Frankly, I don't know about you, but I
Here's the thing folks, what we all (parent, teachers, everyone) need to remember.
Talking about "inclusion" as if the option of getting rid of it is even .. a possibility ... is ridiculous. You can't just sweep it out the door like yesterday's dirt and say "I know, let's try something new".
Remember this quote from Karen Casey back in December?
I don’t think we want to talk about caps for special needs students,” said Casey. “What we need to make sure is that we have the appropriate programming in the right environment for all students.“As I said on the website, it amazes me how successive Ministers of Education always seem to be able to find the right words and yet, just as consistently, seem unable to implement any meaningful changes to support inclusion. Be that as it may, any whisper of inclusion being an issue for anyone is enough to SCARE many parents. In all honesty and even though I know better - myself included, at least in my initial from the gut reaction.
So, here it is - what you and I need to remember and preach to others. Sing it from the rooftops.
It goes something like this.
INCLUSION IS NOT A PROGRAM
BUT MUCH MORE IMPORTANTLY, INCLUSION IS NOT AN OPTION.
We definitely need more resources to have inclusion work properly for everyone - our children, their classmates and their teachers. No one is going to argue with that. And yet, it's not always a question of resources, is it? Sometimes what is needed is as simple as a good solid dose of common sense.
Between my two children with special needs, I have dealt with the public school system for 17 years, seen a bit during that time.
The balancing of what’s best for every individual student with special needs will, of course, vary (and I think this is where the rub will often lie), but the entire concept of inclusion is legally protected by (from highest to lowest):
- the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms [sec. 15]
- the Nova Scotia Human Rights Act [ss. 4 & 5]; and
- the Nova Scotia Education Act*
You can read more about the interplay between those documents on a practical level here.
For the average parent, however, outside the IPP appeal process, the best bang for your buck can probably found at the provincial human rights level. While notoriously slow, human rights complaints are far from useless - in fact, we have seen some most excellent results from such complaints in the past.
So let them say what they will: Inclusion it not a program.
Inclusion is not a choice.
Inclusion is the law - from the highest levels of the land.
In my mind, the ONLY issue we should be dealing with is exactly how we will define the term "inclusion" for each child - I doubt there will ever any one-size-fits-all solution for students with special needs or that we could ever agree on one.