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Teacher Newsmagazine Volume 19, Number 6, April 2007

Segregated schools

It appears the fix is in

Well, the full-court press for a segregated "model" school is on. As a parent of a child with special needs and a former school trustee, I can’t decide whether to scream or cry.

(1) Current Education Minister Shirley Bond mentions such schools in the legislature. (2) Former Liberal education minister Christy Clark wants to set one up, likely in a Vancouver school. (3) Eleanor Gregory, a Non-Partisan Association Vancouver school board trustee supports the idea in a Vancouver Sun Issues & Ideas article. (4) School Board chair Ken Denike says he has a "gut feeling" that a "model" segregated school will go ahead. (5) Clark interviews Denike on CKNW about the "need" for a model school. All this has occurred before the issue has been discussed at a public meeting.

The irony is too sweet. A provincial government underfunds education. School districts, such as Vancouver, cut supports for students with special needs. Parents are rightly outraged. Now, the ministry of education, Clark, and it looks like Vancouver NPA trustees ride in with the answer—a semi-private "model" segregated school.

There is ample evidence that inclusion (which does not mean dumping kids in classrooms with insufficient support, and might include time in separate supported classrooms) can work. We need the funding and commitment to give inclusion a chance to succeed, for all students.

Jane Bouey, Vancouver

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