving learners with extremely advanced academic ability in more-or-less age-matched groups for the purpose of developing social and adaptive skills within their age cohort ought to be balanced with the effective use of instructional time to meet their academic needs. Inclusive (age-matched) education for those students also might be better applied judiciously, and principally to settings in which academics are not the focus, and which have more intrinsic social opportunities, such as the examples named above. An additional factor is that there is a marked subset of intellectually-advanced learners whose social-emotional development is also advanced, for whom age-locked placement does not advance any of their skill development (other than tolerance for those with less skill, which, while a highly worthwhile goal, and likely one with significant life-long value to these learners in particular, also is a pretty modest sole objective for 10-13 years of compulsory education).

    I could say more, but I think I'll leave it at that for the moment!

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    #242457 - 04/29/18 05:03 AM Re: Inclusion models - what works? [Re: Platypus101]
    Pemberley Offline
    Member

    Registered: 08/07/11
    Posts: 734
    Obviously jumping in late here to the discussion (I'm not even sure what the previous thread referenced was...) but wanted to comment about our experience and why inclusion can't always work.

    2e DD is now 13, 7th grade, and inclusion in a mainstream classroom was a disaster for her. As a kindergartener, 1st grader and 2nd grader where the focus was on the mechanics of learning to read and write THE ADULTS couldn't wrap their heads around a kid as smart as her being UNABLE to do standard tasks. She was repeatedly called lazy and manipulative, accused of trying to get out of doing her work and punished on a daily basis for not completing tasks she was physically unable to complete. No matter how much discussion occurred or how much we tightened up the IEP certain teachers, paras and other staff couldn't - or wouldn't - get it. In addition to all the LD and processing issues she now also had off the charts anxiety.

    "Exclusion" at a special Ed school focusing intently on remediation, training her in AT and other workarounds and allowing her to recoup some of her self esteem worked well. During this time she was able to get some support for the high level needs as well - ie radical exceleration in her area of greatest strength. After doing an 8th grade English class as a 3 grader the school did not feel comfortable having her sit in high school classes so her exceleration occurred 1-1. In others words exclusion within her exclusion. But it worked for her. For a while anyway.

    Then she was moved partially back to "inclusion" for our school district's one day a week TAG program. For her this was inclusion but for the rest of the students it was "exclusion". Pulled out of their regular classrooms one day a week and bussed to meet with other gifted kids from other schools in the district. Many of these kids had received small amounts of gifted pull out in previous years so by meeting with other gifted kids their pull outs sort of became inclusive. So the lines of inclusion and exclusion were blurred.

    This year when it became clear "exclusion" at a special Ed school was no longer appropriate and we could not locate another appropriate school the district insisted DD try the local middle school. She had made so much progress on her areas of deficit and did so well with the "inclusive" TAG program they were sure they could put together a program for her in the mainstream setting. They didn't mention LRE but instead focused on how much better it would be for her socially to be included. The one day she spent shadowing was an absolute nightmare. Academically although placed with the TAG kids she still found the class content below her level. She would have just been one of many though and would have resigned herself, probably, to school being "boring" or at least unchallenging. Environmentally though it was a nightmare. She COULD NOT be included because her sensory issues would make it impossible. 1000+ bodies moving around the school was overwhelming. 20+ bodies in a classroom created too much ambient noise and visual distraction for her to focus. It would have made using her AT very difficult. All in all one day in that "inclusive" environment showed she would have spent her time just trying to survive her school day with no room left for trying to learn anything. All of her sensory issues, as well as her anxiety which had been well contained, were triggered just by a one day shadow visit.

    What seems to work for her - probably because she falls in the 1%-3% of both the top and bottom that aeh mentions above - is 1-1. Crazy right? She recently started (at district expense) at a chain of schools (previously discussed on these boards) that offers 1-1 classes totally individualized for the student. Talk about exclusion! But it seems to work best for her.

    I guess my point is that inclusion can only work if the teachers are properly trained and given the necessary supports to make it possible. If a kid with special needs is just sent into a mainstream environment then as platypus says above the best they can expect is 1/25 of the teacher's attention. And that may be from a person not properly equipped to meet their needs even if they received 100% of their attention.

    I'm not sure if any of this makes any sense or adds to the discussion. I have come to realize that my outside the box kid is probably outside the box even as far as outside the box kids go. And that's my problem with pushing inclusion models. Each kid is an individual - this the I in IEP. But inclusion may not make it possible to really address that. By definition even if a teacher tries to differentiate and use UDL as aeh discusses it just becomes impractical at a certain point. A brand new teacher was crying to me recently that she had 25 kids in her classroom 2 with significant special needs and no para. She could either work to meet their needs or work to meet the needs of the other 23 kids in the room. There is just no way to properly do both. She's ready to quit teaching after one year. And she is a mainstream teacher with a sped certification. I just don't know how one person can meet these needs - especially without appropriate specialized training.

    Just my 2 cents...


    Edited by Pemberley (04/29/18 05:05 AM)

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    #242469 - 04/29/18 11:33 PM Re: Inclusion models - what works? [Re: Pemberley]
    Tigerle Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/29/14
    Posts: 601
    Loc: Europe
    Originally Posted By: Pemberley
    By definition even if a teacher tries to differentiate and use UDL as aeh discusses it just becomes impractical at a certain point. A brand new teacher was crying to me recently that she had 25 kids in her classroom 2 with significant special needs and no para. She could either work to meet their needs or work to meet the needs of the other 23 kids in the room. There is just no way to properly do both. She's ready to quit teaching after one year. And she is a mainstream teacher with a sped certification. I just don't know how one person can meet these needs - especially without appropriate specialized training.

    Just my 2 cents...


    THIS.

    The hypocrisy in pretending that differentiation by ONE teacher can somehow occur simultaneously as opposed to sequentially has got to GO. As long as politicians and educators get to act as if the physically impossible were possible, there cannot be progress.

