- New research by University of Texas at Austin Assistant Professor of Special Education North Cooc shows that the overall time educators spend teaching falls as the number of students with disabilities in a classroom rises, but that the causes are more complex than inclusion efforts alone, Education Week reports.
- According to the study, teaching time is also impacted by teachers having less training or experience (especially in classrooms with high numbers of students with disabilities), and that those classrooms also tend to have a higher number of ELL students or those from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds or with lower academic achievement.
- Additionally, Education Week reports that the time spent teaching was about even for teachers reporting few or no students misbehaving, regardless of how many students with disabilities were among their classroom population.
If the primary goal of public education is to prepare all students to be productive citizens in the adult world, regardless of whether they attend college or immediately enter the workforce, the importance of inclusion in general education classrooms for students with disabilities is all the more important. And it's not just to ensure that they're acclimated, but that their peers are exposed to people with a variety of cognitive and physical abilities, as well.
This study highlights that there may, however, be need for more introspection when placing students with disabilities in classrooms, with preference on placement given to educators who have more experience and training under their belts. While this will require additional time on the part of administrators, it will likely pay dividends in the long run when it comes to overall instructional time and student achievement. This will also require more attention in teacher preparation programs, as well, as Education Week notes that inclusion efforts are outpacing the number of teachers with necessary training to adequately serve those students.