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Let our provincial government know that inclusive education must be a priority. Let them know that inclusive education is a politically important issue. They need to stop ignoring us and our children, and take meaningful action.
I've created a letter template for any caregivers to access. Parents and concerned citizens are encouraged to copy and paste the letter, edit the contents to better reflect theirs and their children’s experiences, and send it to our Minister of Education.
Our minister of education makes a declaration, posting a proclamation on social media.
Rather than an empty proclamation which leads to little or no meaningful change, we need year-long support and advocacy for all students.
Our current process requires students (usually their parents) to "prove" they are disabled enough to require supports. This process is usually done by non-disabled, neurotypical bureaucrats who don't (and can't) understand the lived experience of the student they are reading about in a document or application form.
Instead, students should be given what they need to succeed and thrive, regardless of what paperwork they may have (or not have) to quality for accommodations and supports.
In order for this to happen, a lot needs to change. Firstly, we need to understand that disabilities are dynamic: a person's ability to learn and succeed varies each day, hour, even minute. We can't evaluate or determine what supports someone needs and which ones are effective based on small snapshots of their day.
As always, a significant part of this comes from the need for increased funding and resources. We need completely different funding and training models for our public education system, better education for staff, and a lot more money for our schools.
February is national inclusive education month in Canada! Want to know what we do here in Manitoba to mark the occasion? Our minister of education makes a declaration, posting a picture of the proclamation on social media. That's it.
If inclusive education month were like a genie in a lamp that could grant me three inclusion-related wishes, these would be the top three things I would change about our public education system.
Manitoba's government insists on wasting money which should be spent on bettering public education in our province. Our ministry of education just announced a campaign to enhance student presence and engagement.
It’s supposed to be national inclusive education month in Canada, but this is our worst inclusive education month ever. Apparently our politicians think inclusive education month is a great time to insult the intelligence of their constituents.
If you're angry at the children you support, you need to take a step back. When our anger gets misplaced. An EA was more worried about getting into trouble than about providing effective support for my son.
Yet again, Manitoba has earned the dubious distinction of having the highest child poverty rates of all provinces in the entire country. We are ranked second worst in Canada, after the territory of Nunavut.
No school should ever have the right to seclude or restrain children. The only time it is ever justifiable is during a serious emergency in which it is the only available option for protecting oneself or another person.
A break down of a program called Positive Behaviour Interventions and Supports (PBIS), identifying some very concerning aspects about this "positive" approach to inclusion which has strong roots in behaviourism.
Schools are bad enough for neurotypical folks, but can be hell for neurodivergent students. Loud bus rides, hallways, classrooms, announcements, recesses, gym classes, music classes, fire drills... all followed by yet another loud bus ride home.
Knowing when to push and when to back off is a difficult balance. We need to respect children's concerns and trust them to know the difference between something they can't do and something they don't want to do.
Behaviour plans are useless, unless the adults have developed - and continue to develop - secure relationships with the children in their care. If or when staff develop a behaviour plan, they must centre the child's needs so the plan is written to best support the child, not to make the adults' jobs easier.
Behaviour problems or failing academically shouldn't be the only reasons children receive appropriate supports at school. In our under-funded system, children whose parents complain the loudest or whose behaviour is most disruptive are first to get what they need while others go without.