Washington Putting More Focus on the Promotion of Inclusive Education
OLYMPIA — October 24, 2019 — When students with disabilities are included in the general education classroom with their peers, they have more positive academic and social outcomes. In comparison to other states, Washington lags in inclusivity.
In Washington, only 56 percent of students with disabilities are included in general education classes for the majority of the school day. Across the nation, the average is 63 percent.
“When students with disabilities are meaningfully included in the general education setting, they experience improved learning outcomes as well as higher rates of graduation, post-secondary education, and competitive employment,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal.
“The Legislature’s commitment to bridging the gaps between students with disabilities and their non-disabled peers will benefit all students,” Reykdal continued.
Both the state Legislature and the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) have made it a priority to provide more students with disabilities access to learn in general education settings with their non-disabled peers.
Over the next two years, the Legislature will provide $25 million for professional development, including coaching and mentoring classroom teachers on best practices for inclusion, called the Inclusionary Practices Professional Development Project.
In addition, Washington was recently selected to receive support from the TIES Center, a national provider of technical assistance, on building more inclusive practices and policies in schools statewide. The goal of the partnership is to increase the meaningful inclusion of students with significant cognitive disabilities in general education settings.
The technical assistance provided by the TIES Center is grounded in four foundational pillars:
- Increased Time and number of students in general education.
- Increased Instructional effectiveness.
- Increased Engagement, including communicative competence.
- Increased State support for inclusive practices.
The Center for Strengthening the Teaching Profession and the Haring Center at the University of Washington are both working with OSPI in the Inclusionary Practices Professional Development Project and partnership with TIES. Over the course of this school year, opportunities for educators and school districts to participate in this work will be provided.
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Photo: Allison Shelley/The Verbatim Agency for American Education: Images of Teachers and Students in Action.