New ideas for special education

Atlanta school leaders will conduct an audit of its special education programs. School leaders say the audit – which could take up to a year to complete – will help the system come up with better ways to serve special education students.

We’ve blogged about special education issues before. Students enrolled in these programs vary widely. There are those with minor learning disabilities and children who may never learn how to read or write.

Atlanta school leaders are looking to improve the graduation rate and test scores for students with disabilities. One idea floated is to mainstream more special needs children with regular education students.

Many argue that isolating special education students makes them feel inferior, causing them to do poorly in school and drop out.

Others say assigning these children to traditional classrooms puts a strain on the teacher and other students. They say teachers spend so much time working with the few special education students in the class that the other children are neglected and don’t learn as much.

How can schools improve their special education programs?

66 comments Add your comment

jim d

May 27th, 2009
8:53 am

” makes them feel inferior”??

OMG, let’s not do anything to hurt their little feelings–let’s just lower standards and reduce providing for kids that are there to learn instead!

Now there’s a plan that’s sure to work—-NOT!!

dbow

May 27th, 2009
9:07 am

This is a very thorny issue. I’ve been on both sides of it so I know. Whenever I hear talk about a kids feelings and/or self esteem, I start to cringe. As a teacher I am not responsible for a students self esteem. As I tell them, self esteem comes from setting goals and working hard to achieve them. It’s the work that creates high self esteem, not me patting you on the back and saying good boy or girl. As for special needs kids, they are a drain on the class and the teacher, but I say that with caution. Not every special needs kid needs more help than a “regular” kid. The ones that do, need a special program apart from the mainstream. Parents want their kid to feel good about themselves and don’t care about the teacher or the rest of the kids. These parents are doing everyone a disservice. The spineless admin that allow it just to shut the parents up are equaly to blame. This issue isn’t going to go away any time soon. The pendulum has swung way over to the parents side with the creation of IDEA and schools are being held hostage as a result.

Ernest

May 27th, 2009
9:11 am

Since we just blogged on this, I decided to post a portion of my comment from that day:

The ’spin’ is that ‘mainstreaming’ and ‘collaborative instruction’ is going to benefit all students however I have not heard from one teacher that speaks favorably about that.

I’ve heard that centers actually provide the best environment for those with profound needs. For those classified as LD or BD, I would defer to the recommendation of the IEP team regarding how to provide the best learning environment for the child.

This generally comes back as a funding issue which is being scrutinized heavily these days. I did not realize school systems provided services to children as young as 3. My neighbor is a speech pathologist and indicated she visits day care centers to provide services. One could rationalize that this early investment of our tax dollars makes sense to possibly curtail instructional problems down the road.

Kim

May 27th, 2009
9:19 am

I agree, jim d. Hey! I rhymed! We don’t need anymore strain on the teachers and kids already in the classroom. When I was in the classroom I spent the majority of my time dealing with sped kids. Yes, they were out of the classroom sometimes, and I did co-teach with a sped teacher for part of the day (1 hour), but the majority of the time it was only me. It was extremely difficult. It finally was easier to take early retirement than to try to stay any longer.

mystery poster

May 27th, 2009
9:23 am

I would think it would make them feel even more inferior to be with a bunch of students they couldn’t possibly keep up with.

Gwinnett Parent

May 27th, 2009
9:37 am

How about this for starters – reduce subgroup size state rule for NCLB so kids in elementary and middle schools with disabilities actually are counted, diagnose children with learning or behavior concerns early with competent independent professionals who are not tied at the hip to the school system. Err on the side of parents as to placement, and then use real and meaningful data to evaluate progress, often, more so than once a year. Get serious about allowing kids to reach their full potential unencumbered by low expectations that many schools set for the kids. Hire teachers who have demonstrated commitment to kids with disabilities. Stop thinking that ADD and ADHD are just cop out diagnoses. Stop using RTI as a method to avoid diagnosis for middle and high school students. Have smaller classes all around – and give teachers a huge amount of training and support. There has to be cost effectiveness with training teachers and supporting them; lower teacher turnover, lower student disciplinary rates, higher student achievement and a more competent staff overall.

