Kathryn Nieves

VIA20

NJ, USA

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Challenge

As a special education teacher, one challenge I am currently facing is the idea of inclusion for students with disabilities. In school districts all around the country, students with disabilities are still being excluded from opportunities with their peers, placed in alternate settings, and made to feel separate from the school community. Across the country, inclusion rates are still low and the percentage of time spent within general education dramatically varies based on the specific disability classification. Furthermore, general education teachers are not adequately prepared to work with students with disabilities nor participate in co-teaching situations. While some special education training programs offer courses on co-teaching or require co-teaching field experiences, general teaching certifications often lack these opportunities. As a result, any inclusion initiatives set forth by the district are doomed for failure because of the lack of training and preparation. Despite the research that shows that inclusion is beneficial for both students with disabilities and their peers, providing these opportunities has been relatively ignored or poorly executed in districts, leaving special education teachers to still fight for their students to be included.

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