Every single exit from her regular classroom is taken very seriously for my daughter, Addie. The reasons behind the exit, the gains projected, the risk of missing what's happening in her absence are all taken into consideration. Most often, we decline to excuse her from what she learns with her peers in favor of something else, even Friday swim with the spec ed class. She does join 4 of her K5 classmates to leave the room for reading support during the week - a support accessed by all kids when needed, not specific to spec ed students, not "special" at all. I have granted permission for Addie to join the special ed class on a field trip to the zoo and to go out to lunch, both intended for diversion, not for practical, sub-academic learning. Other than that, through 2 years of stating our case and demonstrating why it is critical for Addie, she spends her days in K5, learning what K5 kids learn.
I could not ever bring myself to sign the permission slip that Lisa Pugh found in her daughter's backpack. Indeed, I will have a harder time, as Addie grows, and the term "life skills" is tossed in more frequently to explain why she isn't in Math, why she is learning to follow a recipe instead of how to write a persuasive composition, why we will spend 3 years on confirming that she knows every last sight word before she can graduate on to actual decoding... I understand K5 is relatively effortless when it comes to inclusion and general curriculum modifications. But that tells me we all need to step it up and get creative, not "teach" kids how to run errands or make toast in place of general curriculum. Or worse still, show her that changing oil is something she might aspire to, if she starts studying the process at age 10...
Please read Lisa's brilliant post and share it far and wide. Regardless of policy and legislation, if expectations are in the wrong place, we lose. Lisa doesn't just rant about that, she offers the stats behind it and throws down the gauntlet to us all.
Life Skills in a Jiffy, by Lisa Pugh