This time, it seemed to all start sometime after teachers and the Nova Scotia government couldn't come to an agreement for a new contract. Although not mentioned at first, the concept of inclusion and how well it is (or isn't working) eventually popped up. Right on cue. And not just in Nova Scotia; suddenly Newfoundland teachers were weighing in on the topic, too.
But none of this is new news to any of you. You've heard it, seen it read, read it, lived it.
Most of us in the disability community who have had to deal with Nova Scotia's public education system can provide a laundry list of reasons why inclusion doesn't work as well as it should. One of the biggest reasons being a pitiful lack of proper funding and resources, of course.
But again, old news. So why are we here today, you ask.
Good question. But before I answer that, let me tell you why we're not here.
- I don't want to talk about whether inclusion as a concept is a good or bad idea.
- Nor am I here to talk about how we could implement it better.
- I'm not even here to bash the Nova Scotia government for practically setting inclusion up to fail in this province.
No, not the dictionary definition of the word. Nor am I talking about even the more disability-specific definition of the word.
I am talking about what inclusion means in the classroom. What it really means.