Dr. Craig Spinks /Evans

May 27th, 2009
9:42 am

Another internal audit? Let’s hope not. How about Atlanta public school officials’ going outside our state for experienced, highly competent, and disinterested evaluators to run a SpEd audit in their school system? But why stop with the ATL public school system? There are 179 other Peach State public school SpEd programs which could use impartial audits by folks who are NOT good ole boys and girls.

jim d

May 27th, 2009
9:45 am

Rep. Trent Franks, quoted in World Magazine (Apr. 9, p. 48):

“The American educational system is one of the last experiments in socialism left on earth and, on its present course, it will take its place in the succession of socialist wreckages that litter the highway of human history.”
——————————————————————

But ya know what? That can only happen after total and complete failure. Keep going folks–you have it headed in the right direction.

HS Teacher, Too

May 27th, 2009
9:56 am

jimd, you make me laugh. I don’t disagree with you, mind you — but your 9:45 comment put a smile on my face. So, thanks for that!

jim d

May 27th, 2009
10:12 am

John Dewey, known as “the father of modern education,” was an avowed socialist and the co-author of the “Humanist Manifesto.” The U.S. House Committee on Un-American Activities discovered that he belonged to 15 Marxist front organizations. Dewey taught the professors who trained America’s teachers. Obsessed with “the group,” he said, “You can’t make socialists out of individualists. Children who know how to think for themselves spoil the harmony of the collective society, which is coming, where everyone is interdependent.”

dbow

May 27th, 2009
10:38 am

Mystery poster, you’re 100% correct. One of my closest friends has a special needs child, and he echoed those exact words. His daughter has the abilities of a second grader and she’s now in high school. The school put her in a regular class and she was aware enough to know she wasn’t supposed to be there. She felt terrible and she knew she didn’t belong. My friend found out and raised holey hell. She’s in a life skills clall and coudn’t be happier. When school administrators finally grow a pair and stand up to these misguided parents, maybe it’ll get better.

FultonTeacher

May 27th, 2009
10:57 am

Gwinnett Parent well said!

Evil Old English Teacher

May 27th, 2009
11:44 am

dbow–I’m surprised the SCHOOL misplaced the child w/out the parent’s knowledge. My experience has been just the opposite. That is, parents demanding little Cindy Loo be put into a regular classroom and just not be held accountable for any of the work. If I try to impose my silly educational ethics into the matter, they bring out the lawyers and accommodations and IEPs (oh my!) Sadly, all of the time I spend individualizing Cindy Loo’s educational plan, is time I’m not devoting to Sally Loo who is on level. Don’t even ASK how little is devoted to helping gifted kids in a regular classroom. Sad…

TW

May 27th, 2009
12:55 pm

I am so thankful I don’t live in an area where the public schools are as horrific as the ones mentioned on this blog! My kids public schools were great! And what about all the highly successful individuals out there who also attended public schools? I’m not doubting that the public schools in your neck of the woods are terrible. But maybe instead of whining on a blog, you ought to get a decent job so you can move to an area where the public education is much better? Maybe your sore about your inability to make a decent living and have decided to take it out on public schools? Or, maybe you got picked on when you were in school?

Don’t know – don’t care. I just know that there are great public schools out there. That’s a fact!

VOICE

May 27th, 2009
12:59 pm

Jim d, You’re tearing it up again! Now, back to my vacation. AHHHH!:)

[...] Get Schooled | ajc.com – [...]

rj

May 27th, 2009
1:20 pm

“Maybe your sore about your inablity to make a decent living and have decided to take it out on public schools?” Actually the first YOUR should’ve been you’re as in you are!

V for Vendetta

May 27th, 2009
1:36 pm

I’m sorry, Laura. I thought you said mainstream MORE SpEd students. Haha!

What? Oh, you DID say that? S#$t!

Feelings, feelings, feelings . . . who gives a flying fornication about feelings!? Does your boss care about your feelings or about the results you produce? Do other children–often the most ruthless people with which your child comes in contact–give a rat’s posterior about his or her feelings? Do colleges care about his or her feelings? This isn’t rocket science. Watch, I’ll solve the whole issue right now:

SpEd students who are capable of doing the work and acting in an appropriate manner within the context of a mainstream classroom may be placed there–e.g., many students with Asperger’s. The rest should be placed in a separate classroom focused on their particular needs–e.g., EBD (parents didn’t spank enough), ADHD (parents didn’t spank enough), Remedial Reading (parents didn’t read to them), or low-functioning Autistic (why are they in regular school to begin with?).

