As an elementary school teacher, I think it is important to place children by ability. Now, I am not saying all low achieving students should be together, nor should all high achieving students be placed together. Rather, low achieving students should be placed together with average achieving students and average achieving students placed with higher achieving students. It is virtually impossible for a teacher like me, who is teacher 7 disciplines a day, to reach all students at their ability level. That said, reduce one ability level and it makes it easier for ALL children in that class to learn and understand. It isn't fair for the lower achieving student to have MORE WORK(workshopping) because they didn't "get it" during whole class instruction, anymore than it isn't fair that those high achieving students have to drag their feet waiting for their peers to understand a concept. I spent one year teaching a group of students from special ed. to gifted. I don't know if anyone was successful, but will tell you that my gifted students suffered. It is not fair to put students with learning disabilites(severe) in a classroom with students who are gifted. It simply isn't fair to either group.I work in a school with almost ALL free and reduced lunch so that is not a factor.
I read an article several months back tht Finland was going back to all special education schools, similar to what Peoria had years ago, Sipp School. Being an educator , I know that the kids who need special services are being poorly serviced. Many students would be much farther along academically. Many of the special education students, in particular LD students, get little to no individual attention. The "inclusion model" is a failure b/c with this model comes cost and no one is willing to pay for it. I think Finland may be on the right track.
Maybe around this area inclusion isn't working but there are many, many, many districts world-wide where it DOES work. I've found that it's usually the "gifted" kids who are given more work than the special ed. kids. What does work? Looking at children as individuals with unique learning styles, backgrounds and needs. Students are NOT test scores or percentile rankings. Partnering students who are weaker in reading with teachers who have demonstrated innovation in their classrooms. Weak in math? Same thing.What's the old adage? If you think education is expensive, try ignorance. Free/reduced, gender, and ethnicity have no place in the decision making process. Parent requests should be considered if/when there's a potential conflict.
I very much agree with the first Anonymous. Groupings with only two levels instead of with the top and bottom extremes makes much sense.
What doe free lunch have to do with it?
Impoverished children often have parents working several part-time jobs, leaving children either with a babysitter or an older sibling. These children don't always get the support at home for homework. Before someone goes on a rant, I have worked with impoverished children for more than 20 years and this IS a trend that I see. More often than not, these children do not return homework, notes, or supplies needed to make them successful students. I am not blaming anyone, I am stating a fact. This is the reason children are divided up based on free/reduced lunches.
IMO the free lunch criteria is about "class distinction" it is code for what zip code the children come out of, knowing children from certain zip codes (poor) are more apt to get free lunch.
Free lunch only speaks to a child's economic condition, not to ability to learn, readiness for advanced work, or behavior. While stuggles in school and poverty most often go hand and hand, it should not be one of the criteria for class placement, if the process is somehow designed to achieve ability grouping or balancing of classrooms. Everyone should be given a skills assessment and let the chips fall where they may.
The free lunch thing- if the school sits within a good neighborhood, and kids from an economically disadvantaged neighborhoods are bused in, they will more than likely receive free and reduced lunch. This criteria sets up the possibility that the kids from the good neighborhood will all be placed together, leaving the free and reduced kids to all be placed together.
Anonymous @ 1:45, so what is your point. Is it WRONG that kids from a good neighborhood or bad neighborhood are all placed together? Have you ever heard of NEIGHBORHOOD schools. I went to one in the 60's, so what! Unless you have worked in a neighborhood where $100 sneakers are MORE important that PAYING for your child's FOOD, you don't know what you're talking about. I have student who miss two days of school so they can get their HAIR DONE. Many people of poverty need to learn how to deal with finances. I am tired of buying school supplies for my students when they show up with money for candy and cell phones. PRIORITIZE people.....PRIORITIZE. What is NEEDED and what is WANTED...
Teach 150 - I think you are misinterpreting what "Anonymous 1:45" is saying. Don't think they were suggesting that "rich" kids and "poor" kids get separated. Actually, probably just the opposite.I think the "free lunch" distinction is based on the fact that we want classrooms that have lots of diversity. At a school like Hines or Whittier, where there is likely a heavy mixture of low-income and middle-income kids, you would hate to see classrooms segregated by economic class, right? As a parent of a D150 child, but who is "middle-income", I appreciate the diversity of our school. If I wanted my children to attend a school full of kids that looked and were just like them, I would have done just that.
what does 'free lunch" have to do with it? most schools in 150 are all free lunch for some reason
Hey Just Sayin' -Nicely stated.
