Education Week - November 15, 2017 - 12
Data Adds Nuance to Inclusion Debate
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
only students with disabilities who are causing the misbehavior. In fact, when teachers reported having few or
no misbehaving students in their classrooms, the time
spent teaching evened out-no matter how many students with disabilities they had.
"If a parent is concerned that their child will lose
teaching time because there are kids with disabilities in
that classroom, it isn't because those kids with disabilities require more instructional time," said North Cooc,
an assistant professor of special education at the University of Texas in Austin. "There is something about behavior that is driving teachers to spend less time teaching, and it appears separate from these other disabilities,
such as learning disabilities or language impairments,
which are the most common."
Cooc presented his findings, derived from the 2013
Teaching and Learning International Survey, during
a recent webinar sponsored by the American Institutes for Research. He is working on expanding the
findings for publication in a research journal.
The survey, conducted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, gathered responses from about 121,000 teachers in 38 countries
and regions. The respondents were teaching at levels
that correspond to junior high school in the United
States, and schools solely for students with disabilities were not sampled.
Special education students in the United States are
included in general education classrooms in greater
numbers than ever before-between 2005 and 2014,
the percentage who spent 80 percent of the day in
general education classrooms rose from 54 percent
to 63 percent.
The inclusion percentage is higher for the most
common disabilities: About 87 percent of students
with speech and language impairments, and 69 percent of students with specific learning disabilities
spent 80 percent of their day in general education
The movement toward inclusion has prompted concerns, Cooc noted. For example, the pace of inclusion
has outpaced the number of teachers trained to teach
students with special education needs.
And then there are worries from parents, Cooc
said during the webinar: "What I hear most about
are parents concerned that the pace of learning is
slowed down in more-inclusive schools. That was the
motivation factor in this study: Is that true?"
Louis Danielson, a managing director at AIR and
a former special education official at the U.S. Department of Education, said the findings reminded him of
his days as a novice teacher at a junior high school:
Though he had little experience and was not yet
fully certified, he was assigned the "lowest classes of
the lowest-achieving kids," he said. Only after a few
years was he assigned to honors classrooms.
"The least well-prepared teachers got the toughest
kids," said Danielson, who participated in the AIR
webinar with Cooc. "This is the reverse of the way
it should be."
According to Cooc's analysis of the international
data, teachers who said they had no students with
disabilities in their classroom said they spent 81 percent of their time on actual teaching. In contrast,
that dropped to about 69 percent of the time for
teachers who reported having 31 percent or more
students with disabilities in their classrooms.
The difference between the two was likely due to the
amount of time spent maintaining classroom order.
Teachers who said they had no special education
students in their classroom reported spending about
10 percent of their time on keeping order, compared to
about 23 percent of their time spent keeping order for
teachers whose classroom makeup included 31 percent
or more students with special educational needs.
Mary Brownell, a professor of special education at
the University of Florida, said that the international
findings are relevant for the United States.
Brownell leads the federally funded CEEDAR
Center, which stands for Collaboration for Effec-
AND INCLUSION WORLDWIDE
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
Internationally, teachers who have a lot of
students with disabilities in their classrooms
have less training and experience than their
peers who don't teach a lot of students with
special needs. Teachers with a high percentage
of students with special needs also tend to spend
less time actually teaching than educators who
don't have any students with disabilities.
YEARS SPENT TEACHING
Teachers with no special-needs students:
Teachers with more than 30 percent
Teachers with no special-needs students:
Teachers with more than 30 percent
KEY TO HOW CLASS TIME IS SPENT
n no special-needs students
n 1-10 percent students with special needs
n 11-30 percent students with special needs
n more than 31 percent students with special needs
CLASS TIME SPENT ON ACTUAL TEACHING:
CLASS TIME SPENT ON KEEPING ORDER:
CLASS TIME SPENT ON ADMINISTRATIVE TASKS:
SOURCE: North Cooc, University of Texas at Austin
tive Educator Development, Accountability and
Reform. She noted that teachers in the United
States are often not given enough support to create differentiated and engaging instruction, and
sometimes lack knowledge of positive classroom
management techniques. And educators also have
to be prepared to teach students how to self-motivate and self-regulate.
