KU's School-Wide Integrated Framework for Transformation Center is working with over 60 schools in in five different states to implement their model of a fully inclusive education. Integrating general and special education students into one classroom.
"It's a misconception to think having a separate educational system will be beneficial for any child. For too long, supports have been provided to those students in separate settings. What the research tells us is that when you provide academic and behavioral support for all kids, all kids do better," said Amy McCart, director of technical assistance at the SWIFT Center.
McCart said this step is long overdue and something that all students can benefit from.
"When you have kids of all different types learning and growing together the outcomes are better for all. Socially, academically, and behaviorally in every way," she said.
While the benefits are outlined by SWIFT Center research, some wonder how the integration would affect general education students.
"We used to provide special education in the classroom over here, down the hall with those kids. It's really about re-thinking how we're providing education in the school building. Every child has a right to come into that building and receive the education that they need with their peers," said McCart.
McCart also points out that special educators should be a resource for all kids, not just those who meet certain qualifications.
"I am a special educator and it's really important that we think about special educators in a new way," she said. "They are a resource, and they aren't just a resource for children who have IEP's and disabilities. They can be a resource for all kids."