Inclusive Schooling: National and International Perspectives

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

students with special needs ( "Report," 1997). Speaking to the national study on inclusion, researcher Gary Bunch observed that government services are fragmented, and children would be better served by blending services to create "ministries of the child" ( Galt, 1997).


CONCLUSION

In contemporary Canadian special education, the movement variously referred to as inclusion, inclusive schooling, or inclusive education has been elevated to the dominant educational ideology. Inclusion remains a divisive issue; although most teachers and school administrators agree that the days of total segregation and institutionalization are long over, the manner in which inclusion of students who are exceptional can be most effectively attained has still not been worked out in practice. By-products of the often contentious debate include an increasing polarity of stances, more litigation, strong disagreement from teachers and teachers' unions, and vastly different implementation practices across the country.

As the prevailing philosophical assumptions, theories, and visions that surround the current inclusive movement find their way into real life educational situations, they affect the circumstances of regular classroom teachers. Any change that intends to alter the quality of education for children who are exceptional depends on regular classroom teachers who are often the final arbiters of reform. Although the vast majority of Canadian teachers philosophically support integration, they are increasingly questioning the boundaries of their responsibilities, and contending that they lack adequate training to handle a wide range of disabling conditions.

It is not possible to predict where the inclusion movement in Canada will lead. Educators may propose--but governments dispose, and not always with the requested funding. Our schools are at the intersection of political and social ideals and fiscal realities, and it is economic problems, social realities, and teacher opposition that may thwart efforts. Unless key areas of leadership, governance, funding, and coordination are revised, and supports for teachers and students with special needs increase, it may be that inclusion will become a nonissue or one that falters badly in the face of educational realities.


REFERENCES

"Action for integration: A guide to inclusive education". ( 1993, Summer). Abilities, pp. 62-63. Alberta Teachers Association. ( 1993). Trying to teach. Edmonton: Author.

Barth F. ( 1996). integration and inclusion: Equal terms? BC Journal of Special Education, 20, 36-42,

Benteau S. ( 1990, April 28). Wages not only issue. Saint Johns Telegraph Journal, p. 1.

Berra M. ( 1989). Integration and its implications for teacher preparation. BC Journal of Special Education, 13, 55-66.

British Columbia Ministry of Education, Special Education Services. ( 1995). A manual of policies, procedures, and guidelines. Victoria, BC: Author.

Buski J. ( 1997, Winter). Education reform--What you've told us, part 2. ATA Magazine, pp. 34-35.

Butler M., Copland S., & Enns E. ( 1996). "Inclusive schooling in Alberta: What teachers are saying".

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