Research tells us all students benefit from inclusive education. But more students with special needs are being failed by BC’s public education systems — unwelcome at their local school, excluded from regular classes, subjected to restraints or seclusion, sent home due to a lack of supports, or forced in growing numbers to move to costly private segregated programs.
Our vision of inclusion compels action to reverse this trend, working together towards a world where all students feel welcomed to join friends and neighbours in learning and play at their local schools.
The landmark 2016 Supreme Court decision restoring BC teacher contract provisions is driving provincial re-investment in public schools and special education. On March 16, 2017, Inclusion BC and the Family Support Institute co-hosted a public forum in Vancouver to start discussing the opportunities this presents, with an exploration of best practices and tools to support rebuilding of inclusive education.
Presenters included BC Teachers’ Federation researcher (and parent) Sherri Brown, Positive Behaviour Support consultant Don Chapman, Richmond Director of Learning Services Richard Steward, parent Cyndi Gerlach and Arden Duncan Bonokoski from Steps Forward. The panel was live-streamed and was followed by an open discussion with over 60 in-person and virtual attendees.
This report summarizes key themes from the March 16 forum and will inform our ongoing work and advocacy to strengthen inclusive education in BC, including our June 14 Inclusive Education Summit.