My goal was and has always been, to connect with like-minded people around advocating for inclusive education.
And what Think Inclusive (now the official blog and podcast of MCIE) has become has far exceeded my expectations. I’m truly blessed and fortunate to create and advocate every day for authentic inclusive education.
But ten years later, I feel like we are just getting started.
A few weeks ago I attended Michael McSheehan’s presentation at the PEAK Parent Center’s Virtual Conference on Inclusive Education. He shared placement data from the most recent Annual Report to Congress on the Implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and compared the progress we’ve made over the last 30 years.
Essentially, how much time do all students with disabilities spend in general education for more than 80% of their day (sometimes called Least Restrictive Environment A), from the most recent data compared to 30 years ago.
It’s not great y’all.
Here are the percentages from 1989 through 2019 at ten-year checkpoints.
Let’s break these numbers down. From 1989 to 2009 there was a 28% increase in the amount of time students with disabilities were placed in general education for 80% or more of their day (LRE A).
And from 2009 to 2019 there was a 5.4% increase.
Now, if you were there in Michael’s session, you could hear the frustration in his voice. And the frustration doesn't stop there.
It gets worse for students with autism and intellectual disabilities.
From 2009 to 2019, autistic students’ LRE A placement data went from 37.4% to 39.8%, an increase of 2.4%.
From the same time period, students with intellectual disabilities’ LRE A placement data went from 48.2% to 48.7%, an increase of 0.5%.
But what are we are going to do about it? Well, Michael had some fantastic ideas, which if you want to know about them, go to his website Evolve & Effect, scroll to the bottom of his site and subscribe to his email list. He’s working on some resources right now to support inclusionists like you and me.
As far as Think Inclusive by MCIE, we’ve coalesced around communications as one of the ways we can help support the cause.
Since moving over to Wix from WordPress, thinkinclusive.us has thousands of unique visitors. And across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter we reach more than 80K followers. Not to mention the approximately 4,500 Weeklyish subscribers (which you are a part of).
That’s a lot of people interested in authentic inclusive education.
We’ve got some new things brewing that we are not quite ready to share, but for now, one way that you can help support our communication efforts is to stay connected with what MCIE is doing.
And if you have some ideas on how we can move our work forward in every school district across the United States and the world, you can always email me. I’d love to chat with you.
Thanks for being part of our inclusionist family. Every time I hear from you, it gives me hope that we are really changing the world.
Here’s to the next 10 years. 🎉