    Yes, it costs money, I get it. I work in the public sector, I used to work in the treasury, i know what budgeting constraints are. Put your money where your mouth is or admit that for economy of scale, at some point you have to do instructional grouping.

    And if you want to save money, stop being hung up on age segregation, as aeh insists. I get that too, it’s another form of industrial scaling, making sure you can process children in yearly age segregated batches. With that, as Spaghetti pointed out, you need to get rid of urriculum age matching as well - if I were in the US, I’d be a big proponent of common core - as a curriculum to be worked through by 98% by 12th grade at the latest...and by some by 8th.


    Edited by Tigerle (04/29/18 11:59 PM)

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    #242471 - 04/30/18 03:41 AM Re: Inclusion models - what works? [Re: Tigerle]
    Platypus101 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/01/14
    Posts: 665
    Loc: Canada
    Thanks all for such thoughtful input! For the types of reasons pemberley describes so well, we've gotten to the point here where we tend to reflexively use "inclusion" as a curse word. I really appreciate Tigerle's reminder of where we came from and what the alternative used to look like. There's no doubt that we used to use specialized classes as a dumping ground, and this was really bad for kids. To be honest, our district still has a small number of specialized LD classes, and they are still a bit of a dumping ground for kids with severe behavioral issues, but we are at least pretending to try and fix that. sigh. Change is v e r y slow.

    I think the core challenge is that inclusion is a value system, not an educational structure. For many kinds of spec ed need, it flies in the face of both research evidence and financial logistics, but those considerations are irrelevant when the value over-rides all. I do think it's an important value, and our policy makers embraced inclusion with the best of intentions. I do not think they gave much thought to it's practical implications, nor did they recognize that the voices calling for inclusion only represent a small, though highly-visible, portion of the population with spec ed needs.

    On the practical side, you cannot get anyone in our system to admit on paper that inclusion, done correctly, is far, far more expensive. It needs way more people, time, money and resources. This is just simple logistics. If 25 kids need to be taught a certain way, it's a whole lot easier to put them in one class and do it once, then have them in 25 separate classes and have to do the same thing 25 separate times. Unfortunately, our districts are finding that they can make major budget cuts to spec ed by removing specialized classes, and trumpet those cuts as an unassailable move to more inclusion - and who could be against that? Somehow, the savings never roll back into supporting those same kids in the regular classroom. In practice, inclusion means you get the exact same thing as everyone else, though we may throw in a laptop (without instruction, support or relevant software, because your regular classroom teacher has neither time nor knowledge to help you use it).

    On the 'who is inclusion good for', I think both Tigerle and pemberley describe some of the issues I hinted at. I think the dividing line is, is this child best served by maximizing their time with the regular curriculum, and a "typical" group of age peers? Those kids hugely benefit from inclusion, as long as the system is able to provide the accommodations they need to participate effectively in the class, and the teacher has the support she needs to reach both that child, and the other children in her class, and doesn't have to choose one or the other.

    The flip question, though, is, is this child best served by maximizing their time with a different curriculum/ teaching approach, and a group of peers whose learning needs are similar to their own?

    The deep adherence to inclusion as the fundamental and overriding value means our educational system is genuinely unable to compute the possibility that this second group of kids even exists. And unfortunately, numbers-wise, it's huge (you could loosely estimate 20% of the population LD, and 2% gifted). It's also what I often refer to as the "invisible" exceptionalities: things that aren't medical diagnoses, that don't involve noticeable physical or intellectual challenges, that may not be noticeable until the child enters school - or even much later. It's really easy to ignore the kids who are just not learning, as long as (until) they become behaviour problems. It's pretty notable that in our district, we identify 2-3 times more boys than girls in every 'non-medical' exceptionality, including gifted and LDs. Our LD identification rate is ridiculously low, and 2/3 even of that small number aren't identified before secondary. The ones who act up get noticed. Girls are more likely to shut down, and get ignored. With 20-30 other kids in the class, the reality is, no teacher has the time to bother with a kid who isn't bothering her. Mere failure to learn does not trigger intervention.

    OK, that's a big rant about the problems. I'll conclude this portion of our programming (for fellow ed research nerd Tigerle smile ) with this link to a report on inclusion in another province, which had our district's special education committee nodding along in pretty strong recognition: http://www.ed.gov.nl.ca/edu/task_force/report.PDF . Chapter 1 is about the inclusion model, and consultation feedback starts on p11. Here's a couple of representative quotes, which I think also really capture our own experience. The second one is painfully true, and gets to the core of that problem-who-shall-not-be-named in our education system:

    "No one spoke in support of the model, and the phrase “Inclusion is a wonderful concept but....” was used at every consultation as people attempted to differentiate a philosophy of embracing diversity from a model of delivering supports to students with identified exceptionalities. ... Numerous presenters spoke to an apprehension of appearing ‘anti-diversity’ when they speak against inclusion, but the present model is untenable for students and teachers alike."

    Input from a teacher: “Inclusive education is NOT working - not in our current system. The students who are included are actually excluded in their classrooms. They feel excluded because their peers complete their work faster. They feel excluded because they can't keep up. They feel excluded because they can't comprehend the curriculum because it is not at their level. They are more stigmatized than ever before.”

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    #242472 - 04/30/18 10:20 AM Re: Inclusion models - what works? [Re: Platypus101]
    aeh Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/26/14
    Posts: 3640
    I would agree that lack of funding and implementation fidelity are huge factors in the success or failure of inclusion. The most successful settings I have seen have staffed all inclusion settings with a minimum of one content (general education) teacher, and one special education teacher, and had ongoing training and follow-up with general education teachers on universal design. Also, inclusive settings are not supposed to ever go over 50% students with special needs.

    I'll quibble with platypus a little in that inclusion does not mean that 25 different special needs students are now split across 25 different classrooms. They are typically clustered in inclusion settings like those described above. This ought to apply to both ends of the spectrum.

