Stanley L. Swartz, Ph.D.
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Yaneli Montelongo
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I believe that teachers are responsible for meeting the needs of each student in their classroom.  However, I also understand why many general education teachers feel overwhelmed now and even more so if they were to be expected to also teach special education students. Most general education classrooms consist of more than 28 students and adding special education students to that number would be beyond exhausting and difficult to teach. Adding students with special needs would also add a huge amount of work.  If people were to expect general education teachers to take on students with special needs, then they first need to work on classroom reduction. Because of budget cuts, many classrooms are filled with sometimes 35+ students. It is ridiculous to expect more individualized instruction for special needs students when teachers are already overworked with students who don’t have disabilities.  If they add special education students to a general education classroom, then they will also need to provide the same classroom with a special education teacher so that all of the students’ needs are met. Of course, I understand that we do need to include special education students in the general education classroom for some time. It is important for them to experience a general education classroom and to be accepted as “normal” individuals by their peers. It is extremely important that general education students understand that these students are just like them in many ways. Inclusion of special education students in the general classroom will also help reduce bullying because students will learn compassion and tolerance by having general education students know and familiarize themselves with their peers. However, if we are going to require general education teachers to take on the instruction of the special education students, then extra help needs to be provided for these teachers; just like it is provided for the special education teacher. This way they will at least have the tools they need to provide each student with their individual needs.

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