Bolstering the drive towards inclusive education
New report and new library of tools available for families and educators
Monday May 28, 2012 -- Kristian Partington
The quest for true inclusion in Ontario’s schools for children of all abilities has a few new tools in its arsenal with the release of Community Living Ontario’s Community Inclusion Initiative Report on the Delivery of Education Services in Ontario and the launch of a new interactive page on the organization’s website focused on inclusive education.
The right to inclusive education has been championed by the Community Living movement and the families of children who have an intellectual disability for decades, and real progress had been made.
The fact is, however, that the progress has been intermittent and when you strip down the current realities and examine the state of inclusive education today, as Community Living Ontario has done with this report, an immense amount of work remains.
For example, the report points out that based on Ministry of Education numbers between 2001 and 2010, the number of elementary-level students with identified intellectual disabilities who spent their day either fully or partially “self-contained” dropped a tenth of a per cent. For secondary students, there was a one-per cent drop over the same period.
“It is irrefutable that in the movement toward more inclusive practices in schools, students who have an intellectual disability have been ignored,” the report goes on to say, but as Community Living Ontario director of community development Kimberley Gavan points out, the purpose is not to lay blame but to paint an accurate picture of where inclusive education is today in the province.
“Periodically we need to pull back the curtain and shine a spotlight on the real inclusive education practices for children with intellectual disabilities in our schools today,” says Gavan. “We do this not to be critical but in order to ensure students are afforded their right to an inclusive education.”
This report and the library of tools available on the site will be a valuable resource for families, advocates and educators, she adds, and her excitement at the prospect of a reinvigorated push for inclusion in Ontario schools is clear.
“We’re taking the next steps towards making sure all young people have the best opportunities to succeed in school alongside their friends and peers; this work and these resources are a practical demonstration of our commitment to inclusive education,” says Gavan.
“I can’t wait to see where this takes us.”
She says work on the inclusive education section of the site remains ongoing and the expectation is it will become truly interactive; a place where questions and answers from engaged families, educators and advocates will ensure that knowledge and best practices are as current as possible.
If you have questions or comments, please contact 800-294-0051, ext. 24, or e-mail kristian(at)axiomnews.ca.