2015 TASH Conference has ended
This year’s theme, “Celebrating 40 Years of Progressive Leadership,” acknowledges TASH’s 40 years of generating change within the disability community and anticipates a brighter, more inclusive future for people with disabilities in all aspects of life. Each year, the TASH Conference impacts the disability field by connecting attendees to innovative information and resources, facilitating connections between stakeholders within the disability movement, and helping attendees reignite their passion for an inclusive world.

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Thursday, December 3 • 8:20am - 9:10am
State Education Policies and their Relationships to Inclusion for Students with Disabilities LIMITED

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Limited Capacity seats available

This session examines (1) state special education regulations and policy frameworks that facilitate the inclusion of students with significant disabilities in general education classrooms; (2) state outcome data (graduation rates and Indicator 14 data) for students with significant disabilities in the context of state special education regulations and policy frameworks; and (3) policy differences between highly inclusive states with positive outcomes for students with significant disabilities and highly segregated states with poor outcomes for students with significant disabilities.
OBJECTIVES: +T2 IMPORTANCE: This research establishes a knowledge base around policies and implementation that federal-, state-, and district-level leaders can use in their decision-making to fulfill the mandate that SWSD are involved and progress in the general education curriculum, which, as Jackson, Ryndak, and Wehmeyer (2008/09) show, is best addressed in inclusive contexts.
TRANSLATING TOPIC INTO IMPROVED OUTCOMES:While 95% of students were educated in general education settings for at least some part of the day, there were wide disparities in placements especially among SWSD. The rate of inclusion (80% or more in general education) increased from 46.5% to 57.2% (USDOE, 2012). However, although the average rate of inclusion for students with SLD is 60%, the average rate for students with Autism is 39%. The average rate for Intellectual Disability (InD) is only 17% - a number that has remained relatively stable over time (McLeskey, Landers, Williamson, & Hoppey, 2012; USDOE, 2012); the average rate for students served under the category of multiple disabilities is similarly low at only 13% (USDOE, 2012). Moreover, among states there is wide variation in placement rates for SWSD. For example for students with InD, placement rates for 80% or more in general education range from almost 4% in Washington State to almost 64% in Iowa (UDSOE, 2012). We now know that SWSD obtain improved school and postschool outcomes when taught in inclusive contexts (Ryndak, Jackson, & White, 2013). However, the segregation of students on the basis of disability rests on assumptions that certain students cannot learn in or benefit from participation in a ?regular? classroom; and in a large part, we have seen a national retrenchment toward segregated services for these students (Kurth, Morningstar, & Kozleski, 2015). A policy framework must exist at the school, district, state, and federal levels that is fully aligned with inclusive reform initiatives and removes barriers to successful implementation (Kozleski & Smith, 2009). In the field, however, there remains the debate about where SWSD should be educated, constituting what Kleinhammer-Tramill, Burrello, and Sailor (2012) call ?the identity crisis of special education? (p. 6). While the Secretary of Education affirms that ?[i]n all cases, placement decisions must be individually determined on the basis of each child?s abilities and needs and each child?s IEP, and not solely on factors such as category of disability, severity of disability, availability of special education and related services, configuration of the service delivery system, availability of space, or administrative convenience? (Assistance to States, 2006, p. 46588), school districts continue to make ?placement decisions? based upon the most dangerous assumptions about students and their capacity for learning and demonstrating their knowledge. Subsequently, SWSD continue to be segregated and denied the very rights enshrined in special education law, perpetuating poor postschool outcomes and largely segregated postschool lives. This research interrogates policy and other systemic ways that students are labeled as disabled and segregated, and excluded based on meanings that society, schools, and teachers ascribe to markers of difference (Collins, 2013; Ferri & Connor, 2005). We seek to challenge the ableism inherent in decision-making around policies related to placement and provision of special education services for SWSD. We aim to highlight potential state policy frameworks that facilitate the inclusion of SWSD. This has the potential to expand the capacity of school leaders and policymakers to refine policies and practices to increase the likelihood of improved outcomes.


Julia M. White

Assistant Professor, Syracuse University

Thursday December 3, 2015 8:20am - 9:10am PST
Mt Hood 1414 SW Naito Parkway Portland, OR 97201

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