Erin

May 27th, 2009
1:52 pm

Mystery poster and dbow have it right … how can it possibly be helping the “self esteem” of special education students to know they’re nowhere near the same level of knowledge and ability as other students in the same class?

jim d

May 27th, 2009
2:28 pm

TW,

just because your kids got a great education is no indicator of what happened to others in the same system.

Wake up and smell the coffee–more oft than not some students get an education in spite of the system!!

ShoeShee

May 27th, 2009
2:38 pm

As a parent of a child with learning disabilities, as I read the crass and mean-spirited comments above, I am heartened that after several years attempting to use our local, highly-regarded public school, I chose to send my child to private school. We found a wonderful private school that specializes in LD (there are quite a few in the metro area) and finally – she blossomed. The public school teachers at the school she had attended through 3rd grade had no training in the brain-based teaching techniques or the Orton–Gillingham, Lindamood Bell or Fast ForWord reading methods along with several other very progressive teaching methods employed at all of the private specialty schools I interviewed. Public schools are not teaching children with special education correctly at all – they pretty much just babysit. I once witnessed the “interrelated” teacher allowing a child with autism to stretch out between a file cabinet and the wall and proceed to bang his head on the cabinet for several minutes. My child’s former “interrelated” teacher had a masters degree in special education from UGA and I learned more at the private schools about LD than that public school teacher ever knew. I attended several enlightening seminars on learning disabilities hosted by the dyslexia society or LDA or the National Assn’ for LD, which would feature university research scientists and new teaching techniques. And when they would take polls, out of the thousand plus parents and professionals in attendance, I probably saw less than 5 public school teachers total – ever. I have even offered to pay for their ticket to the conferences, which they have all declined.

My point is – we are comparing apples and kiwis! Public schools need to find out what private schools that specialize in LD, ADHD, CP, Autism, etc are doing and then try to replicate it. The difference right now is literally the difference between success (private) and failure (public).

For research and information you can count on, check out this group –
http://www.ncld.org/

ShoeShee

May 27th, 2009
2:39 pm

As a parent of a child with learning disabilities, as I read the crass and mean-spirited comments above, I am heartened that after several years attempting to use our local, highly-regarded public school, I chose to send my child to private school. We found a wonderful private school that specializes in LD (there are quite a few in the metro area) and finally – she blossomed. The public school teachers at the school she had attended through 3rd grade had no training in the brain-based teaching techniques or the Orton–Gillingham, Lindamood Bell or Fast ForWord reading methods along with several other very progressive teaching methods employed at all of the private specialty schools I interviewed. Public schools are not teaching children with special education correctly at all – they pretty much just babysit. I once witnessed the “interrelated” teacher allowing a child with autism to stretch out between a file cabinet and the wall and proceed to bang his head on the cabinet for several minutes. My child’s former “interrelated” teacher had a masters degree in special education from UGA and I learned more at the private schools about LD than that public school teacher ever knew. I attended several enlightening seminars on learning disabilities hosted by the dyslexia society or LDA or the National Assn’ for LD, which would feature university research scientists and new teaching techniques. And when they would take polls, out of the thousand plus parents and professionals in attendance, I probably saw less than 5 public school teachers total – ever. I have even offered to pay for their ticket to the conferences, which they have all declined.

My point is – we are comparing apples and kiwis! Public schools need to find out what private schools that specialize in LD, ADHD, CP, Autism, etc are doing and then try to replicate it. The difference right now is literally the difference between success (private) and failure (public).

Reality Check

May 27th, 2009
3:24 pm

“Public schools need to find out what private schools that specialize in LD, ADHD, CP, Autism, etc are doing and then try to replicate it. The difference right now is literally the difference between success (private) and failure (public).”

ShoeShee is a GENIUS and probably doesn’t even realize it! Forget the replication…take it one step further; revise the popular push for vouchers for regular education (all) students and pay for all of our special education students to go to the aforementioned wonderful private schools. I would show up at 5:00 AM to vote in favor of that! Then the continual disruptions that take place in the classroom due to the IDEA “great” idea would certainly be significantly diminished AND special education students could THRIVE in their new surroundings!

Yes, I am a public school teacher!!