    I would also disagree that the majority of LD students cannot be instructed appropriately in some form of inclusion, -properly implemented-. Perhaps one of the confusions here is that inclusion is not all-or-nothing, and it differs by grade level. We have nearly 100% inclusion in a secondary setting with most of the exceptionalities (other than the lowest-functioning multiply-handicapped or profoundly intellectually impaired). But our inclusion settings are all staffed with two teachers, with class sizes of well under 20. And our learning standards no longer focus on basic skills, so developing fluency with accommodations and compensatory strategies (including AT) is a much more significant dimension to our specialized instruction than remediating decoding and basic calculations (though that does exist for a small minority of students). At earlier grade levels, the role of focused direct service is, of course, greater, but still can allow for at least partial inclusion for many LD students.

    I am fully aware that our setting is not representative of all public schools, so I'm not disputing the problems with inclusion as it currently is implemented in many buildings, but I did want to point out that the model itself is not as weak as the implementation, for most learners with exceptionalities.

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    #242476 - 04/30/18 12:21 PM Re: Inclusion models - what works? [Re: aeh]
    chay Offline
    Member

    Registered: 08/07/13
    Posts: 447
    Loc: Canada
    Originally Posted By: aeh
    The most successful settings I have seen have staffed all inclusion settings with a minimum of one content (general education) teacher, and one special education teacher, and had ongoing training and follow-up with general education teachers on universal design. Also, inclusive settings are not supposed to ever go over 50% students with special needs.

    I'll quibble with platypus a little in that inclusion does not mean that 25 different special needs students are now split across 25 different classrooms. They are typically clustered in inclusion settings like those described above. This ought to apply to both ends of the spectrum.
    What you are describing aeh would be shot down instantly in my city as not-inclusive. Pretty much any mention of clustering or grouping is a no-go because it isn't deemed inclusive. That in itself isn't the issue but when specialized programs are cut without adding ANY supports for children who are now all back in the regular classroom it becomes an issue. Much cost-cutting has taken place under the inclusion banner and teachers are expected to be able to differentiate and support all of these kids with a couple hours of special education training. Students are never grouped by ability and teachers are expected to differentiate to the wide variety in their class as well as provide any accommodations required. There is very, very little remediation and for accommodations it is generally up to students to figure out what works for them and teach themselves how to do it.

    Another wrinkle where I am is the French Immersion factor. I live in one of the more bilingual cities so only 38% of grades 1-8 kids are not in immersion. Guess where most spec ed kids (excluding gifted) are? This ends up with some pretty interesting classes to teach because the ratios are the same regardless and these are by definition not special education classes. Attempts to add any sort of resources to support these teachers don't pass budget discussions and even admitting that this is happening is a dirty secret. Teachers in the non-immersion streams often have the majority of their classes with IEPs (I have a nephew in a class where 17/20 kids have IEPs for example). For extra supports there are special education teachers but they generally support a whole school or for a larger school maybe half of a school. Most of these classes have 1 teacher to 20 or 25 students (depending on age) and that is pretty much it for supports.

    Some numbers focusing on grade 1-8 (these are from a local board that actually has the most specialized classes remaining, the other local board has far fewer specialized classes and is very proud that it is even more inclusive).

    English stream - 38%
    Full time gifted classes - 1% (this is rapidly being shut down under the inclusive banner. Unless something drastically changes it will be gone in a few years)
    Development Disabilities program - 0.7%
    Special Education classes 1.7% (note many of these are part time inclusive) Doing the math you can see that these are reserved for the most extreme cases - a mildly dyslexic kid is not going to be in there.

    All kids that are not in full time inclusive classes - 3.5% (includes both ends of the spectrum)

    233 special education teachers supporting 2515 classroom teachers who teach just under 40,0000 students. Again, do the math and think about how much time a "just LD" kid is getting with a spec ed teacher a year.

    All that to say, we have a lot of room for improvement to be an inclusive utopia (although I do appreciate Tigerle's perspective since it is easy to wallow in our problems and forget that it could be much worse).


    Edited by chay (04/30/18 01:14 PM)

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    #242477 - 04/30/18 12:50 PM Re: Inclusion models - what works? [Re: aeh]
    cricket3 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/02/09
    Posts: 668
    Originally Posted By: aeh
    I would agree that lack of funding and implementation fidelity are huge factors in the success or failure of inclusion. The most successful settings I have seen have staffed all inclusion settings with a minimum of one content (general education) teacher, and one special education teacher, and had ongoing training and follow-up with general education teachers on universal design. Also, inclusive settings are not supposed to ever go over 50% students with special needs.

    I'll quibble with platypus a little in that inclusion does not mean that 25 different special needs students are now split across 25 different classrooms. They are typically clustered in inclusion settings like those described above. This ought to apply to both ends of the spectrum.


    The best year my DD had in K-8 was a year (6th grade) in which she was in a classroom like this. Same number of total students, probably about 22, re were 2 teachers there, one special ed, and probably between1/3 to nearly half the class was some flavor of special ed. It worked beautifully for both ends, because everyone got mostly what they needed. Both ends of the group were instructed outside of the classroom for limited periods of time as well, but the majority of instruction was in the same classroom. They did a lot of fluid grouping, and a lot of project based stuff. The highlight was putting onGreek plays, after a study of Ancient Greece. They made the sets, acted, had music, advertisements during the interludes, handled tickets, food, etc. The kids were truly a cohesive group who were respectful and understanding of differences. A remarkable year, especially because it came after a bad one marked by intense bullying. The teachers made all the difference.

    We also experienced pretty good differentiation in a couple AP classes- the calculus teacher has been experimenting with some projects, which have been great from my view. One was related to claclulating material for a nuclear reactor, with a lot of twists thrown in, the volume of material could not get below a certain point without danger, the reaction speed charged depending on the volume, etc. They had to do a lot of calculations, but the thinking and presentation of their work was where the real deep understanding came in. We had pretty good results with AP bio, too- but again, because the teacher was allowed to think outside the box. He allowed and semi-orchestrated lab groups based on ability (not sure how this got past the admin, but he’s a very respected teacher, and the kids kind of ability group on their own when given the opportunity) and much of their lab work was self designed by group. They had to write posters as well as lab reports and be able to present their work to the class, where it was critically evaluated, etc. Great experience.


