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ERIC Number: EJ1056797
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Feb
Pages: 19
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0268-2141
Inclusive Education in Australia: Rhetoric, Reality and the Road Ahead
Anderson, Joanna; Boyle, Christopher
Support for Learning, v30 n1 p4-22 Feb 2015
Inclusive education (IE) is a term that has been part of the educational discourse in Australia for almost two decades. While there is no overarching definition under which IE operates in that country, it is accepted that the meaning behind the term has shifted from being exclusively about students with a disability to now encompassing the delivery of a high-quality education to all students. The public education system is carrying the burden of an increasingly diverse student population (Gonski et?al., 2011), and as such, each of the eight educational jurisdictions responsible for the schools within their borders have developed policies and increased funding levels in the name of IE (Graham, in press). Despite this, there are currently no standards or guidelines provided at the state or federal level to measure the success (or not) of IE practices within Australian educational sectors. This article aims to do just that, by providing a "report card" on IE in Australia. An extensive review of the current literature and related educational policies and reports was conducted, and Loreman's (2014) three guides for measuring IE--student participation, student achievement and post-school options--were adopted to evaluate the performance of Australia's public education system. The findings indicate that, despite operating under the same national legislative acts, the eight educational jurisdictions in Australia are managing and enacting IE in different ways, leading to inconsistent levels of access and educational outcomes for students. Rates of segregation and exclusion (through both the provision of education in "alternative" settings and disciplinary action) are on the increase, with disproportionate representation of students from minority groups. This has been exacerbated by the inception of a national testing regime, which some have argued is in breach of the Disability Discrimination Act as it excludes participation by particular groups of students. On the flip side, for the first time Australia has a consistent curriculum that has provided a set of outcomes for all students, and the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students in the areas of literacy and numeracy is on the decrease, albeit a slow decrease. However, there is still a long way to go, and this paper discusses the need for a national approach to IE to enable the continued development of effective schooling for all students across Australia.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A