The step by step integration of the inclusion
Belz, N. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
(11 April 2012)
The debate over the inclusion of children with special needs in regular schools is still ongoing in Germany. All parties agree generally with inclusion of children with special needs in heterogeneous school settings, although they do not agree with how, to what extent, and the speed at which it can be implemented. Germany agreed to the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2009), with inclusion being a part of that agreement. In 2011 the conference of German cultural ministers gave a recommendation for an inclusive school system but devised no concrete plans for the states to realize it. The representative of the monitoring office for the rights of persons with disabilities at the German Institute for Human Rights declares that none of the German states have had an inclusive school system until now. Only 22.3% of the children with special needs were taught at a regular school in 2010-2011. The remainder special needs students were still taught at special schools. There are some schools that have a good inclusive system, but Germany is still far away from full inclusion. (The European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education provides information about the development of inclusion in Germany.)
The following video from Deutsche Welle highlights the Regine-Hildebrandt school in the German state of Brandenburg, showing “that it is possible to bring disabled students into the mainstream public education system.”
Charter schools ‘harmful’ says study
Davison, I. New Zealand Herald
(14 April 2012)
Despite an academic group’s insistence that charter schools “may do more harm than good to the under-achievers,” the New Zealand Government “has recently reaffirmed its keenness to implement charter schools…” Under the National-Act agreement, New Zealand will be implementing charter school reform in areas that are traditionally low-achieving—South Auckland, Christchurch East, and possibly Wellington. “The academic group welcomed the Government’s focus on the need to address educational achievement through wider social and economic policies,” but they believe the narrow focus of the educational achievement data could end up increasing the educational inequities charter schools aim to reduce. The Government, however, countered that there were many different models of charter schools worldwide. Said Act Party leader and Associate Education Minister John Banks, “For our New Zealand model we are taking the best of the best ideas from the most successful charter schools, as well as from the most successful schools in New Zealand.” The same academic group also said that charter schools were a “radical departure” from the principles of social democracy and civic participation.
Despite the debate about charter schools, this video highlights how charter schools “remain a mystery” for many New Zealanders, whereas this video is an interview with Head of Education at Aukland University, Dr. Airini, discussing the aforementioned poll and the New Zealand charter school movement in general.
Big class compensation coming
Steffenhagen, J. Vancouver Sun
(3 April 2012)
According to new regulations in British Columbia, “teachers who have more than 30 students in their classes next year may opt for extra pay, additional preparation time, more professional-development money or extra funds for classroom supplies.” Under Bill 22, which passed last month, teachers will earn $2,000-to-2,500 for each additional student. Some tout the cost-saving measures of the bill. For example, the president of the Greater Victoria Teachers’ Association wrote, “If an extra 29 students can be spread around into oversized classes, that will be $2,000 less than the salary of an additional teacher.” Others, including many teachers, believe that the plan will not lead to improved student learning outcomes. (See how some teachers feel about Bill 22 here.)
As the video below shows, Bill 22’s imposition of report cards has caused confusion in British Columbia:
Scotland instituted an “independent, self-regulating professional body for teaching after the decision to bring it into line with organisations such as the General Medical Council.” The General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) will have greater flexibility and power when dealing with teachers who have “have fallen short of the standards of conduct or professional competence,” according to the UK edition of the Huffington Post
. The Chief Executive of the GTCS, quoted in Scotsman.com, said, “We now have full responsibility for current and future professional standards; we determine the qualifications for entry to teaching; we accredit courses of teacher education; we determine the ‘fitness to teach’ of teachers and applicants for registration; and we have a duty to bring forward a system of Professional Update for registered teachers.” Also, see the video below from the Press Association:
GNIST – “Do You Have It in You?” Campaign
The Norwegian government has invested in attracting high-quality teacher candidates since it passed GNIST in 2008. This link leads to an interactive promotional video. Here are the instructions in English:
1) Decide to do this for a friend (“en venn”) or yourself (“meg”).
2) Upload a picture from Facebook or your PC.
3) Type in your/your friend’s name and indicate gender – woman (“kvinne”) or man (“mann”).
4) Click the “Se filmen” (See video) button.
5) When loaded to year 2069 mouse-over timeline on bottom screen right hand side. There you may select English subtitles from a pop-up menu.
Singapore – Strong Performers and Successful Reformers in Education
OECD (10 February 2012)
This official video from the OECD’s Directorate for Education provides an overview of Singapore’s educational system, highlighting some of the reasons why Singapore consistently scores well on PISA. If you don’t know much about education in Singapore, this provides an excellent introduction.