Since Who’s the Slow Learner? A Chronicle of Inclusion and Exclusion has been out I have heard from many parents who are still struggling even at the kindergarten level with gaining acceptance by their school districts to include their children with a variety of disabilities.                                                                                                                   

     I don’t profess to be an expert on this inclusion thing, just a parent who was forced to research and fight, by trade I am a medical device sales person.  And in the medical world you must have evidence that your product/drug/device works or there is no moving the process forward with lives on the line…lives that depend on the product working the way it is claimed to work.

     Education is also evidence-based.  New textbooks are examined, new ways of teaching are examined by the evidence that they are effective and beneficial to the students. Lives depend on the evidence in education as well. 

     The reality is kids not just the children with disabilities lives’ are marginalized by the schools that say ‘we don’t do inclusion’ but also the regular education students miss out significantly by not being allowed to learn along side their peers with intellectual disabilities.  And the evidence speaks loud and clear.

      In 2008 Robert Jackson, Ph D., examined 40 years of worldwide evidence comparing segregated educational practices with inclusive practices and found that children with an intellectual impairment benefit from inclusion academically and socially. While the advantage over segregation was sometimes nonexistent or small, in the larger samples and meta-analysis, significant benefits were found for inclusion, with children who were segregated losing percentile ranks in comparison to their peers. No review could be found comparing segregation and inclusion that came out in favor of segregation in over 40 years of research.

The full comparative study can be found here:

If the educators poo-poo that study because it was done in Australia, know that he examined world-wide evidence, but if they are looking for something closer to home in a similar comparative study Mary Falvey (2004) notes that “no studies conducted since the late 1970’s have shown an academic advantage for students with intellectual and other developmental disabilities educated in separate settings.”

     The full comparative study can be found here:

     So let’s ask our educators, do they provide education based on evidence of what works, and what benefits their students the most? And if they answer ‘no’ then we certainly don’t want them educating ANY students, but if they answer yes, let’s print these out and become the teachers, educating them on the research, on the evidence that not one study EVER has shown that segregation is more beneficial to any student than inclusion.  

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