There are many things affecting the effectiveness of education and that is the philosophies and theories that keep coming around every five or six years. That "merry go round" of strategies is costly because teachers receive training for so many things with new names and same 'ol ideas, many of them FLAWED.
For example: Mainstreaming special education students. All schools receive funds, but special education receives extra funding. In California, there may be as much as 35-40 students in a classroom vying for the attention of the teacher, however, in that mix you will find anywhere from 1-20 special education students; usually Resource or RSP. In some of these mainstream classes you may find an aide helping the teacher, but it's not likely, even though there ARE aides. In fact, it's a school problem statewide.
RSP teachers receive basically the same pay as regular education teachers, but they get two prepping periods. All other teachers receive ONE. That is fine, considering that special education has IEP's (Individual education plans) so there is paperwork, although the regular education teacher fills it out for the students in their classes. There are also IEP meetings which take place during the school day; often leaving out the regular education teacher input during the meeting. Regular education teachers however are expected to show for those meetings after school.
Now this is where the funding is more clearly inequitable: Special education isn't always working on IEP's and the Resource students, not having an aide in the regular classroom, demand constant attention from an overwhelmed regular education teacher. That constant, REAL need for attention, takes away from all regular education students. Regular education students also suffer from many quirks afflicting the Special education student; often leaving a regular education student to be victimized by a student who should never have been in that same class, because they are not at the same LEVEL of regular education students.
One way schools and special education departments try to get around this, at least in San Bernardino County, is by claiming students are in special groups or classes called Read 180, that way they are no longer in a TEACHERS system as RSP but Read 180 and that takes away the right of the teacher to have an aide in the class. This signifies a dangerous turn in education, favoring special educations desire to mainstream students without providing regular education teachers the resources available to those in special education such as an aide in the classroom. So in a sense, highly funded special education is pulling form regular education resources.
Special education funding and scheduling of students is UNFAIR to regular education students who are often times compromised in their education in order to accommodate the needs of Special Ed. Considering that we all pay taxes for all to be educated, it seems WRONG that any regular education child should have to give up their quality of education, in order to mainstream and accommodate a special education student; especially if there is funding that covers special education classes that range from as low as four students to 15; with a teacher and aide; yet no such accommodation is provided in the regular class.
I'd like to know if any other teachers out there feel this way.