    Edited by cricket3 (04/30/18 12:51 PM)
    Edit Reason: Typos

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    #242478 - 04/30/18 01:13 PM Re: Inclusion models - what works? [Re: Platypus101]
    Platypus101 Offline
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    ETA: Apologies aeh - my post above was not meant to suggest that's how inclusion must work, I was only describing what actually happens here. I agree that it could be done way better. This other (belated) half of my post was intended to be a tad more positive!

    OK, I know I'm babbling way too much when I have to split into two separate responses (and many hours pass in between). But beyond complaining, I wanted to reflect on aeh's great ideas, and see if we can describe a system in which inclusion could actually work. Some (pretty random) thoughts about what that might look like:

    Inclusion should be seen as a value, not the only value. I think we've drunk so deep of the cool-aid we've lost the ability to realize that only some of the world is purple. Inclusive education is valuable, important and effective for many kids, and their families need to be able to choose this option. However, it doesn't work for all kids, and we need to explicitly recognize that we need a range of ways of responding to a range of needs. Alternatives to inclusion should not be forbidden. Unfortunately, it is in the nature of the philosophical adherence to inclusion as a value to see it as needing to be absolute.

    What would work? For instance, I would have loved to see my DD grouped for a year or two with other dyslexic kids, and when older, with other dyscalculic kids. They could then be matched with a teacher who had not only heard of these disabilities, but had training, experience, and desire to teach this group. Instead of feeling stupid, incapable and not learning, DD could have felt fully as able as her peers, and be learning - because we would have been teaching her the way she needed to learn, at the pace she needed. And when remediation was done, her compensation skills well-solidified, and her curriculum caught up - she moves seamless back into the "regular classroom", which is indistinguishable from the classroom she's been in. In other words, inclusion most of the time, when it's helping her. Specialized class with appropriate peers when her needs at that time are outside what's happening in the regular classroom.

    Taken fully and literally as the driving force of our education system, inclusion means no tracking, no grouping, no specialized classes or programs. We've never had tracking in elementary, but now inclusion is being used to justify eliminating alternative pathways in secondary as well, from streaming/ tracks to gifted supports to specialized arts schools. Which takes me to:

    Universal Design for Learning is only a small part of the answer: I've heard it 1000 times now: what's essential for one is good for all. Yes, when we are talking about certain kinds of learning accommodations. When everyone can use laptops, voice recognition, etc, it destigmatizes these supports and that brings huge benefits. But we have to recognize that UDL is about removing barriers to access to the regular classroom, the regular curriculum. Taken to its extreme - which of course we have - UDL makes a mockery of the whole concept of spec ed, because its a model that fundamentally comes down to you do the exact same thing for everyone. If you can't do it for everyone, you do it for no one. Specialized remediation cannot exist in this interpretation, nor can enrichment. In gifted, we see this translate into an increased tendency to propose gifted supports that provide generic extracurricular activities that actually do benefit everybody - as opposed to providing kids who need it a daily curriculum that is deeper, faster or more complex. Speed and complexity are not good for all.

    Responsibility must lie with the system, not the individual teacher: We cannot implement inclusion by saying "the individual teacher will differentiate" and wipe our hands of it. We have to build a support system that makes it possible for the teacher to do what we are expecting of them. And that means:

    We invest a huge amount of $, time and resources: teachers need a ton of training to be able to identify spec ed issues and needs, and be able to address them in the classroom. They need tools for universal early identification and programs for early intervention. They need ready-made curriculum and resources. They need time, back-up and coaching, and other teachers in the classroom to address more intense needs and those kids who need different curriculum, not just easier access to the same curriculum as everyone. And as far as I know, there is yet still no research showing that Differentiated Instruction has ever been successfully implemented, let alone that it works.

    We group by ZPD, and realize it's both subject-specific and a moving target: Great point by aeh. Our challenges here are exacerbated by our determination that both speeding up and slowing down are terrible things to do to children. (Again, "inclusion" is taken to an extreme that sees instructional modifications as contraindicated. We aren't all getting the same education if some of us aren't, well, getting the same education.) Instead of grouping by age, we could group kids by readiness to learn, and the teaching approaches and pace they need. We have the flexibility to help some kids overall learn at a slower pace, some at faster, and to recognize the difference between a global need for a different pace (i.e. to address intellectual disabilities or giftedness, and a temporary one (i.e. during remediation catch-up to address an LD).

    We constantly connect students across groups: Building on Tigerle's 'keep them in the same building', we also need to keep them mixed as much as possible. Shared subjects, lunch space, etc - keep them mixed up and moving.

    Make sure the best teachers get the most challenging kids: Much of the research that finds streaming doesn't work actually finds that the kids with the greatest need consistently get the worst teachers - the grouping may not be the problem. Build in the incentives that flip that. Which goes back to - make it possible for good teachers to do a good job with the "hard" and outlier classes, whatever those classes are.

    I do agree that overall, Canada does a good job of reducing the impact of low income, newcomers, and other challenges that can leave students marginalized. I believe that the correlations between income and school achievement are lower here than most places. We have an approach that is able to reach a good portion of those able to respond to the standard curriculum. We play very well to the middle. But boy do we have a long way to go for the non-neurotypicals.

    OK, way more than enough ranting for one day!


    Edited by Platypus101 (04/30/18 01:20 PM)
    Edit Reason: catching up on today's postings :P

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    #242479 - 04/30/18 01:21 PM Re: Inclusion models - what works? [Re: chay]
    aeh Offline
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    chay, those are eye-widening numbers, especially for unsupported classrooms. I had no idea "inclusion" had swung to such an extreme in Canada. That's not the model being studied by most US academics, or being implemented in most of the school districts of which I have reasonably current knowledge. What you describe as inclusion in your area would be considered global district accommodations, or disability-based specialized accommodations, both implemented under general education initiatives, not special education at all. If there's no special educator involved in the provision of services, how is it special education, after all?

