One in ten Canadians reportedly suffers from a learning disability. 2,100 – 4,200 New Brunswick public school students are struggling with serious learning challenges. In this paper, AIMS Author Dr. Paul W. Bennett calls for a true review of New Brunswick’s public education system, with the goal of creating a fully inclusive environment for learning disabled students.
Many research findings in New Brunswick’s 2012 report Strengthening Inclusion, Strengthening Schools raise serious questions about whether the existing ‘full inclusion’ model can ever serve the diverse and complex needs of today’s students. There is a place – and perhaps a need – for specialized learning programs where provincial education authorities build a bigger tent.
In Building a Bigger Tent: Serving all special needs students better in New Brunswick’s inclusive education system, Bennett references the Nova Scotia Tuition Support Program (TSP) as a model for New Brunswick to follow, providing per-student grants for learning disabled students to attend specialized schools that meet their unique individual needs. The Nova Scotia Tuition Support Program has proven effective as a funding model in Nova Scotia. According to Bennett, students with complex needs in New Brunswick would be better served by introducing new forms of schooling and programs, using evidence-based programs like the Nova Scotia TSP.
It’s time for New Brunswick to embrace 21st century education. Bennett recommends a provincial review of New Brunswick’s current model of special education delivery, and ultimately the development of a new continuum of service, including self-contained classes and special education alternative schools.
Click here to read the full paper.