BTU member Alliberthe Elysee is a sheltered English immersion kindergarten inclusion teacher at the Henry L. Higginson K-2 Elementary School in Roxbury. She writes about inclusion done right in CommonWealth:
BOSTON TEACHERS ARE passionate about fulfilling the promise of every child, and that’s why we support robust inclusion programs. Inclusion means that every student has an equal opportunity to learn, no matter his or her skills, abilities or learning styles.
It’s not just an admirable goal, or a proposed pathway; it’s the law. Our Commonwealth’s special education law requires that students be taught in the least restrictive environment possible. The law requires a per-pupil allocation to serve students with special needs.
But on the ground, in schools across the city, this is often not the case. That’s because the dollars that should be earmarked for students with special needs are not following the students into the general education classroom. In many cases there is just one teacher in a room of students with a wide variety of physical, emotional, medical, and learning disabilities.