Wednesday, May 27, 2015

FOR THE RECORD: QUESTIONS IN HOA ON INCLUSION

EDUCATION NOTES:

HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY
QUESTION PERIOD
MAY 25, 2015

Exchange between Dale Kirby, Liberal Education Critic and Acting Education Minister

INCLUSION


MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for St. John's North.

MR. KIRBY: Mr. Speaker, CBC is reporting yet another case where a family has been shortchanged by government's botched Inclusion Strategy.  When he was asked to comment, the Acting Minister of Education said he was pleased to see that parents were making up for the shortcomings of the Inclusion Strategy by paying for a private tutor for their child.

I ask the acting minister: If everything is working so well with your Inclusion Strategy, why did the NLTA have to force your department to create a joint committee to review it?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Acting Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development.

MR. DALLEY: Mr. Speaker, several years ago our government adopted the Inclusive Education Initiative where we would deliver to our children in our school system special services under the lens of an inclusive approach.  We are doing that.  We are engaged with stakeholders. 

I think we have had tremendous success, but I would be the first to say, as minister, there are challenges in the system.  There are always going to be challenges.  What we do need, though, is to recognize that collectively we all have a responsibility.

In reference to my CBC interview, I am always pleased to see parents engaged with their kids in education because I believe with the work of parents, with supporting their kids, along with the stakeholders we have, we are going to have the best possible education system we can have.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for St. John's North.

MR. KIRBY: On the contrary, Mr. Speaker.  The fact of the matter is, government forced its own idea of inclusion onto our schools several years ago.  It lacked funding, it lacked student supports, and it lacked a vision for student success.

After years of public outcry about that, I do not know where the acting minister has been he has not heard about it, but the NLTA finally forced the government to form a joint committee to review the inadequate implementation of inclusive education in this Province.

I ask the acting minister now: Will you provide an update, table an update, here in the House of Assembly on this inclusive education review that has been going on since last September, I understand?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Acting Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DALLEY: Mr. Speaker, we believe there is wide support for inclusive education.  We believe that as a society we all have a responsibility to recognize those with exceptionalities, those with disabilities, and give them the same chance as everybody else.  That is what inclusive education is about, Mr. Speaker.

What the member is suggesting here is that we do away with inclusive education and we go back to segregation, because that is the difference in the two.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. DALLEY: We either bring them in the classroom and support them and give them the supports they need, which is what we are doing to work with parents and to work with our stakeholders, or we stick them out into a classroom like we used to, because that is what the member is suggesting.  Stick them out in a classroom like they used to. 

We are not going to support it, Mr. Speaker.  We are going to support the kids and do all we can.

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