“Inclusive education is not a marginal issue, but is central to the achievement of high-quality education for all learners and the development of more inclusive societies.”
– United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), 2008
What is Inclusive Education?
Inclusive education is an educational model where students with disabilities spend most or all of their time learning in the same classes as students without disabilities. Inclusive education differs from segregated education in that it can offer disabled and non-disabled students a chance to be together and learn together. Studies show that both students with and without disabilities benefit greatly from attending the same classes because they are able better develop their social skills, build lasting friendships, and look beyond their differences. Placing children in less restrictive environments not only allow for students with disabilities to develop better social skills but also improve their academic performance.
Making Education Inclusive
Every child has the right to be included. We believe that all students and their families should be valued equally and thus deserve an equal right to education. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act ensures the right for all individuals to have access to inclusive education. Pennsylvania’s students are no different. Our goal is to provide and teach the best practices for inclusive education.
Segregation is better.
Segregation does not work for any reason whether it be an issue of race, sex or other characteristic. Studies show that segregated classrooms often fail to improve the academic or social development of those enrolled.
Children must “earn” their way into a classroom
Education is a universal right for all children. Pennsylvania along with any state receiving federal aid for education must comply with the IDEA act which requires that measures must be taken to provide inclusive education upon request.
Students with disabilities will distract the class and thus harm the academic performance of their peers.
Studies agree that students with disabilities do not distract teachers anymore than an average student. In fact, research shows that inclusive education enriches all students when inclusive practices are properly implemented.
Inclusive education sounds nice but is an unrealistic goal
When implemented properly, inclusive education leads to measurable outcomes even within the first year.