V for Vendetta

May 27th, 2009
3:28 pm

ShoeShee,

It would be interesting to know some specifics: what type of LD are we talking about, why is your local public school so highly regarded yet unable to meet your needs, and does the private school whose virtues you extol mainstream students or teach them in a separate environment. You see, public school is required to be all things to all people, which is precisely why it fails. It’s not shocking to me that teachers turned down your invitations. The amount of inane garbage on our plates at any given time precludes us from partaking in many activities that would be far more beneficial. However, without knowing any specifics, it’s hard to comment on your particular case.

jim d

May 27th, 2009
3:34 pm

Shoe,

I understand your dilema but on the other hand it occurs to me that placing students with special needs into general education classes demonstrates reverse discrimination for general education students.

do you believe it could ever satisfy a cost-benefit test for one person to die a terrible and tortured death in order to alleviate the headaches of billions of others by one second?

To me the answer, is yes.

The clearest reason I think that we should trade a terrible and tortured death of one in order to alleviate the headaches of billions is that we do this everyday. Coal miners, for example, risk their lives to heat our homes and to generate the electricity that drives this blog. We know that some of them will die horrible deaths but few of us think that we are morally required to give up electricity.

I personally apply the same tenet to education. If you find that crass and mean-spirtited—so be it.

TeacherTeacher

May 27th, 2009
3:54 pm

To ShoeShee’s point – isn’t that the point of these private schools that cater to students with learning disabilities? They can spend the time because they have more time and resources to specialize? It’s not that public schools can’t do some form of special education instruction, it’s that there is a mixed bag in any given class of abilities, ranges, etc.

I would LOVE to be able to specialize, but we have this crazy thing called differentiated instruction so that we teachers can try to teach all levels in one class. That’s what public school is about. Public school also is mandated by “FAPE” – Free, Appropriate, Public, Education. You can’t tell them they have to serve everyone and then criticize them for not being able to specialize.

ShoeShee

May 27th, 2009
4:12 pm

You are correct, TeacherTeacher. I personally, don’t think that simply placing special education students in a regular education class is the answer. And yes, there are many vocal parents who are pushing that agenda. For my child, it did work in classes that were relatively small (20 or so) in public school and then there was a QUALIFIED interrelated teacher in the class, who would offer clarification later in the day in a small group environment. Also, there are small classes (8-10) available in our local high schools – staffed with teachers who are qualified to teach special education as well as their subject material. It’s expensive – but it works pretty well in high school. The big deal there is – students better have darn well learned the basics in elementary school in order to keep up. I am saying that they are not getting what they need in the early years which is intense, direct reading instruction. Reading and comprehension is key in middle and high school.

ShoeShee

May 27th, 2009
4:22 pm

Actually, the private schools don’t have more resources – the public schools do. However, the private schools utilize far different teaching techniques and styles. Also, the fact that they are all together, helps, IMO. I guess you could call it a self-esteem issue. At least they don’t feel heckled and stared at when they ask an off the wall question – and their questions get answered – which results in learning. I would advocate for replicating small learning environments (classes) within a regular school where crossover occurs in classes like art, music, PE, library media, etc. Heck – wouldn’t that be best for everyone? Sort of like the old SRA — that certainly worked back in the day. You should be educated at your speed with like-minded learners, IMO. I’m sure there are those who would call that politically incorrect or discriminatory – but I would almost guarantee it would be more effective – at least for my kids (one with LD, one gifted).

ShoeShee

May 27th, 2009
4:25 pm

I understand and appreciate your dilemma TeacherTeacher, but I’m not talking about what “is” – I’m talking about my opinion of what I’ve seen work – at least for my child. I basically agree with you – you can’t teach everyone the same thing in a different way at a different speed at the same time.

catlady

May 27th, 2009
4:51 pm

ALL kids should be eligible for a Free and Appropriate Education, not just sped kids. And frequently the needs of the two are not the same. There ARe some sped kids who can be a part of a regular class and no one is hurt. However, with the application of RTI only the most terribly severely handicapped kids get sped assistance. The rest, with real learning or behavior problems are dumped, undiagnosed, on the general classroom and its “regular” kids with a large array of problems/deficits.

To compound the problem, sped aids are given only to the most severely handicapped, for limited amounts of time. So the teachers and fellow students face the problems brought by the sped kids without any real assistance.

Regular ed kids’ education is being sacrificed to save money, to make folks feel good, and to be pc. NONE of those are reasons to allow it to continue. 10% is not worth sacrificing the other 90%.

