Cleveland schools may have to hire hundreds of additional special education teachers after an arbitrator deemed the district is violating a union rule requiring inclusion classrooms to have both a general education and special education teacher full-time.

The decision stems from a complaint brought by a general education teacher in the school district.

Currently, many special education students in the Cleveland district are pulled out of their general education classrooms to go to another location when they need extra assistance. This practice does not meet requirements set in the district’s contract with the local teacher’s union, an arbitrator determined.

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The decision could have a huge impact on the district where 20 percent of students are in special education. Currently, union leaders and school district officials are in talks to find a remedy to the situation.

Advocates say the district’s current practice of pulling special education students out of class is counter to the fundamental idea of inclusion and can cause students to miss instruction on important material.

But co-teaching — where a special education teacher works with a general education teacher in the same classroom — allows students to get the help they need in their environment, reports The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer. To read more click here.