NDP Education Critic Lorraine Michael (MHA, St. John’s East-Quidi Vidi) is applauding the work of the Task Force on Educational Outcomes, which issued its report, highly critical of aspects of the province’s K-12 education system, two days ago. She says the announcement of an Action Plan is welcome, but there are steps government could take to address the worst inequities in time for the 2017 school year.
Michael says the report reflects much of what she hears on a regular basis from teachers and parents, particularly around inclusion – and much of what she has been saying to successive Ministers of Education since 2009.
“The report raises serious issues about the inclusion policy that urgently need to be addressed,” Michael said today. “Children and their families have been forced to deal with the fallout from bad decisions for too long.”
The report makes it clear that special education and inclusion are not the same thing, Michael says, and when Government introduced the inclusion model in back in 2009 to replace special education, there was no separate special education policy to guarantee supports for students with exceptionalities.
“One of the worst, most misguided inclusion practices has been to force all students into the main classroom all the time, regardless of their needs. The result was that there has been nothing for children who cannot always be in the classroom. They are sent home,” Michael said.
“The situation is absolutely unacceptable. The Minister has the power to address this before people go back to school in September, and he must see the urgency of putting resources in place so children with exceptionalities don’t have to endure another year of not having their needs met.”