I’m not sure if this applies, but I’ve been thinking of this for a while.
I subbed the preschool class for a week after spring break, and for an afternoon a couple weeks ago. This is a special needs class that mostly has edge cases. There are a couple typical peers in each class, otherwise known as “normal” kids, as examples and the goal is to get these kids up to the level where they can enter a standard kindergarten class next year. This is an awesome idea and a program I support fully. Seems like about half of them are foster children with behavioral issues as well and this helps them learn how to follow instructions and socializes them.
There ratio they hit is about one TA per 3 or 4 kids and a teacher. This seems pretty reasonable.
However, since we share some of the space as the older special needs kids I saw a couple things that made me think. The students in these classes will always be special needs, due to severe mental or physical, or both, developmental issues. Their ratio seems more like one to two, or maybe three. And in a couple cases it’s 1/1.
There are several children in this category who are in mobile beds or wheelchairs that are non-verbal and non responsive to most stimulus.
I struggle thinking that this is a good use of local money. I’m sure there are state and federal grants as well, but with each of these students requiring a at least half a person each that’s tens of thousands just in pay per student. To a purpose I’m not sure I understand. These are non-verbal non interacting kids. I’m sure these aides are getting hand squeezes and such, but they can’t be learning all that much, if anything.
Why is this a school responsibility? What is the reasoning behind this, and what do they expect to get in return for the investment?