Today I came across this 2002 article from the Los Angeles Times, which discusses SFUSD’s work to more fully-integrate students with disabilities in regular classrooms. At that time, we were seen as a leader in the inclusion movement, and other districts were watching us for ideas. I’m sad to say that we haven’t made much progress beyond where we were over six years ago:
Many parents and school officials say San Francisco’s changes, which now are implemented in half the public schools there, give disabled children a chance to thrive. They have fewer limits placed on them and have nondisabled children as behavior models. Even some parents of regular students say their children are learning valuable lessons in compassion and tolerance.
At the same time, the transition has not been smooth. Some teachers and administrators resent having to work with disabled students. Special education teachers are scarce. A number of handicapped youngsters find it difficult to fit into regular classes – sometimes they are neglected by teachers, or picked on by schoolmates. And a growing segment of educators says the effort, known as “inclusion,” is proving to be more expensive than having separate classrooms for the handicapped.