For inclusion to be effective as intended, what changes should be made in the preparations of beginning teachers? What in-service should be provided for veteran teachers? Are you aware of instances where a school cannot adequately accommodate the needs of a severely challenged student? Please explain. List what the authors present as contributions of unions and also list the problems created. Then state your position on the value of unions related to school improvement and your rationale. List the argument on both sides of the issue on licensing and state your position. If you were superintendent of a larger school district, describe your approach to tolerance for student rights and state school policy regarding student violations of those policies. Below is what the instructor expects to be discussed in each answer: Question 1 Most of you found the yes side of an inclusive classroom quite informative and enlightening. The ten strategies in the yes article seem most helpful. I expected some discussion of what can be accomplished for the SPED students, and alsofor the rest of the students, by inclusive efforts. In response to the question, much more learning about the needs of the students in college classes and in practicum experiences seem necessary for beginning teachers, and then also for veteran teachers. It makes sense that there is ongoing in-service for a school with special focus on the needs and best approaches for the types of students that are currently in the school. It helps all teachers to understand, and be accepting of the current students, to be a truly inclusive school setting. Most of you had an instance or more of students that your setting could not easily accommodate. Much emphasis should be placed on creating the school climate of acceptance and nurturance to be truly inclusive. Question 2 I was expecting you to list the pro and con of teacher unions. Some of you have no experience with unions, but can still relate to what they are intended to accomplish. Unions can be helpful in protecting teachers or a faculty, if the board or administrators are not treating them fairly, or if there is a law suit impacting them in any way. Union leaders can get caught up in political issues and lose sight of their primary mission to be supportive of teachers, and ultimately students, needs in schools. Some of you shared instances where unions have been very helpful to an individual or to a faculty in your setting. Boards and administrators have to deal with financial support for education, and often have difficult choices to make. Unions are meant to advocate for educators in the decision making process, to ensure adequate funding is available for instruction, and maintaining effective education process in the local schools. Unions need to focus on what is best for the students in the schools they oversee. Question 3 I expected you to list arguments or points on both sides of the issue of licensing, and then clearly state your position and reasoning. I am not sure how well informed the authors of the readings are of the situation nationwide. Some of you listed personal concerns when you moved from state to state, and there was no agreement on licensing. It seems each state has its own “tariff” or special requirements for folks educated and licensed in another state. All of the teacher education programs in Nebraska have state accreditation, as well as national accreditation, by NCATE. There are periodic reviews by both accrediting agencies. There are annual reports that document effectiveness of the programs. Other Midwest states have similar rigor in their teacher education programs and licensing process. If a teacher allows their license to expire, and then wants to be licensed again, they have to take the Praxis tests again, and also take 15 hours of graduate work, including some additional student teaching, to be re-licensed. Our one daughter stepped out of teaching to be a stay at home Mom. She did not keep her license current, and had to go through all of the above steps to be re-certified, even though she had a master’s degree and five years of successful teaching. Not all states have similar requirements, and that is the main issue. When my wife and I started teaching, we received a life time certificate. It is much better to have to keep up to date, and be recertified every five years or so. The real issue is the need for agreement beween states on licensing, without making it a burden for teachers to relocate and resume teaching in another state. Question 4 Zero tolerance policies can result in some difficult situations, where the punishment or consequences may call or some common sense interpretation of the policies and their intent. Most administrators indicate they would have clear policies that were broadly publicized and especially all parents and students would be aware of them and have copies of them in a handbook. They would have parents and students sign that they had read and understand the policies, rules and consequences of not following them. With regard to the search, they also indicate they would have an agreement withlaw enforcement, that with any serious problem of suspected weapons, drugs, etc., they would have law enforcement take over, and persons trained to do the search would be asked to do it, not school personnel. Most would also have at least one parent present,before moving ahead with the search, or any possible invasion of privacy. Most schools, even parochial and private schools,have a lawyer advise them on any policies or procedures they contemplate using. Communication with the community as well as with families and students is recommended.
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