Monday, February 23, 2015

Larry's Gulch Inclusive Education Review June 21, 22, 2012

Meeting of Senior Department of Education Officials With Gordon Porter And Other Advocates of Extreme Everyone In the Mainstream Classroom Inclusion June 20, 21, 2012
Information from CANADALAND web site.

L: Yude  M. Henteleff, C.M., Q.C., L.L.D. (Hon.)     R: Harold L. Doherty 
at the Atlantic Human Rights Centre Inclusion Conference Crowne Plaza Fredericton-Lord Beaverbrook, June 14, 15, 2012 Mr. Henteleff presented, a paper advocating for a range of learning placement optionsin order to ensure meaningful inclusion:  MEANINGFUL ACCESS, INCLUDING THE PROVISION OF A WIDE RANGE OF PLACEMENTS, AS AN INTEGRAL PART OF INCLUSIVITY IN EDUCATION

It was a privilege, on June 14, 15, 2012  to attend the Atlantic Human Rights Centre Inclusion Conference at the Crown Plaza in Fredericton and to meet the very distinguished lawyer and disability advocate Yude Henteleff above. I personally have tried for many years to advocate for a rational evidence based inclusive education policy that provides a range of learning environments to accommodate the diverse challenges and needs of persons with disabilities particularly students with autism spectrum disorders.  Unfortunately anything that was discussed at that conference was not likely to have been considered by the NB government and department of Education officials when they met with Gordon Porter, and other "all students in the mainstream classroom inclusion philosophy " one week later at Larry's Gulch.

Autism Spectrum Disorder has been increasingly recognized for its heterogeneity particularly with respect to cognitive deficits, sensory challenges, self injurious behaviors,  and learning disabilities.  In NB the fight for an education policy that allows for alternative learning environments to accommodate those students, like my son, who do not function well in the regular classroom, and can even be harmed by that location,  has largely been undone by Gordon Porter and the NBACL including various members of the influential Carr family and their NBACL associate Danny Soucy.  At the June 14 2012 conference above Mr Henteleff and I were  voices advocating for evidence based accommodation of the needs of students with disabilities.  Gordon Porter was there presenting individuals with anecdotal horror stories about segregation. 

The conference appeared to have been a waste of time and money.  One week later,  at Larry's Gulch,  senior education officials and government officials met with Gordon Porter, Canada's most  obsessive advocate for reducing learning options for all students to the mainstream classroom.  Neither I, a former ASNB president and long time critic of NB's extreme mainstream only inclusion policy, nor the distinguished lawyer and disability advocate Yude Henteleff were present.

I  met Mr Porter,  NBACL/CACL icon,  on several occasions during the MacKay and Ministerial Committee inclusive education reviews. During a breakout session in a room at the MacKay review Gordon Porter grew visibly annoyed with me and another ASNB parent advocate when we advocated a range of learning settings to accommodate some students with autism disorders who would have difficulty functioning in the mainstream classroom.  He dismissed our comments by telling us that "you people should be thankful" for what we had.  I  have no doubt that when he attended Larry's Gulch with fellow NBACL official,  and co-author of the last of several inclusive education reviews, Angela Aucoin, Krista Carr of the NBACL and her husband Jody Carr, then the Minister of Education, and Danny Soucy MLA and NBACL official at various times,  that he pushed his obsessive,  extreme inclusion philosophy and made no positive mention of the need for a range of learning environments to accommodate those with severe autism and other disorders.

I wasn't present at the Larry's Gulch inclusive education review but I am sure that it likely topped the  Wayne MacKay and Ministerial Committee reviews and any views that did not support the Gordon Porter extreme, all students in the mainstream classroom, inclusion philosophy.

1 comment:

Cam said...

Let Gordon rant all he wants. And while it's a shame his seems to be the only voice the Gov. listens to the reality as you and I know Harold is that schools will do what is necessary to accommodate kids like ours. With extreme Autism it becomes apparent even to the most ignorant what needs to happen right away. I'm finding there are better examples than others of these individuals. But the devoted ones have the most rationality, and their knowledge does'nt take long to spread. Our children are excellent teachers in this regard as well are'nt they.