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    #242480 - 04/30/18 01:28 PM Re: Inclusion models - what works? [Re: Platypus101]
    aeh Offline
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    and no offense taken, platypus! I'm finding this discussion very interesting. I would definitely agree that it's the "inclusion as the primary value" element that often drives system-wide decision-making that ends up being, ironically, exclusive, in terms of educational equity, vs equality.

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    #242484 - 04/30/18 05:48 PM Re: Inclusion models - what works? [Re: aeh]
    chay Offline
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    Originally Posted By: aeh
    If there's no special educator involved in the provision of services, how is it special education, after all?
    Exactly. Trying to argue that, is rather futile though.

    I went through the other local English board which boasts of being super inclusive.

    - 42100 students (all grades)
    - 388 children in special education classes, 50 of which are a half day

    That translates to 0.92%

    For the rest of spec ed students they have
    - 173 spec ed teachers (pretty much 1 or 2 per school depending on the size)
    - 436 Educational Assistants (they support behavioral or physical needs, the classroom teacher is responsible for curriculum). I should say that the other board has these as well but I couldn't find their numbers. Anecdotally, the other board has less.
    - 33 board level staff (psych, social work, speech, etc). Again, the other board would have these as well, it was just not easy to find.

    All that adds up to gifted needs falling off the radar most of the time. It is also rather awkward to try to advocate when you look around the room and see what the teacher is dealing with on a daily basis.

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    #242488 - 05/01/18 04:22 AM Re: Inclusion models - what works? [Re: Platypus101]
    chay Offline
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    I will also add that the second board also has a similar French Immersion effect and the concentration of spec ed kids in the English stream is also a dirty little secret there as well. It is most apparent the first year it starts (grade 1 in one case, grade 4 in the other) since FI rates start out really high (~75%) and then drop off as families opt out. The number of kids in it by grade 8 is down in the low 40's.

    Francophone families generally choose a French school board so children that speak French and have spec ed needs are usually in a different board. Bilingual families can shop around the boards and pick the best fit for their situation.

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    #242495 - 05/01/18 11:10 AM Re: Inclusion models - what works? [Re: Platypus101]
    aquinas Offline
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    I've been quietly avoiding this thread because I risk offense with what I'm about to say, but I feel it's worth saying.

    Studies that address inclusion of special education students with cognitive impairments in general education settings, and which boast of the benefits to them of inclusion, do not properly consider the harm to academic outcomes for the rest of the class as a result of their participation.

    It is admirable to be compassionate and provide severely impaired students with opportunities for socialization and a sense of community membership, but it should not be undertaken at the scholastic expense of other students. There are some indications for which separate or streamed education is required, but that seems to be a heterodox position in Canada these days.

    I do not support initiatives which pit the learning experiences of one category of learner against another in a zero-sum way, or which are blind to the social and educational ROI of incremental spending under different delivery models. My child is not somehow less entitled to his per-capita share of the public education budget--or his right to make a year of academic progress each year-- because he is advanced, nor should he be required to take on a quasi-teaching role in a class of students who are not his academic peers. That is totally inappropriate.

    I fear this is the climate in Canada--one which lacks the specificity of design and intentionality of indication-specific educational interventions. Interventions for a deaf child differ dramatically from those for a Down's Syndrome child, a PG child, an English/French language learner, or a child who is violent to peers. (And that doesn't even get into 2+E students.) Yet, with few exceptions, these wildly disparate needs are being expected to be met in a general education setting by untrained teachers.

    It comes down to ideology. Canadian educators seem to genuinely believe that we can, through herculean efforts, engineer equal outcomes across markedly different student populations. We can't, nor should we, even if such actions were feasible. Some students will never be self-sufficient, and it is ridiculous to throw good money after bad into program spending that yields no measurable value under the false belief that reality can be over-written by good intentions.

    I have a dear family friend who has been heavily involved in local spec-ed advocacy for 20+ years on behalf of the Down's community. She believes that her severely mentally handicapped son has the capacity to be a self-sufficient adult, despite ample evidence to the contrary, and has successfully advocated for his inclusion within the general ed population (albeit many years behind age) throughout his educational career, often with a full time aide and other specialized professionals. It is ludicrous to think that more than $75K/year has been directed to staff the shared delusion of a misguided parent and a cowed administration for over 12 years, when compassionate and appropriate care could have been provided for less than half the cost!

    When I conducted a scan of the offerings at K-8 schools in our largest public school board, ALL mentioned inclusion and diversity as their primary objectives. Only three of about 40 even mentioned academic excellence among their operational imperatives.

    aeh--to your question about the provisioning of special education services, resources are generally provided by a designated resource teacher who may or may not have any meaningful training in the special education population(s) in which a child is a member. In my DS' previous school, the resource teacher provided mis-information about steps required for IEP access, and she lacked any apparent knowledge of gifted needs or appetite for acceleration of any kind. To her credit, she was at least forthright in her ignorance, which made leaving an easy decision.

    Originally Posted By: platypus
    We play very well to the middle.


    I respectfully disagree, given provincial PISA score trends in Canada. We play to the second quartile and aspire to the median.
    _________________________
    Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

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    #242496 - 05/01/18 11:31 AM Re: Inclusion models - what works? [Re: aquinas]
    Dude Offline
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    Just to illustrate the cost to advanced students in an inclusion model - DD13 is in an 8th-grade USH class that the teacher describes as half honors students, half students with spectrum disorders of the ASD or ADHD variety. To say DD is getting almost nothing of value out of this class would be a significant understatement. She mostly tunes out of class activities and tries to get homework done for other classes without getting caught by the teacher. If it wasn't for the fact that she has a parent with an expertise in and passion for the subject, she'd be permanently turned off from it.