I notice that, in my county at least, the only students pulled out for special instruction are the GIFTED. To h3ll with the rest.

tracy

May 27th, 2009
4:52 pm

i work in the school system and i see it every year special needs parents demanding that their child be placed in regular class and principle to afraid to speak up a child who wears a diaper in 3rd grade and teacher have to make sure the child stays dry all at the same time getting 3rd graders ready for crct so they can move on to 4th grade and not have to go to summer school

tracy

May 27th, 2009
5:17 pm

i have another example of why it is not a good idea an ebd student put into regular class he chokes another student until that child blacks out the ebd student mother says he has rights what about the rights of the regular students who have to sit through his tantrums and have the learning time taken away so the teacher can deal with him and make sure he meet his iep goals and guess who got blamed for the choking incident the teacher for not reacting faster give me a break i got tons of stories

be realistic

May 27th, 2009
5:44 pm

Special needs can differ. Some high functioning students may benefit from mainstreaming, but lets face it: for some students, success is not going college, success is living independently and perhaps holding down a job ( there was a great article in the AJC a few weeks ago on how Public and other companies employed special needs individuals in positions such as grocery baggers after they completed a job training program). For students who realistically will not succeed in a college prep program due to their special needs, why are we forcing them to sit in a chemistry class? It makes more sense to focus on life skills – I’ve worked with an individual who had great pride in their success at moving from bagger to cashier at Wal Mart! This took just as much effort for this person as others may find in moving from analyst to a supervisor position. There is no shame in that, and if the schools would help special needs students succeed at a job that lets them strive to maximize their ability, it seems like everyone benefits.

W Copeland

May 27th, 2009
6:12 pm

I have written my comments several times and erased them. My only comment is that everyone be aware that the term special education is very broad. You can be talking about a kid with an IQ over 100 or a kid of the same age with the IQ of a three-month old.
Be specific when you talk about special ed kids.

W Copeland

May 27th, 2009
6:14 pm

be realistic…..your comments are exactly right! The state of Georgia also needs to quit counting a student who GRADUATES with a special education diploma as a DROP OUT!

flipper

May 27th, 2009
6:43 pm

Can we get some vouchers around here for regular ed and gifted kids so that schools will finally be forced to teach the kids who will actually grow up and create jobs? If we had universal vouchers we wouldn’t have to deal with this garbage.

Lee

May 27th, 2009
7:36 pm

Well, you can forget about any meaningful reforms or revocation (better yet) of the hideous Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). All the SPED proponents have to do is wheel a disabled kid in front of a Congressional panel and they will get whatever they want. No politician in his right mind would risk the adverse publicity of voting against that constituency.

You want to improve public schools? Group by ability and deal with the troublemakers.

It’s really that simple.

… and that’s precisely why it will never happen in today’s hyper-sensitive, politically correct public schools.

Lee

May 27th, 2009
7:44 pm

Oh yeah, yesterday we blogged about the explosion in the number of Catholic schools. Today we blog about mainstreaming even more SPED students in public schools.

Coincidence?

Slight of hand

May 27th, 2009
8:24 pm

The AJC wants to pretend it’s interested special eduaction at APS all the while ignoring the story that has been featured multiple times on 11 Alive News about the lawsuit against APS in regard to a special ed student?

Yet another example of the slanted agenda at the AJC, and why people are flocking to other sources for their news coverage.

ZachsMom

May 27th, 2009
8:30 pm

Just because a child has ADHD does not mean that they were not spanked enough. All children learn differently and public school has a problem when your child can’t sit still in a desk all day and do paper work and then they label them a trouble maker.

dbow

May 27th, 2009
9:00 pm

No offense to the parents on this blog, and if you are insulted, too bad, but unless you are in the classroom you have no idea what it’s like. I know you want the best for your child, but what you perceive as the best and what the reality is are two different things. You may think that your child’s disability is a reflection on you or your parenting skills, I don’t know, but forcing them into a regular class when they are clearly unable to keep up is cruel to everyone involved. Taking advantage of the spineless administrators is not going to help anyone. Public schools have to take all comers regardless of any mitigating factors, so to extol the virtues of private schools when they are in the position to refuse students entry is a dishonest comparison.

irisheyes

May 27th, 2009
9:09 pm

Gwinnett Parent, please don’t blame RTI on the teachers. It comes to us from “on high”. I know for a fact because I had a student who I KNEW was LD after only three weeks in my class, but I had to go through the 16 – 20 week RTI process before I could even get him tested. That took a month, then another month for our SPED teacher to actually write a decent IEP (one I had to correct since she had written really bad goals) before he could start getting specialized help. Trust me, if it had been up to me, he would have been receiving help by October.