Here's why inclusion doesn't work in D150: teachers spend way too much time addressing bad behavior. Period.
Janet S: I agree. Teachers do spend too much time dealing with poorly behaved students, BUT, for some reason, most Sp. Ed. inclusion teachers think they are aides. What I mean by that is they walk into a classroom and ask the classroom teacher, "what do you want me to do"? My answer is, "I don't know, how about YOUR JOB". Lots of "walking around" doing a bunch of NOTHING. That's what it looks like to me anyway.
Anon: were you seriously trying to make me laugh out loud?? Because THAT'S WHAT I DID!! You NAILED it on the head!!! One of my kids had exactly that one year, so if I were you, here's what I would do.....you call a meeting with your grade level team (because I know you're just sitting around with nothing to do!) and you ask that person, in front of your other team members, to clarify what his/her duties are in the 'regular ed' classroom. Then have that person clarify 'inclusion' for you. Express your frustration, because if you don't (during that meeting) you could be held accountable down the road should a student's IEP not be followed. After the meeting, YOU DOCUMENT THAT YOU HAD IT. If the special ed teacher will not cooperate to a meeting, or in any other way, YOU document YOUR actions so that you will not be held accountable. It's a serious thing when a special ed teacher is not following an IEP. Parents could start due process, according to Illinois law. If you DO end up documenting because of the special ed teacher not cooperating, then CALL THE COORDINATOR OVER THAT PERSON!! Have the coordinator instead come in to have a meeting with your team to clarify things. I realize, Anon, that YOU are not confused about what should be going on, yet this is the only diplomatic way to bring it to light, and it SHOULD be done (a meeting) in order to keep with Illinois law. I would share some horrifying things that happened to my own kids while in 'inclusion', but I have to move on with my life and drop the anger. I hope this helps. If not, let me know. I have TOO MUCH experience dealing with IEP's in 150. Thank you.
I'd like to clarify: in my previous comment I want to be clear that this DOES NOT apply to ALL special ed teachers!! It's just that for some reason, my family has had to put up with some real DUDS in the past years...I could name MANY who were not that way. It just so happens that the worst offender was the one who did the most outrageous things...things for which my family could have sued and won hands down...luckily that person is no longer with D150, and if that person should ever be employed by any other district (they're not) I will do whatever I can to go before the Illinois licensing board...
Being a special ed. teacher in an inclusion classroom is tricky. There are still many regular ed. teachers opposed to having a second teacher in the classroom and treat the sp. ed. like an aide. Other reg. ed. teachers have expected me to work with just the IEP students and ignore everyone else. Others have ignored me period and refused to work with me. Whenever I start co-teaching with a different reg. ed. teacher, the first thing I do is talk to them about their room and expectations then I ask them what they want me to do. It gives me a good idea of how receptive they are to sharing their rooms with special ed. teachers. Their answer shapes how I interact with them and work with them. It also lets me know if I have to educate them about the law and professional collaboration. Co-teaching was taught at my university when working towards my degree, and I actually had projects that depended on co-teaching when student teaching. I've met various new regular ed. teachers who have no clue what co-teaching is and need to be filled in. Ideally, I love working with the regular ed. teacher to plan lessons together and present lessons together. If the regular ed. teacher doesn't want the special ed. teacher in there, the students pick up on that. I've been in my share of classrooms where the students are rude to me, refuse to listen to me, or ignore me and my co-teacher does nothing about it. These have been my experiences personally, and I'm not trying to generalize them for everyone. However, I just wanted to give perspective from a frustrated special ed. teacher.
As a regular division teacher, I have had several opportunities to "work" with sp. ed. inclusion teachers. Although we are considered a "team", I wrote ALL the lesson plans, took students to and from music, art, etc., took lunch count and attendance, and dismissed all students at the end of the day. Does TEAM only apply to the students the sp. ed. teacher works with? That has been MY experience.
