Inclusive Education

I am starting this post with two quotes. The first one comes from 92 governments and 25 international organizations. This is part of the Salamanca statement: "We believe and proclaim that every child has a fundamental right to education , and must be given the opportunity to achieve and maintain an acceptable level of learning." This is inspiring. The second one comes from a former principal, Brian Butler: "...this process of measuring students based on how far they are from the norm and then sorting and labeling into bins of “gifted, high, low, special” only produce ways of seeing and acting that discriminate and privilege some students in the expense of others...." And Brian Butler is correct when he adds, "I actually don’t blame parents as much as I blame our profession because many of us are ok with sorting and selecting and we reinforce this belief." This sorting is not only unfair but is likewise ineffective based on evidence from research. As schools limit exposure to more enriching curriculum to pre-selected students, those who in fact stand more to gain are denied of the opportunity.

For example, work published by researchers in Texas clearly shows that when science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) project-based learning (PBL) activities are provided not only to those whom we deem as bright but to all students, higher growth rates are actually seen among low performing students. Here is the graph that shows the greater progress among low-performing students:

Above copied from
Han S, Capraro R and Capraro M M 2015 Int. J. Sci. Math. Educ.13 1089

How much the gap has decreased after three years should not escape us. This paper is another piece of evidence supporting education for all. All students simply must be given the opportunity to learn. It is not only just. It is also more effective.