For Immediate Release
January 31, 2014
Inclusive Education Month an ideal time to renew special education reforms
St. John’s—February is National Inclusive Education Month and St. John’s North MHA Dale Kirby is asking the provincial government to renew its commitment to special education by finishing the reforms it previously committed to.
“Inclusive Education Month is an excellent time for the Conservative government to take the seven year old ISSP & Pathways Commission report off the education minister’s shelf and finish what they started,” says Kirby. “If the Premier is truly interested in renewal, here’s an opportunity to enact much-needed improvements.”
The 240-page report Focusing on Students was prepared for government by the ISSP and Pathways Commission and released in 2007. The report outlined 75 recommendations for improving education for students with special needs. To date, many of the recommendations that were intended to provide effective supports and help students achieve academic success and personal independence have never been acted upon.
“Key recommendations of the ISSP & Pathways Commission have been entirely ignored by this government,” says Kirby. “This inaction is a real shame since the commissioners did a thorough and thoughtful review and recommended some of the best ways to support students with special needs as well as their families and teachers”.
Kirby points out that the lack of follow-up on the ISSP & Pathways Commission report is consistent with the current government’s established practice of commissioning reviews and reports, at costs ranging from tens of thousands of dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars, and then shelving key recommendations.
“When then ISSP & Pathways Commission report was released, parents hoped that government would finally act to eliminate waitlists for children needing to be assessed. They hoped that student needs would be identified and met in a more timely and effective manner,” Kirby says. “Instead many parents I speak with still feel disempowered and underserviced.”
For more information, please contact:
Dale Kirby, MHA