I'm sorry I did not add this: yes, my family had it's share of 'lousy' special ed teachers, yet I can say that the really good ones also had THEIR share of 'regular ed' teachers who treated them with contempt.One thing I've learned about D150: the atmosphere of 'fear' from administration is so rampant that many 'good' people are prevented from working together. There were definite times when I caught the drift that 'A' would work with 'B' but not 'C' because 'D' was watching...do you get the idea?Honestly, I've never seen a school district treat its employees so badly...'A' would refuse to work with 'C' because 'C' was 'in good' with 'D'...as a parent this was SO PAINFUL to watch because I witnessed so many good people not able to collaborate and was stumped by it until I realized the atmosphere of 'fear'And as I've said before, many times, good people do not speak up and have said to my face, "Janet,I'll lose my job". How revolting a situation! Therefore I've always tried to take on as a parent the role of saying what could not be said on behalf of all the 'anons' and attach my full name to it to hopefully show SOME people in D150 that I wasn't ever afraid of their 'crap' before and am still not afraid of it. I do know that it takes both sides to make inclusion work, and I've certainly seen both sides do their share of performing abysmally at times, but until the atmosphere of 'fear' is eliminated, I don't see this changing anytime soon.
I swear Janet. Sometimes I wish I could vote for you on our school board.
With tbe new eval system, dont expect things to get better anytime soon. Many more excellent teachers will be leaving at end of this school year. They are DONE with 150.N
Anon, I am greatly humbled by your statement about the school board. I appreciate the feedback. Only those higher than me know the real reason my family was relocated, because I sure don't know why...although I have a hunch. For now I will continue to add my unvarnished accounts of truth from my experiences in D150 where relevant. In doing so I hope to add to the legitimacy of all the 'anon's who post here. I've seen way too much and in every instance took the high road, and I'm grateful for this blog for allowing me a format in which to relate my story. Thank you.
It will continue to be a cesspool in 150 as long as teachers are not allowed to teach, given support by principals/vice princpals and a carpetbagger administration on Wisconsin Avenue. Teachers and special education teachers are pitted against each other in this district with different rules put out every year if not every month. I know in one school were the special education teacher is encouraged to work against the classroom teacher and hinder this teacher in everyway. Thus, no learning can happen because the students say they don't have to listen to the regular teacher at all, do any assignments, tests and behave in class. Thus, the regular and gifted students included in the classes see and hear this from the special/IEP/504 students-as well as hearing it directly from the special education teacher-they then say why should do anything or follow any teacher based rules if certain students can refuse, disrupt, disrespect regular division teachers. And remember this is encouraged from administration to principals and certain teachers to encourage this behavior. What will happen is that good teachers who have taught without playing games or makintg excuses for social promotion of students will be harmed and labled as unsatisfactoy or needs improvement, and will be fired. While those who keep giving out high grades with no accountability and just pass students On will remain. Very soon, if it is not already here, Peoria, Illinois will have the same reputation as NewYork City wete 80% of hignh school graduates can't read/comprehend the material they need to be successful adults and college students. 8 teachers--4 from the East Bluff, and four from Manual quit already this year over these games and personal smears. Those who stayed did so because they still believe in something of teaching. But this district will break them, they will not allow them to trasfer, will continue to put teachers in bad situations and grade levels not trained at qualified for, and destroy their reputations so they can't teach in 150, but unable to get employment elsewhere. And before someone says UNION--they have been bought and paid for by this administration and will not help or support teachers in true teaching practices since that requires integrity. And as for the public, they are never in the buildings or classrooms and helping or outraged by student and parent defiance of behaviors and verbal and physical attacks that happen daily to teachers. We can't even get substitutes in some buildings because of the allowance of these behaviors and total lack of support from administratin/principals. Thus, classes are split increased in size, and now more unruly than before. Yet, remember it is all the teacher's fault for having standards and holding to them
Amen Anon & Janet! As a teacher in D150 I'm absolutely terrified of being black balled because of saying something that is true and shedding a negative light and calling attention to the travesties we face on a daily basis. I've worked with numerous special ed. teachers over the years and was blessed to co-teach with amazing people. It is a shame that admin uses sped teachers as subs in classrooms allowing and knowingly disservicing our students with IEP's. When one steps up to stand up for their students, that teacher or teachers are labeled as trouble makers and given a negative evaluation. What is worse is that our students see the discord and how we as teachers are disrespected by admin giving students an upper hand and they in turn disrespect us knowing there will be no consequences. What is it going to take to really make changes? Our students are running amuck with horrendous behaviors (threatening teachers, walking out of our classes, bullying, fighting, gang action, etc), lack of parental support is at an all time high and climbing and the teacher morale is at an all time low. We also have several amazing principals and asst. principals in D150 who have been reduced to doing nothing because they cannot suspend students. All I want to do is teach, yet I do not get to do that anymore because I'm trying to maintain peace. My colleagues feel the same and because we need to provide for our families, we are too scared and are stuck. (Call me Anonymous 2)
Anonymous 2, you have summed it up. I'm so GLAD you posted! I could put many a great teacher and administrator's names behind your comment..you've said it all...the school board needs to stand up to all this...THAT'S where change will START...the buck stops THERE AND THERE ONLY.
