Inclusive Academics as Luxuries – Nice But We Can’t Afford It

We’ll review research showing little philosophical opposition to inclusion, but a perception of academics as a luxury when there is so much work to be done preparing for “the future” where students must be “independent”.  We will analyze a new paradigm for educator professionalism making the present moment rather than a nebulous “future” the determinant of quality in students’ educational programs.

By the end of this session, participants will have:

• Discussed the implications of research where special educators felt responsible for weighing the costs and benefits of academics against a vision of “the future” where students must be “independent” above all else.

• Critically examined the meaning of “functional” and worked together to re define the term when discussing academic priorities and curricular access for students with significant cognitive disabilities.

• Wrestled with the concepts of “benefit” and “time wasting” that the research participants used to evaluate student access to academics, and then agreed, disagreed and thoughtfully took what was personally relevant to their situation.

• Reviewed a new paradigm for special educator professionalism that makes the present moment rather than a nebulous “future” the determinant of quality in students’ educational programs.