"We often limit the bulk of teacher development
to preparation, and do not support them sufficiently
when they enter the classroom," Brownell said.
Allan Mendler, the author or co-author of 17 books
including When Teaching Gets Tough and Discipline
with Dignity, says one important move for teachers is
to get to know the most challenging students, even if
they make themselves hard to like.
And he also advises teachers to avoid letting students derail a lesson.
"One of the best ways to stay on task is to let your
kids know that some days there will be some misbehavior. But in this class, because instruction is so
important, your policy is more often than not to not
stop class," said Mendler.
Clare Russell, a middle-school inclusion teacher
in Kingman, Ariz., said part of her classroom management technique is to know the subject well, to
make expectations crystal clear, and to have multiple plans if a lesson starts to go off the rails for
"The struggling teacher needs to decide that they
are in charge, because a lack of confidence can be
smelled by students-sounds odd, but I swear it is
true," she said. "Kids who are a behavior problem are
extremely socially canny."
12 | EDUCATION WEEK | November 15, 2017 | www.edweek.org
Parents 'On Their Own'
In Fla. Voucher Programs
who are attending its schools with
the help of taxpayer funds. This
despite the fact that the state's private schools collected more than
$825 million last year for tuition
expenses, paid for by public money
and tax-credits for businesses.
In the Florea family's two-year
odyssey through Florida's private
school choice programs that has
followed, the first school Jessica
attended closed down. Another refused to enroll her because she was
too far behind academically. And a
third school expelled her midyear in
a dispute over bullying.
"The private schools get to do
whatever they want, but they're taking the state's money," said Florea.
A Sound Investment?
Nowhere has private school choice
been embraced as much as in Florida, a state that has led the charge
in rewriting the rules of traditional
education in recent years. With
140,000 students using vouchers or
tax-credit scholarships, more children attend private schools there
with the help of the state's three
private school choice programs than
in any other state. States across the
country have adopted many of Florida's policies both on school choice
and public school accountability.
And U.S. Secretary of Education
Betsy DeVos holds up Florida as a
model for the rest of the nation.
Plans from President Donald
Trump and DeVos to create a federal private school choice program
have hit roadblocks, but there's a
strong push to create new voucher
programs in some states and expand existing programs in others.
That's raising critical questions over
how well vouchers and other similarly-styled policies serve students
and whether there are guardrails
in place to ensure the public money
being sunk into private school choice
is a sound investment.
Findings from a string of recent
studies in Indiana, Louisiana, and
Ohio border on alarming, showing
that students who attend private
schools with the help of public
money may end up doing worse
after they leave their public schools.
But school choice advocates vigorously argue that parental demand
for private school choice proves that
it's working. Excessive state oversight, they contend, undermines
private schools' ability to be flexible.
And there's no better system of accountability than the market-style
kind that comes from giving parents
the freedom to choose schools.
Critics counter that a lack of state
oversight puts voucher students-
many from poor families or with
disabilities-at serious risk of falling even further behind.
Florida's first foray into private
school choice started in 1999, and
its oldest, continuously operating
program is the McKay Scholarship,
which provides tuition vouchers of
up to $7,000 to students with quali-
fying disabilities. When families use
a voucher to enroll in private school,
they give up, knowingly or not, most
of the protections that federal law
requires for special education students. If a private school decides
not to admit a student, or to ask a
student to leave, there's little legal
recourse for parents to challenge
"Parents apply to a private school,
they say, 'Yes, we will take your
child,' and the parent un-enrolls
from the district and is basically
out on their own," said Michelle R.
Davis, a special education expert
and consultant based in Florida.
"There is no oversight."
It's a tradeoff parents in Florida
and other states have made in pursuit of a better education for their
children, including Erica Florea.
