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Cleveland May Have to Hire More Spec. Ed. Teachers

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The financially strained Cleveland school district may be forced to hire possibly hundreds of special education teachers in order to comply with a union contract, according to a recent story in The Plain Dealer.

The local teachers' contract requires that inclusion classrooms, which educate students with and without disabilities, have a general education teacher and a special education teacher present full time, an arbitrator ruled last month. The schools often end up sending special education students to special rooms for extra help. The decision resolved a complaint filed by a 3rd grade general education teacher, the story in the Cleveland newspaper said.

Teachers' union officials told The Plain Dealer that the ruling could mean that the schools must hire up to six special education teachers per school. District and union officials are currently in talks on how to comply with the decision, the story said.

10 Comments

BRAVO! Now, what will be really telling is if the two teachers in the classroom are able to forge a working relationship with one another--as opposed to just dividing up the kids.

I believe that inclusion within the classroom is extremely important. Children with disabilites need to be pushed to their full potential and inclusion within the classroom helps them extremely well, studied research shows so. Also, inclusion is very important for the main stream students as well as allowing them to cope and accept students with disabilites and work together. Everyone can learn from someone else. And in response to your comment, many early ed. classrooms have more than one teacher, the teachers getting along should have nothing to do with anything. The children's education is the main focus and everyone will have to work together.

Kallie--while I agree in the abstract that teachers getting along should not be the issue, my experience leads me to believe otherwise. Many special education teachers are surprisingly resistent to a role in the regular education classroom due to a fear that they will be downgraded to the status of merely an aide. I have seen this in practice. One year my son had an incredible inclusion experience, team-taught by two teachers who elected to work together. The following year, this team was not available. When I insisted that his IEP specified an inclusion classroom (the rest of the kids were just shuffled back to a resource room), what we got was a woman who sat in the room, ignored by the regular ed teacher, who also ignored my son. He saw the two of them as being an annoyance he wanted nothing to do with.

I also know from experience that this can create an issue. But the teachers need to take it upon themselves to handle this situation. Aides are extremely important within the classroom. A teacher situation can happen within any type of classroom, such as students not getting along with the teacher, or teachers favoring certain students. This isn't just shown within a inclusion classroom. I think its horrible that at some schools students do not get the chance of inclusion. I think it's so important to the students and gives them all the oppurtunity to work together, as a team. Not just seperating kids because they are "different" or slower. I go to shadow the classrooms and it kills me to see the special education classrooms have children with sereve cases of add in a classroom with kids who are compeletely non verbal and are not unable to comprehend. Why is it okay for the sped classrooms to have their students education capped due to other students, while the mainsteam classes cannot take a chance on mixing in students that this may be their chance to progress.

Although the students education is the most important thing in the classroom, I agree that teachers getting along is also very important. If and aide and a teacher don't get along at all, then the students will pay attention to their disagreements rather than actually learning. More than one teacher in the classroom greatly improves students success, i believe because if one teacher is busy with one student; then the other is free to help others as well.

In response to the last post, I would have to agree. I believe the relationship between teachers and aide's is very important. Having an aide helps the teacher and students achieve more, and it also takes some stress away from the teacher, so they can focus mainly on their lesson plans. Also if a teacher and aide constantly are in disagreement, the learning environment for the children will be unpleasant and nothing will be accomplished. As a student studying Psychology I have come to find relationships between people are very important especially in a work environment. This is true in a classroom setting, because children especially at a young age learn by example. If they see their teachers arguing, they will think that this is acceptable behavior, and in turn the children will copy what they see from their teachers. This will later affect their ability to interact with people in a positive manner.

This is very true in my opinion. I am also a student; but I am majoring in Early Childhood Education. I believe what you teach younger children is a very critical part of their education because that is the age where they soak up all sorts of different things; whether its in the classroom, socially, and especially in the household. It's the most important stage in what they are learning, and thats where bad behavior can be repeated. That's why I think its very hard for teachers to work with younger children, because even if you say one thing wrong, or start to talk about morals, it will be repeated to the children's parents; which can cause many problems. Everyone has different morals and ways parents teach their children; but thats a touchy subject that teachers should try to avoid.

Teaching morals to children is also a very touchy subject as well, I agree with you yet again. Our country is composed of so many different cultures and backgrounds that you have to deal with this situation very delicately. Being in a class room is very hard when dealing with this subject, because the kids may not be affected by what you say. But they do go home to their parents and tell them what hey learned that day. If something offends the parents, they will confront you about it, whereas the children most likely won't. Parents are very touchy when it comes to teaching their children, and if they feel you are teaching their children opposite to what they believe, you can have a major conflict.

Yes, that's one of my concerns on becoming a teacher. It's sometimes easy to let something slip out of your mouth that can lead to unwanted confrontations with a parent. Morals are something that I think should be taught by parents/family. There truly are many different cultures in the U.S. that makes it hard to teach certain things, especially on younger children.

I just want to note that co-teaching in an inclusion classroom is not an issue of a teacher and an aide, but of two teachers. The regular ed teacher is the content "expert" while the special ed teacher is the pedagogy "expert." As I noted, I have seen this work both well and poorly. But one of the factors that seems to spell death for the situation is to define the role of the special education teacher as that of an aide.

Christina--your thoughts on what little kids take home to their parents made me smile--because it is such a two-way street. My daughter teachers Sunday School and one of her pre-schoolers announced to the class, apropos of nothing in particular, that her daddy is in jail. Fortunately we know the family well and it is a small class and we could all laugh over it. But little eyes and big mouths seem to go together!

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