If the school board isn't upset by Dr. Lathan's untimely effort to take textbooks away from students for barcoding and an inventory, then I don't know what it will take for them to wake up to what is happening in this district.
Why not check with Peoria County ROE. Ask them to give you a list of everything D150 is doing that is ILLEGAL....I guess laws only apply to every other district.
I am beginning to believe that the School Board is deliberately trying to ruin the district so that the state can take over. They can't be that blind to everything that is going on.
So sad. No discipline because there is no accountability except for teachers. How can any teacher teach with no discipline in the school or District? Has any school board member visited ANY school lately? Does ANY school board member ever talk with a teacher? It is a war zone. Someone please help. We love our students but can not teach due to the environment.Signed: 150 teacher
Anon2, You are so correct! Another problem is that students can do or not do whatever they want, and they know they will get promoted to the next grade, even if they fail all subjects. The principals aren't allowed to hold them back or make them accountable, but are told to hold the teachers accountable for their students' grades. Teachers have students for a very short time, and if parents don't do their job, which most don't, there is no way teachers canmake up for lack of parenting. This district is graduating people who are illiterate. The school board is worse than useless, administration is made up of people that are completely clueless, and school staff is stuck in the middle. This is a no win situation for teachers who really want to teach.
An observation: anon, you comment about the school board possibly trying to get the state (gag) to take over...take a guess at who it undermines....
...would be interesting to see whether or not the board would be obligated to buy out Lathan's contract should the state take over...
I see the tribal mentality is still alive with the D150 commenters on this blog.
Anon, keep ranting....
This is something for those that criticize schools and teachers:If you don't take care of your teeth properly, do you then blame your dentist for not keeping your teeth healthy? If you don't change the oil in your car, keep tires inflated, or have other maintenance done, do you blame your auto mechanic for not keeping your car running perfectly? If you spill coffee on your suit jacket, do you blame the dry cleaners? If you bag your own groceries, put too many groceries in a plastic bag, and it breaks on the way out to to the car, do you blame the grocery store? If you don't eat right, or exercise, and end up gaining weight, or developing health problems, do you blame your doctor for not keeping you healthy? If you get a speeding ticket or parking ticket, do you blame the police officer? Then why do you blame the teachers and the schools if students don't do their homework, misbehave in class, thus not achieving? Something to think about.
We make our class lists based on those criteria only to ensure that there is an even amount of each in every classroom and that no one classroom gets a majority of 1 type of student.
Dennis, I like your challenge of comparisons, so I'd like to present some to you: (all these things happened either to me or someone close to me)What if the dentist pulls the wrong tooth?What if the mechanic takes drains out the old oil, but doesn't put in new?What if the dry cleaners gives your suit jacket away?What if the grocery store sells you bad meat?What if the doctor doesn't diagnose the noticeable cancer in your body?What if the police officer throws you against the police car and pats you down just because of the color of your skin?
And so I would add: What if a superintendant no longer allowed expulsions?What if a special ed teacher is not following an IEP?What if a school administration is not allowed to discipline bad behavior?Something also to think about.
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