Mary has spent decades working as a teacher, mostly in public high schools and with at-risk and special-needs kids.
She recently resigned as a public high school teacher in Southern California and took a new job, helping kids in a different capacity, but not before writing a simple, heartfelt letter on some of the many grievances she had with public education.
Here it is:
Dear Public Education,
I am a firm advocate of inclusion. I think every kid has the right to be fully included to the extent that it is beneficial and appropriate FOR EACH CHILD.
Taking every child with a disability and putting them in a mainstream class with an aide or co-teacher or not isn’t inclusion. It is a cost-saving measure. Putting a child with an IQ of 75 in a college prep class and then wondering why they struggle and feel stupid is just mean. I get differentiation-I’ve been doing this a long time, but you can’t demand college prep instruction and then tell me to differentiate them for every child who can’t do it… it’s confusing…frustrating…teachers always feel like they aren’t doing enough but can’t possibly do anything else.
Putting 10 kids on IEPS in one class and calling it a cluster is not an inclusion program. It is overload. Assigning a co-teacher and then taking them to cover classes, oversee testing, constantly go to trainings, etc. is not providing service to the child. It is a box that is being checked.
I’m sure there are exceptions to this rule. However, I have worked for five districts and advocated in 11….. Thanks to those who are trying to make a difference.
Just more of my musings on education.
This letter was originally posted on Facebook and reprinted with permission.