A question to get the discussion going.greenspun.com : LUSENET : Inclusive Education Forum : One Thread
What are the financial arguments for and against Inclusive Education? Would shutting down all 'special schools's save money or cost money.
Are issues of cost important?
-- Jim Byrne (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 30, 2000
Well, here's another question to ponder over. Would contracting out exclusive rights to televise public hangings to the highest bidder cost money or provide a useful source of additional income to swell the fat coffers of Gordon Brown? I've got a much better question to ask. Some of my intelligent and wise profoundly deaf colleagues believe that inclusive education is an attack on Deaf culture, especially British sign Language,(BSL). Are they right? How could inclusion protect this valuable and unique part of our cultural diversity?
-- Rob Kay (email@example.com), June 07, 2000.
I feel it would be wrong to even consider shutting down 'special schools' at the moment as they provide an important element of choice in educational provision and mainstream schools do not yet have the facilities to cater for all children in a totally inclusive way. Perhaps more effort could be made for joint provision i.e. mainstream/special school in order to pave-the-way for better understanding of the needs of the children included in mainstream classes while still enbling them to access the benefits of specialist provision.
In reply to Rob's question relating to BSL, while I understand the concerns of the deaf community, BSL is 'exclusive' in that non deaf children in mainstream schools are currently not taught this as a matter of course and so are not able to communicate in this way with their deaf peers. If more deaf pupils were included in mainstream than all members of their class, and teachers, would need to be taught BSL in order that they would be able to communicate with them. At the present time there is seldom more than one deaf child in a mainstream class so they are somewhat of a 'novelty' and not all staff or pupils make the effort to communicate effectively. If there were more deaf children in a class, all communicating with each other in a 'different language'(BSL), then the necessity to understand what they were saying would be much more apparent and greater efforts would need to be made by everyone to learn BSL.
Does this make sense? What do other people think?
-- Susan Green (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 14, 2000.
Good debate. Apparently, at present even teachers in deaf schools do not have to know BSL, so there may be some problems getting this joint approach to work in practice. Here's another interesting one for you. Should any special educational consideration be made for the hearing children of deaf parents, whose first language is BSL?
The idea of a choice of bi-lingual learning is very attractive - it would be a wonderful experiment. Turnover in children over time through parents house moves, and availability of skilled staff might be major obstacles in practice. But why don't we have standard grades and highers in BSL, as we do for french, german, etc? Rob
-- Rob Kay (email@example.com), June 14, 2000.