Classroom inclusion review is unnecessary, say supporters

Another review of New Brunswick's inclusive education system is unnecessary, according to an education expert.

New Brunswick Teachers' Association has been calling for review over concerns of disruptions and violence

New Brunswick adopted inclusion in 1986 but now a debate has ignited over whether another review is required. (CBC)

The New Brunswick Teachers' Association's plea for a review of the province's inclusive education policy is not necessary, according to two supporters of the policy.

The province's teachers have been calling for a review over concerns of disruptions and violence in the classroom. 

Angela Aucoin, a professor of education at the University of Moncton, said discipline issues in the classroom are nothing new and people shouldn't blame those on the inclusion policy. 

"We want to keep the students in the classroom as much as possible," Aucoin said.

Angela Aucoin, co-author of a 2012 report on inclusion, said the goal of inclusion is to have every student educated in a regular classroom. (LinkedIn)
"That's where he or she belongs ... we need to work with that student and that's probably what needs to be done in those schools where this is happening."

She said challenges can be overcome with training and resources.

New Brunswick's commitment to inclusive education began in 1986. In 2012, Aucoin and Gordon Porter published a report on inclusion that outlined a plan to improve the system.

I don't believe that the policy is the problem.- Krista Carr, New Brunswick Association for Community Living

The Aucoin-Porter report led to the new inclusion policy, which was released in 2013.

The goal of inclusion is to have every student educated in a regular classroom. While that's not always possible for every student all of the time, the policy does allow for other options, including having specialists work with teachers.

"When we talk about inclusion, it's to have all students in a safe environment that they're well, that they feel that they can learn," she said.

"When we work with a student that isn't in that position, then it's OK to work individually with that student. It's not going against inclusive education."

Policy isn't the problem

Aucoin is not alone in denying the need for a review of the three-year-old policy. 

Krista Carr, executive director of the New Brunswick Association for Community Living, said she does not believe a review is needed. (CBC)
Krista Carr, the executive director of the New Brunswick Association for Community Living, said she is disappointed in the request from the teachers' union for a review.

Concerns about disruptions and violence in the classroom are valid, said Carr, but the teachers should instead be asking for better resources and training.

"I don't believe that the policy is the problem," Carr said.

"I think that implementation of the policy, maybe lack of clarity around parts of the policy, could be an issue ... but asking to review the policy I don`t think gets at the real issue that teachers have."

Support and resources are always issues when something new is introduced, she said.


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