One Family's Odyssey
Jessica, 14, looks like a child who
has grown up on the beach. She has
wavy, sun-streaked hair and a broad
smile. She also has deep scars on
her ankles, knees and thighs from
two leg-lengthening surgeries, the
second of which put her in a wheelchair for eight months last year.
"She loves life," Florea said of
her daughter. "She loves the beach.
There's nothing she won't try."
But school has not come easy.
Getting the McKay Scholarship,
Florea said, gave the family new
hope for Jessica, who first enrolled
at Jupiter Academy, a private school
near their home. But halfway into
her first year, Jupiter Academy announced it would close. The next
school, Jupiter Christian School,
took McKay recipients, but did not
admit Jessica. She tested behind
grade level and the school couldn't
meet her needs, officials told Florea.
So, for the third time in less than
year, the family began a search for
a new school. They landed at Providence Education Group, a small
school on the second floor of a shopping center above a sandwich shop.
Providence's assessment of Jessica's
skills found she was reading at a
4th grade level and doing math at a
3rd grade level.
At Providence's suggestion, Jessica switched for the 2016-17 school
year to Florida's newest private
school choice program-the Gardiner Scholarship, which gives students with more severe disabilities
roughly $10,000 a year and more
flexibility over how they spend the
money. Initially, Florea was pleased
with Jessica's progress. But her optimism evaporated when, she said,
students began making fun of Jessica's small stature.
Things went downhill as Florea
complained about the bullying and
accused the Providence staff of ignoring the problem. She took matters into her own hands, confronting
one of the students she believed was
harassing her daughter. (Officials
at Providence Education did not respond to multiple requests for comment.)
In late spring, Providence officials
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - November 15, 2017
Education Week - November 15, 2017
E-Schools Adapting to Transgender Students’ Needs
In Florida, Laissez-Faire Approach to Monitoring Private School Vouchers
New Survey Details Effect of Inclusion on Teaching Time
Are States Changing Course On Teacher Evaluation?
News in Brief
Teaching Parents the Right ‘Questions to Ask’ in Schools
Rising Food Allergies A Challenge for Schools
GreatSchools Expands Its Ratings on Schools
Study: Do Parents Need a Reason To Go School Shopping?
SNAPSHOT: Single-Gender Education
New Mexico Offers Teachers A Seat at Policymaking Table
Repercussions for K-12 From Democratic Election Gains
GOP Tax Plans Could Affect K-12 Aid, Teachers’ Pocketbooks
A One-Year Scorecard for Trump On K-12 Campaign-Trail Promises
A Primer on the Teacher Tax Break
Emily Phillips Galloway, Paola Uccelli & Christina Dobbs: The Power of Precise Language
Adam Urbanski, Tom Alves & Ellen Bernstein: Without Teacher Input, Ed. Reform Is Doomed to Fail
William Sterrett: Time Is a Principal’s Most Limited Resource
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
Elaine Weiss & Christopher T. Cross: Education’s Golden Rule
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - Are States Changing Course On Teacher Evaluation?
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - Cover2
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - 3
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - Report Roundup
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - 5
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - Teaching Parents the Right ‘Questions to Ask’ in Schools
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - Rising Food Allergies A Challenge for Schools
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - GreatSchools Expands Its Ratings on Schools
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - Study: Do Parents Need a Reason To Go School Shopping?
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - SNAPSHOT: Single-Gender Education
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - 11
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - 12
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - 13
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - 14
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - 15
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - 16
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - New Mexico Offers Teachers A Seat at Policymaking Table
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - 18
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - GOP Tax Plans Could Affect K-12 Aid, Teachers’ Pocketbooks
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - A One-Year Scorecard for Trump On K-12 Campaign-Trail Promises
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - A Primer on the Teacher Tax Break
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - Adam Urbanski, Tom Alves & Ellen Bernstein: Without Teacher Input, Ed. Reform Is Doomed to Fail
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - William Sterrett: Time Is a Principal’s Most Limited Resource
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - Readers React
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - 25
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - Cover3
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - Elaine Weiss & Christopher T. Cross: Education’s Golden Rule