Let me share with you my definition of inclusive education.
Inclusive education is the best of both worlds.
Inclusive education is both inclusive and individualized at the same time.
Inclusive education recognizes that the “I” in the IPP actually means something. It recognizes that it often means more just different academic outcomes or the tacking on of additional outcomes from the “hidden curriculum”.
Inclusive education is not just a place where students with special needs are educated.
Inclusive education does not necessarily equate with a student being in a regular classroom all the time.
Inclusive education includes and educates students with special needs in a regular classroom as much as possible, while recognizing and even embracing the fact that
- some students have needs (and hence goals) that simply won’t be met well in a regular classroom; and
- for some (many) students, there are skills that are best (or sometimes only) taught outside the regular classroom.
Inclusive education involves balance.
Inclusive education often means walking the very fine line needed to best balance, for each individual child, the amount of time that child spends in a regular classroom and the time that he or she is pulled out of that classroom to work on specific goals.
Inclusive education also recognizes that the balance of how much time a child spends in a regular classroom versus a different learning environment will most likely change many times over the course of that child’s schooling.
We may not all agree on exactly what “inclusion” should look like, but having had two children in Nova Scotia’s public education system for a total of seventeen years, I am only too familiar with the types of issues our families face.
The situation begins to feel even more dicey when we hear education professionals spouting off that inclusion is at the “unspoken heart” of the Province’s current bitter contract dispute with Nova Scotia’s public school teachers.
Over the years, I have spoken and worked with many parents who were struggling with such issues. I can assist you, whether the issues involve:
In the special education context, the Education Act provides for two levels of appeal – first, to the school board and then to a Ministerial Special Education Appeal Board.
Are you prepared to face that process alone?