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    #242508 - 05/01/18 02:27 PM Re: Inclusion models - what works? [Re: spaghetti]
    aeh Offline
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    spaghetti, I think one of the confusions many individuals and districts alike have is that LRE is not synonymous with general ed. LRE is different for each student depending on their needs. LRE for some intellectually impaired students is a sub sep life skills classroom working on functional academics and ADLs, with integration into the general population occurring mainly during travel training on a public transportation system. LRE for some GT students is a sub sep GT classroom with accelerated curriculum. And yes, LRE for some LD students is a general ed classroom with co-taught or push-in special education supports.

    aquinas, you make a good point that there are economies of scale involved in congregated classrooms at both ends of the spectrum, such that budgetary investment in inclusion is an ideological value, not necessarily a true cost-savings. This is one of the reasons that services for exceptionalities at both ends are often better in large urban districts than in small, moderately affluent suburban districts. I see the small districts around the mid-size city from which many of my students are drawn spending 10s to 100s of thousands per kid on outplacements for low-incidence disabilities, while the mid-size city can keep those services in-house, because they have enough to make a cohort, and it becomes cost-effective to hire district professionals. I also see those same small districts keeping mildly disabled students (of many different kinds of disabilities, not just intellectual) in fairly restrictive settings, because they don't have the resources to staff that many co-taught classrooms, so instead, they staff a single generic resource room, where all different disabilities are serviced, not necessarily in a targeted way.

    Unfortunately, there are more districts than I would like out there selling inclusion as simultaneously a cost-savings and a moral good. It might be a moral good (implemented thoughtfully), but it has the potential for being a cost-saving only when general and special education staff are adequately trained for its use--which, of course, costs money, too.

    On a side note, only about 15% (13%, in the 2015-2016 SY) of the school-age population is identified as special education in the US. Once this number starts pushing 20% or more, one ought to ask the question of how adequate core instruction is. (6.7% were ID'd GT in the 2005-2006 SY, which appears to be the most recent year available at NCES.)

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    #242516 - 05/02/18 03:44 AM Re: Inclusion models - what works? [Re: chay]
    Tigerle Offline
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    Registered: 07/29/14
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    Originally Posted By: chay
    Originally Posted By: aeh
    The most successful settings I have seen have staffed all inclusion settings with a minimum of one content (general education) teacher, and one special education teacher, and had ongoing training and follow-up with general education teachers on universal design. Also, inclusive settings are not supposed to ever go over 50% students with special needs.

    I'll quibble with platypus a little in that inclusion does not mean that 25 different special needs students are now split across 25 different classrooms. They are typically clustered in inclusion settings like those described above. This ought to apply to both ends of the spectrum.
    What you are describing aeh would be shot down instantly in my city as not-inclusive. Pretty much any mention of clustering or grouping is a no-go because it isn't deemed inclusive. That in itself isn't the issue but when specialized programs are cut without adding ANY supports for children who are now all back in the regular classroom it becomes an issue.

    (although I do appreciate Tigerle's perspective since it is easy to wallow in our problems and forget that it could be much worse).


    I‘ll go even further and tell you, aeh, that if you were to utter your quibble in any discussion on the topic here that any Tom, Dick and Harry who has ever made it through half an article on the issue but who has an ideological investment will tell you (you!) with great glee and satisfaction that you clearly have NO idea what you are talking about because clearly you are describing an „integrative“ setting as opposed to an „inclusive“ setting, which is SO last millennium. Inclusion being of course exactly what platypus has described, with every teacher being able to meet every kids needs wherever they are, because that’s what teacher do.

    Meanwhile, every single educator who has actually any long term experience in the matter will roll their eyes so hard they almost fall out of their sockets because they know that the model aeh has described is actually the only model they have seen that works.

    Some of you have called inclusion a value system and pointed out, quite rightly, that it cannot be the only value system that education should be based on. However, I am with aquinas and will call it an ideology. The point being that an ideology does not acknowledge other value systems, period.

    Where I am not with aquinas is in the idea that one of the values should be equality in the way resources are shared. There will be children who have medical needs that are so costly you could run a whole classroom with non disabled kids with the money the cost, and they have the right to that disproportionate share. The same goes for resources for the kids who struggle with access to the regular curriculum (which can be more costly than simply saying okay, let’s just change our educational goals for you). Not just a right but probably a good investment of public funds, if there is a chance for regular employment or at least independent living. But the provision for an individual child should, first and foremost, be driven by that child’s needs.

    Then, if you can scale by grouping and clustering, group away, because there is a need to balance the budget, too. Inclusion as an ideology prevents that, of course. Inclusion as an value among many does not.

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    #242517 - 05/02/18 03:51 AM Re: Inclusion models - what works? [Re: aeh]
    Platypus101 Offline
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    Registered: 10/01/14
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    Originally Posted By: aeh
    Once this number starts pushing 20% or more, one ought to ask the question of how adequate core instruction is.


    Ain't that the truth!

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    #242520 - 05/02/18 04:04 AM Re: Inclusion models - what works? [Re: Platypus101]
    Tigerle Offline
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    Having kids on both ends of the spectrum (though my youngest child’s special needs at this point are primarily physical) I would also like to point out that a huge benefit of clustering and grouping (if not necessarily segregating) is the community support.

    I very much enjoyed his years in the spec ed preschool because there were so many parents and teachers that just got it. It is tough always having to be the one who fights and educates, and it was nice being able to profit from the cumulative experiences. I wouldn’t trade those years for anything. DS5 does very well being included in a regular preschool now, but I miss the support.

    However, in order to have a clear eyed view on this, I imagine not only must one view inclusion as only on value mong others, but one must have made their peace with being different, needing to parent, live, plan differently. I suspect that the case Aquinas has described is one in which this has not been possible for the parent. (I know a very prominent case just like it, too). Maybe growing up gifted and raising gifted kids, always feeling you are different and frequently feeling excluded because of it has made this easier. Maybe some of you think this isn’t a good thing in the first place?

