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Press Release: Recent remarks by candidate put inclusive education on election agenda

Summary: 
Inclusion BC calls on all political parties to commit to improving inclusive education in B.C.

NEW WESTMINSTER, B.C.,  May 7, 2013 - Recent comments made by Peace River North candidate Pat Pimm have put inclusive education on the election agenda, reminding us of the important role our elected representatives play in ensuring equal access to education for all students. Inclusion BC calls on all major political parties to commit to adequate funding to support all students to be included in the classroom and to ensure that all educators are well-prepared to educate students of all learning abilities.

There is no question that many educators are struggling to meet the needs of increasingly diverse classrooms. However, our elected representatives have a responsibility to develop solutions and strategies that ensure all educators have the resources, training and supports they need to provide a quality, inclusive education for all students. The presence of students with special needs in the classroom is not the problem.

“Students with special needs have the same right to attend school as any other student and we have a duty to accommodate their learning needs.” states Faith Bodnar, Inclusion BC Executive Director.

Blaming students with special needs for the issues facing our education system is wrong.

“The time is long overdue for parents of children with special needs, educators and the Minister of Education to come together and start looking at ways to meet the needs of all students. Our classrooms must reflect our communities and our schools must welcome all students," says Annette Delaplace, Inclusion BC President and parent of a student with special needs in Richmond.  “We are not asking for favours or extras for our children, we are simply demanding nothing less what all parents do and that is a quality education for our children in our neighborhood schools.”

The right of all children to an inclusive education is guaranteed in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (section 15, see Hewko v. B.C. for precedent) the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (article 24) and in Provincial Legislation (BC School Act, Ministerial Order 150). Whether or not a child with special needs should be included in a “regular” classroom is not negotiable; it is a human right.

Educators (educational administrators, teachers, education assistants and paraprofessionals) need to be knowledgeable about different ways of teaching students of varying abilities and strengths. This requires access to in-service training as well as pre-professional preparation at the university/college level. It also requires ongoing investments in our school system that reflect the growing diversity of students, including those with special needs.

Inclusion BC recently asked the four major political parties how they would improve the BC education system by meeting the needs of all learners. We have yet to receive responses from any of the parties. Read our fact sheets here.

  • If elected, what will you do to ensure that adequate supports are provided for every student in order for them to be included in the regular classroom?
  • How will you ensure that all educators are well-prepared to educate all students in the regular classroom?

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Contact:
Danielle Kelliher
(604) 777-9100;
dkelliher@inclusionbc.org