Dear Minister Churchill,
We are writing to express to you our thoughts and concerns about the current dual processes featuring the ongoing work of the Commission on Inclusive Education and the Glaze Report proposal.
The Halifax NS Down Syndrome Society (HNSDSS) applauds the decision of the Nova Scotia government to create the Commission on Inclusive Education and heartily agrees with its stated premise that “neither students with special needs nor their peers appear to be well served by the existing model of inclusion (in Nova Scotia schools).” It is with great hope and anticipation that we await the release of this report in March.
In the meantime, however, the HNSDSS is also very concerned about the fast pace with which the Nova Scotia government appears to be acting on the Glaze Report recommendations. Our organization urges the Nova Scotia government to halt its plans to restructure the education system until the Inclusion Commission’s report is released and its recommendations can be fully considered and incorporated.
We would also like to take this opportunity to comment upon concerns we have about tenor of the recent Glaze Report recommendations. It appears to our organization that the Glaze recommendations are privileging standardized testing as a rubric for determining classroom success. The HNSDSS feels very strongly that such an orientation would be particularly harmful for children with Down syndrome, a student cohort whose true potentials will never be revealed by standardized testing models that cannot capture the learning strengths of our children. To be frank, such a model would set our children up for failure. It would create an educational system that does not meet their needs, and we fear it would deny to them their right to be educated inclusively in Nova Scotia schools. For these reasons we urge your government to carefully, and with the input of a wide array of Nova Scotians, including the Down syndrome community, consider the myriad implications of the Glaze Report proposals before proceeding with them.
Thank you for your consideration.