    I also think that educational systems should not feel coerced by ideology not to run several models simultaneously. Larger districts can always offer more specialisation, smaller districts can offer only limited choice, with one choice being busing to the larger district/city/whatever or even boarding school. A more inclusive setting can then come with some trade offs, in that they not every school is required to be the educational equivalent of a maximum care hospital, and parents (and, with increasing age, kids) can choose. I meet a lot of teenagers with disabilities who have chosen a special ed setting for high school and/or job training after having been mainstreamed and say they are so happy they are not always the only person with issues („in this school, everyone’s got something and it’s so liberating!“).


    Edited by Tigerle (05/02/18 04:22 AM)

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    #242521 - 05/02/18 04:21 AM Re: Inclusion models - what works? [Re: Platypus101]
    Tigerle Offline
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    Originally Posted By: Platypus101
    Originally Posted By: aeh
    Once this number starts pushing 20% or more, one ought to ask the question of how adequate core instruction is.


    Ain't that the truth!



    Finlands schools actually identify about 50% of students as needing special ed at some point from 1st to 9th grade. It appears to work very well because the general ed/content teacher or whatever they are called can focus on aiming instructions at the 3rd quartile, because they know that students who struggle temporarily or constantly will be taken care of and it’s Not. Their. Job. It appears to work quite well, looking at their PISA results.

    I also read that Finland does cluster, group and segregate at the lowest end of the spectrum. Which might go to show that here is another system that has decades of experience at managing a large range of diversity in a mostly inclusive and doing it well, but which has acknowledged the limits.

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    #242529 - 05/02/18 08:55 AM Re: Inclusion models - what works? [Re: spaghetti]
    Tigerle Offline
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    Originally Posted By: spaghetti
    I always bring to mind when thinking of these things, a student I knew as an infant who had a birth anoxic injury and was quite bright but unable to walk or sit, or speak, or turn pages of a book.


    This is one of those cases that should IMO be a no brainer - a bright child who needed physical access, both to the building and to the mainstream curriculum, to succeed. Quite different to Aquinas‘ example of a child that 8s severely mentally disabled and no amount of physical support can change the fact that the child cannot understand the mainstream content offered to age peers.

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    #242530 - 05/02/18 09:36 AM Re: Inclusion models - what works? [Re: aquinas]
    Tigerle Offline
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    Originally Posted By: aquinas

    She believes that her severely mentally handicapped son has the capacity to be a self-sufficient adult, despite ample evidence to the contrary, and has successfully advocated for his inclusion within the general ed population (albeit many years behind age) throughout his educational career, often with a full time aide and other specialized professionals. It is ludicrous to think that more than $75K/year has been directed to staff the shared delusion of a misguided parent and a cowed administration for over 12 years, when compassionate and appropriate care could have been provided for less than half the cost! .


    This is probably one of those cases where inclusion has prevailed as an ideological imperative rather than one value that needs to be weighed against other values. Though I disagree about the proposed solution because I hold this value dear as well:


    Originally Posted By: aquinas

    When I conducted a scan of the offerings at K-8 schools in our largest public school board, ALL mentioned inclusion and diversity as their primary objectives. Only three of about 40 even mentioned academic excellence among their operational imperatives. .


    It is a scandal - if academic excellence isn’t a value proposed by the school, is it even a school? An educational establishment? Or could it just as well provide compassionate and appropriate care?

    But if you believe in academic excellence in education, in offering every child a chance to maximise their academic potential, compassionate and appropriate care is not enough for anyone, not even the severely mentally handicapped. Maximising academic potential in this case could mean being able to read simple words, so they can read street signs, make sense of a bus schedule, recognise danger signals and gauge the importance of written communication even though they have to ask someone for help in understanding it. The question should bem in which educational setting might this happen best?

    If one were to recognise both values, inclusiveness and academic excellence, one could also see the weighing shift according to the age level. 3-6 is where social learning has much greater weight than academic learning and where full inclusion can prevail, high school is when academic learning needs to be the priority in a conflict between those values. Elementary level might go one way, middle school level another.

    But educators and others who insist on inclusion for social without even acknowledging that academic concerns might exist scare me.

    Originally Posted By: aquinas

    Originally Posted By: platypus
    We play very well to the middle.


    I respectfully disagree, given provincial PISA score trends in Canada. We play to the second quartile and aspire to the median.


    Can you elaborate in that? In an international context, Canada appears to successfully play at least to the third quartile (from the bottom), if not the top. Am I misunderstanding the metaphores here?


    Edited by Tigerle (05/02/18 09:40 AM)

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    #242532 - 05/02/18 10:29 AM Re: Inclusion models - what works? [Re: Tigerle]
    chay Offline
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    Originally Posted By: Tigerle
    This is one of those cases that should IMO be a no brainer - a bright child who needed physical access, both to the building and to the mainstream curriculum, to succeed. Quite different to Aquinas‘ example of a child that 8s severely mentally disabled and no amount of physical support can change the fact that the child cannot understand the mainstream content offered to age peers.
    I think this is at the root of the issue with the implementation of inclusive education where I live. There is no recognition that there are differences between those two examples and any attempt at questioning whether that is truly what is best for a special education student lumps both into a one-size fits all bucket. I think the points about it becoming an ideology are also dead on. The goal has become full inclusion for pretty much everyone but the most extreme outliers.

    I think what really needs to happen is to really think about what inclusion actually means. As stated above, part of the problem is that schools did such a horrible job implementing special education programs in the past that were essentially dumping grounds. When you're coming from that as the alternative, then even poorly executed inclusion is seen as an improvement. However, when you think about what could/should be done for some groups we could do more (and often more efficiently). As some have pointed out above, is inclusion really the best thing for the child when it means that they are occupying the same physical room but have academic needs so divergent from any other person in the room that they are effectively a class of 1 within that room that a teacher much provide curriculum for? How is it possible for each and every teacher in the system to be trained and passionate about dealing with every possible exceptionality and provide appropriate remediation and/or curriculum? Back in grade two, the non-verbal child with ASD and my PG child were both not getting much at their level as they listened to one teacher. Yet to even suggest streaming or clustering is deemed elitist or even as discrimination.

