Inclusive Schooling: National and International Perspectives

By Stanley J. Vitello; Dennis E. Mithaug | Go to book overview

8
Inclusion Practices In Canada: Social, Political, and Educational Influences

Margret A. Winzer University of Lethbridge

In recent years, critics have taken schools to task for a multitude of sins. An unrelenting assault on the content, processes, and outcomes of schooling in Canada has elevated school reform to a major movement for all levels and for all populations. In the regular educational arena, a recent analysis of provincial and territorial reports, provided by the Council of Ministers of Education, shows specific educational trends. These include more cooperative efforts at the regional and national levels, more accountability to the public, information technology as an integral part of education, less funding to the administrative side of education to ensure that resources are allocated to classrooms, fewer school districts and boards, a focus on curriculum outcomes and standards to make education more relevant, improved levels of student achievement, more cost-effective ways to deliver programs, the implementation of comprehensive and multi-year assessment programs tied to curriculum standards and outcomes, transition programs, and the evaluation of current development and training programs ( "Key trends," 1996).

The present reformist climate is making significant differences to special education in the areas of school responsibility, program delivery, and program implementation. The process of gradual, evolutionary change that has traditionally characterized special education is subject to increasing challenges by a growing legion of critics. Today, law, advocacy, and educational innovation are, together, creating a unique environment supportive of fundamental changes in how students with disabilities are educated ( Porter & Richler, 1990).

From many constituencies, the appropriateness of special education as a system, as well as the classification and placement of some students in this system for the majority of their educational experiences, is under attack. The major prescription for the perceived ailments of contemporary special education is a movement variously referred to as inclusion, inclusive schooling, or inclusive education. Inclusion hosts a range of theoretical positions related to the relation

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