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Wednesday, 3 February 2016

News and commentary on schooling

The start of the new school year prompts reflection on and examination of the state of play for students with disability in Australian schools, and supportive information for classroom teachers:

Robert Jackson and Catia Malaquias, Starting with Julius, 27 January 2016
The 2016 Australian school year is about to start and teachers in regular mainstream classrooms will be busy planning and preparing teaching materials, including differentiated curricula materials for students with disability allocated to their class.

But just as important as applying universal design and differentiated instruction is creating and maintaining an inclusive culture for the class … a culture in which every student feels welcomed and included both as a learner and as a valued peer ...

Students with disability shouldn't be underestimated
Chris Varney, Sydney Morning Herald, 25 January 2016
As school goes back for the year, the Senate report into the systemic failings of the education system for students with disability is very timely. In the myriad emails principals will see in their inbox, I hope mention of this report is one of them ...

Parents and disability advocates cautiously welcome MySchool publication of disability access data
Tim Palmer, PM (ABC radio), 22 January 2016
The Government's MySchool website will now publish data about the opportunities schools provide to children with disabilities. That move comes after a Senate inquiry found they were often being denied proper access to schools. Disability advocates have welcomed the news, but hold some concerns about just what data will be published ...

Teachers, Parents, and Students: Let's Talk About Ableism
Mardra Sikora, Huffington Post, 28 January 2016
Humans. I'm sure I don't need to tell you; we are one fragmented and flawed race. So many complex issues for, against, and with other humans. So many small infractions upon each other and some days those small dings compound into too much. In my world, I am witness to an ongoing phenomenon called ableism. Oh no, not another ism! Cry the masses ...

In Australia, children with disabilities only receive additional government funding if they fall into a recognised disability category. As a result, schools and parents often come under pressure to obtain the “right” diagnosis for their child. Such misdiagnosis carries a hidden cost ...

How schools avoid enrolling children with disabilities
Linda J Graham and Helen Proctor, The Conversation, 28 January 2016
Children with disabilities are frequently discriminated against in Australian schools. It’s an issue that has been ongoing for years, with reports showing that little has improved since 2002.

Exclusion practices – dubbed as “gatekeeping” - include advising parents to send their child to another school that could better support them; only allowing a child to attend a school on the days that funding is available; and asking parents to pay extra money so the school can employ support staff or purchase equipment ...

Karen O'Connell, The Conversation, 29 January 2016
Parents are often accused of being too pushy when it comes to their child’s education. The stereotype is of a demanding consumer parent and an over-scheduled child, enrolled in violin lessons, language classes, maths tutoring – and the most expensive private school the family can afford ...

Henrietta Cook, The Age, 20 January 2016
A worrying number of private schools are refusing to enrol students with a disability or asking them to leave, a peak advocacy group says.

Children with Disability Australia receives about 500 reports a year of schools, both private and public, mistreating or discriminating against students with a disability. These range from schools refusing enrolment because they already have "their quota of autistic students" to teachers asking students to leave ...

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