    To go even further inclusion here is being in a classroom full time with kids born in the same calendar year. No child is ever held back and acceleration is essentially impossible.

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    #242534 - 05/02/18 12:07 PM Re: Inclusion models - what works? [Re: Platypus101]
    aquinas Offline
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    Tigerle, very interested to respond to your thoughtful posts. Reply forthcoming!
    _________________________
    Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

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    #242535 - 05/02/18 12:11 PM Re: Inclusion models - what works? [Re: Platypus101]
    aquinas Offline
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    Registered: 11/02/12
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    Originally Posted By: Tigerle
    Can you elaborate in that? In an international context, Canada appears to successfully play at least to the third quartile (from the bottom), if not the top. Am I misunderstanding the metaphores here?


    Just a quick reply because it's a glib answer!

    In my province, more than half of grade 6 students don't meet provincial standards for math, which are purportedly the standards required for promotion from one grade to the next, despite being above-average on PISA. I was missing "vs" in my post. It should have read "provincial vs. PISA" scores.
    _________________________
    Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

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    #242546 - 05/03/18 04:34 AM Re: Inclusion models - what works? [Re: Tigerle]
    Platypus101 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/01/14
    Posts: 665
    Loc: Canada
    Originally Posted By: Tigerle
    I meet a lot of teenagers with disabilities who have chosen a special ed setting for high school and/or job training after having been mainstreamed and say they are so happy they are not always the only person with issues („in this school, everyone’s got something and it’s so liberating!“).


    This is a really important point. Our district has two high schools that provide vocational programming. Last year, the board decided they needed to save those kids from the horror of exclusion and re-integrate them into the regular high school system. Each high school would add a course or two designed to meet the needs of "those kids" (ahem). The kids themselves raised holy cain, for exactly the kinds of reasons you quote above. Many of them described (hmmmm.... just like our gifted kids do when they finally get into a gifted classroom) feeling for the first time in their life like they belonged, like they weren't freaks or defective, and that they were actually both learning and discovering they were capable of working hard and succeeding. Under no circumstances did they want to go back to being "included" in their community.

    Board staff kept calling it "segregation", with all the happy connotation of that word. But the kids called it choice and belonging and success.

    I believe our system is convinced that if we don't label anyone, then no one will be labelled. But our kids are labelled, by others and by themselves, when they don't fit in, when they can't do the work others are doing, when they struggle to be like the others and fail. And those labels tend to be pretty awful. We need to ask the kids, and listen to them - because it seems to be the parents who are terrified of the labels, not them. Most of the kids I've heard speak embrace their labels, because they help them access an environment designed to enable them to be successful.

    ETA: And that's another throw-back to the even worse old days - - - when a label got you dumped in a back room and written off. There are reasons parents are terrified of labels, and their own educational experiences are high among them. I spend a lot of my time trying to convince scared parents that an LD label is a wonderful thing, as long as it is being used to help your child, not give up on them.


    Edited by Platypus101 (05/03/18 04:42 AM)

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    #242547 - 05/03/18 06:03 AM Re: Inclusion models - what works? [Re: aquinas]
    Platypus101 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/01/14
    Posts: 665
    Loc: Canada
    Random bit of data from PISA, looking specifically at how immigrant students do in various countries: "immigrant children in some OECD countries lag more than two years behind their native counterparts in school performance". OECD concludes (my emphasis): "In some countries, such as Canada and Australia, immigrant children perform as well as their native counterparts. But in other countries, notably those with highly tracked education systems, they do substantially less well."

    PISA reports consistently note that tracking is bad for kids - but look at what tracking means: "They tend to be directed to schools with lower performance expectations, often characterised by disadvantaged student intakes and, in some countries, disruptive class-room conditions. In all but four countries under review, at least 25% of second-generation immigrant children attend schools where immigrants make up more than 50% of the roll-call."

    Which goes back to - the problem isn't the grouping, it's what we do to kids once they are grouped.

    http://www.oecd.org/general/oecdeducationsystemsleavemanyimmigrantchildrenflounderingreportshows.htm

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    #242570 - 05/04/18 04:01 PM Re: Inclusion models - what works? [Re: Platypus101]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4230
    A few thoughts on the 2006 OECD report...
    1) Some countries have official language(s) in which all government functions are conducted, including teaching in government schools.
    2) Some countries provide numerous financial supports which may, unfortunately, in some cases have an unintended side-effect of providing a disincentive to do well in school.
    3) Some countries may have nationally controlled education systems, while others prefer local State control.
    4) Some countries enforce immigration processes with selectivity and controlled numbers of persons which their economy can assimilate and their schools can support... others may have open borders with no selectivity and no limit/control for number of persons.

    Aside from the report indicating the quality of education per se, these and other factors may have an impact... resulting in apples-and-oranges comparison. Rather than focusing on who's at the top, it may be beneficial to consider variables at play, including motivational variables.

    In the context of this thread, a few thoughts on inclusion and grouping for instruction... for anyone who may not already be familiar with these...
    1- http://www.casenex.com/casenet/pages/virtualLibrary/gridlock/groupmyths.html,
    2- web search on Gentry Total School Cluster Grouping TSCG (one current link is http://nrcgt.uconn.edu/newsletters/spring964/),
    3- http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.3102/0034654316675417.
    4- book: Total School Cluster Grouping (TSCG), 2nd ed, 2014, Gentry.
    5- book: School Cluster Grouping Model (SCGM), 2008, Winebrenner/Brulles.

    A few posts upthread seemed focused on special ed disability... the USA has laws protecting persons with disabilities... summarized well by the helpful advocacy website wrightslaw, for anyone who may need assistance/direction with a special ed disability issue.

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