The current “special ed” system isn’t working, says this American special education specialist in an opinion piece published on ThinkInclusive.us. “What we have today are fragments and pockets of schools and communities that ‘do inclusion’ well. The vast majority of places, however, are either unwilling to implement inclusive classrooms or lack the resources to know where to start.”
Then again, when the formula is right, research shows inclusive education benefits every student in the classroom. CHIME Charter School in Los Angeles has been an example of successful inclusive practices for more than 25 years. CHIME provides instruction for three groups of learners: “typical,” “gifted,” and “those with special needs.” This is all delivered in a general-education setting, with the supports, services, and educators necessary to help all students.
“Imagine there’s no special education — nothing “special” or “separate.” Every teacher gets the same training as every other teacher. We must remember that those specialized instruction strategies that we are supposed to use with “special ed” kids — well, it turns out, they are good for everybody, says Tim Villegas. “Instead of ‘special ed’ money and ‘general ed’ money, there should only be ‘education money,’ and it should help all students.”
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