BTW, my son has ADHD, and it’s certainly not because he hasn’t been spanked enough. I just administered yet another spanking because he refused to go to bed. I gotta get that child his own room!

ScienceTeacher671

May 27th, 2009
10:58 pm

Who in the state decided that misusing RTI for older students was a good idea? Whoever it was obviously never read any of the actual research on RTI.

V for Vendetta

May 27th, 2009
11:32 pm

ZachsMom and irisheyes,

Maybe you’re just not spanking right. :-) See, when my dad spanked me, I tended to stop whatever it was that I was doing. Oh, and having to sit still for extended periods of time is not an excuse for acting out or disrupting a class. If anything, it’s evidence of YOU coming up with excuses for your kid and enabling him or her to act like a 5hithead in class. The days of old school discipline are long gone, aren’t they?

Mom3Thugs

May 28th, 2009
2:28 am

I live in DeKalb County. That Crawford Lewis is on the run now. That MACE teachers union is kicking his _ss!

jim d

May 28th, 2009
6:50 am

W,

Correct you are.

Mainstreaming became a “bad thing” when it started being applied to EVERY child with needs regardless of their need. That being said–mainstreaming has been a complete failure for many of those students as well as having an adverse effect on every other student in the class.

ShoeShee

May 28th, 2009
10:29 am

Do you hear yourselves? I’m frightened that some of you who claim to be teachers are so outwardly hostile in your remarks about children! I would encourage you all to look for new jobs – asap.

“OMG, let’s not do anything to hurt their little feelings…”
“parents demanding little Cindy Loo be put into a regular classroom and just not be held accountable for any of the work.”
“The amount of inane garbage on our plates at any given time precludes us from partaking in many activities that would be far more beneficial.”
“All the SPED proponents have to do is wheel a disabled kid in front of a Congressional panel and they will get whatever they want.”
“If we had universal vouchers we wouldn’t have to deal with this garbage.”
“No offense to the parents on this blog, and if you are insulted, too bad, …”

irisheyes

May 28th, 2009
11:05 am

Actually, V, my son has NO behavior problems in school because of the structure. It’s only at home where he struggles, and often in the morning before he’s had his meds or in the evening when they’ve worn off. I have no idea about anyone else’s kid, but please don’t group mine with everyone else. Plus, he’s got two brothers (one older and one younger) who don’t have any of the same problems he does, so it can’t just be discipline since they’re all disciplined similarly. (Well, not the 18 month old so much. :) )

yoco

May 28th, 2009
12:45 pm

jim d:

I’m usually a lurker and usually don’t agree with anything you post; however, I must concede that your comment “Mainstreaming became a “bad thing” when it started being applied to EVERY child with needs regardless of their need,” is reasonable. However, the problem lies with a child that would benefit from mainstreaming but has special needs issues as well.. My son has been diagnosed alternatively with PDD-NOS, High -Functioning Autism, and now Asperger’s. He is mainstreamed and receives assistance via special ed resources. My son has performed well in 2nd grade, earning “A” and “B’s” and he passed the dreaded CRCT. His “regular ed” teacher has been the best, and was willing to do all she could to ensure that my son had a successful 2nd grade year. My son also thrives in structure, something that is provided in the regular ed setting. I found the “special ed” resource class to be too unstructured and disruptive for my son to fully thrive, so I opted to have an aid in the regular ed class or have the aid pull my son out for 1 hour in the morning and 1 hour in the afternoon for one on one instruction as needed. The one saving grace is that my son has never displayed behavioral (i.e. meltdowns) at school and is a stickler for rules. That said each child is different and special ed is not one size fits all.

ScienceTeacher671

May 28th, 2009
5:24 pm

“Special needs children” have, well, special needs. Some need more assistance than others do. If the child’s needs can be met in the regular classroom, without detracting from the needs of the other children, that’s well and good, but sometimes the child’s needs are better met in a smaller setting where s/he can receive more personal attention or has fewer distractions.

It needs to be about how the child’s needs can best be met, and not about some politically correct idea of all children being in the same room all the time.