Get back to mainstreaming

Teachers are asking for more money and smaller classes in an attempt to solve a problem that is making their jobs impossible

Teachers are asking for more money and smaller classes in an attempt to solve a problem that is making their jobs impossible and their lives miserable.

To wit: problem kids in regular classrooms.

Teachers’ (and students’) lives in the classroom have been made unbearable by the presence of problem kids, the ones who jump up at random and swear at the top of their voices, or who harass other students, or can’t or won’t do what they are asked.

When the notion of doing away with special schools and putting as many special needs kids as possible in regular schools, commonly called mainstreaming, came along in the 1980’s, the term used was ‘least restrictive environment’.

Many special needs kids, probably a majority of them, can get along in regular classrooms quite well, with some adaptation of the curriculum and goodwill and understanding on the part of the teachers and students, and that is the appropriate place for them.

If they  can take part in some activities in the regular classroom, but benefit (and the teacher and other students benefit) when they spend part of the day in a special class, that’s the appropriate setting.

If the least restrictive environment means a different building, so be it.

We’ve gotten away from the concept of least restrictive environment, and it’s time we got back to it. Until we do, we’ll never return to productive education in B.C.

Ian Cameron

Brentwood Bay