Local News

Parents Push to Retain Small Special-Ed Classes

Posted April 30, 2007

Map Marker  Find News Near Me

— Parents and advocates for disabled children are lobbying against a proposal to lift size limits on special education classes.

The State Department of Public Instruction sees class-size requirements as constraints, and proposes to eliminate teacher-student ratios for special education. A class of seven students with autism, for example, is required by state rules to have one teacher and two assistants.

But advocates for children with special needs, especially autism, worry this move will lead to bigger classes with fewer teachers.

"School systems are often strapped, and we think this would allow them to justify larger class sizes," said Jill Hinton Keel, executive director of the Autism Society of North Carolina.

DPI officials said they feel that school systems need more freedom to design special-ed classes. But with the requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind, they said they doubt any school system would actually increase the size of the classes.

Keel said she agrees with the philosophy, but she expects unintended negative consequences.

The proposed changes to class size are part of a longer list of proposed changes state officials are considering.

27 Comments

Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • Lee May 2, 2007

    Yeah Pooh, I can see Your point. I believe Parents should have the final say in I.E.P.'s. Let the "Professionals" make their recommendations, but You know Your child's Ability better than anyone.
    On Parents going overboard....I see both sides of the coin. You have severe limitations that need such guidelines and then Like Your son, Hey I'm good if You take the test!Ha! Keep it apporiate for the child.
    This one size fits all mentality is so outdated and we have evolved as a society to do more for Our kids. Keep advocating for Your child it's the right thing to do!!!!

  • poohperson2000 May 2, 2007

    Road Dog

    Well said. Who are the schools to decide what level of teaching a child should recieve. It is okay that some kids are behind, they all can not be the same. The one issue I have with IEP's is there are certain circumstances I have heard of people being assigned someone to take notes for them. And let me tell you, these are not kids as severly disabled as Crisp describes. I will be cautious to monitor what they put in my son's IEP and the services he is to receive. I do not want him to get older and have someone pratically doing the work for him. I do think these more drastic IEP's are about parents who have gone off the deep end though.

  • Lee May 2, 2007

    The bottom line is that All Disabilities have a different levels of cognitive ability. Wake County has one thing right, teach Children according to their I.E.P. not to their disability.
    That is the point to Crisp. They all learn differently and it is ok to teach children 2nd grade Math even if 1 of them is Autistic. You can't just throw them away because they have a Label. What about their Self esteem? Since You care so much abut the Drug addicts!
    I have an idea Since the parents of Normal children don't have as many extra costs as those with a disabilty, Why don't they send there kids to private schools and we can have the public schools all to ourselves. Sound Fair? Same thing Crisp wants!!
    His Idea was going to cost more than a school nurse who is paying for that? You can leave if You don't want Your Normal kids dragged down by our Special Needs kids. By the way my daughter just learned to draw in straight line in Pre K I hardly think she will be doing a line on Brag street.

  • Lee May 2, 2007

    You are so right Crisp!!!!! I would love an Island far away. You would not be bothered with Special Needs issues, I would not have to deal with ignorance such as Yours. Can Your Tax $$$ do that?

  • 2little2late May 2, 2007

    honda,crisp, and refi..do you guys also kick your dog on a regular basis just to make you feel better?

  • refiman May 1, 2007

    Sorry, if larger classes are okay for the rest of the students, they're okay for special ed. classes too. They want to be treated equally, but differently. can not have it both ways.

  • Steve Crisp May 1, 2007

    One more thing to RoadDog...

    What I propose would cost far more in tax revenue than mainstreaming. But it would give these kids a chance in life, a chance they do not now have because of mainstreaming. Remember, setting up a networked set of special schools would take highly customized facilities, specially trained teachers and administration, and medical care that far exceeds anything found in the school nurse. So no, I am not advocating dumping. I am advocating teaching special needs children in proper environments so that they have a fighting chance to overcome those disabilities.

  • Steve Crisp May 1, 2007

    And mind you that I am not speaking of purely physical disabilities. There are many people who are horribly disabled, but who are geniuses. They need special accomidations in mobility and sensory information input. I am speaking here of those kids who are mentally or psychologically challanged whether they have physical disabilities or not.

    Trust me, I would have loved to have gone to my physics classes and share a bench with Stephan Hawkings.

  • Steve Crisp May 1, 2007

    Now look at it from the other perspective. Suppose you have a handicapped student that is being forced into mainstreaming with non-handicapped students. Those non-handicapped students are now being dragged down to the academic level of the handicapped student. How fair is that? Why are we penalizing academically able students to pace at the lowest common denominator? Any parent of a non-handicapped student should be up in arms that their kid is being taught at the pace of someone who can not learn.

  • Steve Crisp May 1, 2007

    Unless a child is truly and significantly mentally disabled, by all means, start them in kindergarten and let them work their way up. Disabilities, though, will eventually show up as they begin lagging behind their peers. At that point, they need to go to a special school facility. Those with mild disabilities can continue their academic track with additional help and not detract from non-handicapped students. Those whose conditions are moderate can be taught vocational skills, forgetting any pretense of academic training. Those who develop severe disabilities simply need babysitters while professionals do the best they can to keep them as happy as possible. None of that can be accomplished in a regular, non-mainstreamed school. More...

More...