Tilden School is a fascinating study in special education — and, more broadly, in promising and potentially short-lived Oakland school district experiments. You can find today’s Tribune story here.
Tonight, the board is expected to vote to close the 125-student elementary school (a plan that might entail relocating its students to one of six different schools) at the end of the 2009-10 year because of facilities and enrollment concerns. It was originally slated to close this June, but parents quickly organized and pushed for another year to craft a stronger plan with more community input, which two board subcommittees approved.
One of the school’s biggest challenges in recruiting non special ed kids (according to the school design, the special ed enrollment was to be just 40 percent, but it is more than 60 percent) was that it became known as “the special ed school.” Of course, the unplanned addition of extra special education classrooms — apparently, from other schools that didn’t want and/or have room for those programs — probably didn’t help.
What would it take for such an inclusive special education model to work, as designed, and to attract general education students?