“Inclusive Schools Week” Celebrates Progress Made in Education in Giving All Students Better Opportunities

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(ABC 6 News) — Governor Mark Dayton declared December 7-11, 2016 “Inclusive Schools Week”, advocates and supporters of inclusive education believe that there are still students who are marginalized and do not have access to a supportive and quality education.

“Inclusive Schools Week” is an annual celebration recognizing  the progress schools have made in providing a supportive and quality education to an increasingly diverse student population. Including students who are marginalized due to disability, gender, socio-economic status, cultural heritage, language preferences and other factors. The week provides an opportunity for educators, students and parents to discuss what else is needed to continue to improve their ability to successfully educate all children. This event is also meant to raise awareness to give all students better opportunities in education and to continue the dialogue to give students a chance to achieve independence and access to supportive and quality education.

Mary Hauff, a parent and advocate for inclusive education, also a representative of the Down Syndrome Association of Minnesota, says inclusive education benefits everyone including school districts and state governments. Hauff says research shows that inclusive education cuts spending in some school districts, increases student engagement and achievement. Hauff adds that it also benefits counties and the state by increasing the number of students prepared for contributing to their communities and becoming self-sufficient. Hauff also points out other reasons why inclusive education is important, “The school community is one of the first places students learn about becoming an integral member of a community and accepting a diverse group of peers. If we want to give all students the opportunity to achieve self-sufficiency and independence, access to a supportive and quality education is essential.”

According to advocates, Minnesota still has some work to do in making sure no student is left out or marginalized and that all schools should cater to all styles of learning for all students.

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