Setting the Direction for Special Education: Phase 1 Community Consultation What We Heard Summary ReportReport as inadecuate

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The initiative called Setting the Direction for Special Education in Alberta was established in the spring of 2008 and is intended to lead the creation of a new paradigm for special education to serve school authorities in their work to support students with special education needs. The primary aids of of this initiative are to develop a special education framework that includes vision, principles, policy direction, accountability measures and a funding distribution formula; enable effective dialogue with Albertans through a broad-based public consultation process over the duration of this initiative; and begin implementing parts of the Setting the Direction framework in the 2010/2011 school year. The purpose of this report is to provide a comprehensive summary of what was heard in the Phase 1 consultation, so that it can inform the development of a proposed Vision, Mission and Principles that will be taken to stakeholders in Phase 2. Special Education stakeholders throughout Alberta share many of the same views. Many feel anxiety about the system, and parents particularly are worried about their children and the future that awaits them. Parents see the Special Education system as an opportunity for their children to access the resources that will give them a better chance for success in a world that does not always understand them. Often parents are disappointed and frustrated with the system, because they see their children's opportunity for education slipping away when the system fails to meet their individual needs. The most passionate pleas for change came from parents whose experiences with navigating Alberta's Special Education world was often challenging at best. A clear theme that emerged from the consultation is the belief that the system should be built around the child, with the individual needs of each child determining the programming and supports that they receive. People are frustrated by the current system of coding that results in programming based on the code rather than on the child's individual needs. They want to see ongoing individual programs tailored to the unique needs and talents of each child. Appendices include: (1) Discussion Guide Questions; (2) Consultation Session Format; and (3) United Nations Convention On The Rights Of The Child. (Contains 7 figures.) [This report was prepared by Calder Bateman Communications for Alberta Education.]

Descriptors: Foreign Countries, Special Education, Accessibility (for Disabled), Public Opinion, Educational Principles, Educational Objectives, Accountability, Funding Formulas, Educational Change, Parent Attitudes, Summative Evaluation, Research Reports, Educational Indicators, Educational Assessment

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Author: Alberta Education


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