improve autistic students education outcomes with normal academic expectations

From: Bob Buckley (A4 Convenor) <convenor@a4.org.au>
Organization: Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia (A4)
To: senator.birmingham@aph.gov.au, office@piccoli.minister.nsw.gov.au, Minister.Chandler@nt.gov.au, Ashgrove@parliament.qld.gov.au, minister.close@sa.gov.au, jeremy.rockliff@parliament.tas.gov.au, james.merlino@parliament.vic.gov.au, Minister.Collier@dpc.wa.gov.au, Mr Shane Rattenbury MLA <rattenbury@act.gov.au>
CC: Mr Steve Doszpot MLA <DOSZPOT@parliament.act.gov.au>, canterbury@parliament.nsw.gov.au, nicole.manison@nt.gov.au, Everton@parliament.qld.gov.au, morialta@parliament.sa.gov.au, michelle.obyrne@parliament.tas.gov.au, nick.wakeling@parliament.vic.gov.au, sue.ellery@mp.wa.gov.au

Dear Minister for Education,

In the wake of the recent depressing Senate report into the systemic failings of the education system for students with disability and at the start of a new school year, Chris Varney, chief enabling officer of I CAN Network, wrote a refreshingly positive article, Students with disability shouldn't be underestimated, that calls on school principals to

think big for your students with a disability. Your school and our future will benefit.

Too often, autistic students have especially poor educational outcomes because schools have very low expectations of autistic students. Educational outcomes will improve when autistic students are expected to have normal achievements.

This is a serious change that needs to be driven from the very top of the education system.

Similarly, the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services in the United States Department of Education recently wrote to "colleagues" in the education field expressing requirements:

To help make certain that children with disabilities are held to high expectations and have meaningful access to a State’s academic content standards, we write to clarify that an individualized education program (IEP) for an eligible child with a disability under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) must be aligned with the State’s academic content standards for the grade in which the child is enrolled.

see http://www2.ed.gov/policy/speced/guid/idea/memosdcltrs/guidance-on-fape-11-17-2015.pdf

Australia would benefit substantially from federal (or state) law, regulation or at least guidance that requires, whenever possible, the same academic expectations of students with disability as there are for other students.

Please enact the best you can achieve (law, regulation, guidance) to ensure autistic students within your jurisdiction have the same academic expectations as other students unless there is a compelling reason an individual student to have a different expectation.

yours sincerely
Bob Buckley
A4 Convenor, Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia (A4)
website: http://a4.org.au/
Email: convenor@a4.org.au

8/2/2016


 

Responses

Following is the progress of this issue and communication with the various Education Ministers and shadow ministers.

  Commonwealth ACT NSW NT Qld SA Tas Vic WA
acknowledgement
email
9/2/2016
(Shadow Minister)
  9/2/2016
(Minister)
  8/2/2016
(Minister)
8/2/2016
(Minister)
8/2/2016
(Minister)
10/2/2016
(Minister)
8/2/2016
(Minister)
written response     16/2/2016
letter doesn't recognise this issue.
  26/2/2016
letter from advisor

27/2/2016
letter from Minister

  17/3/2016
Minister's response
12/2/2016
(Shadow Minister
)
discernible response to issue                  

Dear Bob

Thank you for your email about the need for leadership to drive bigger thinking for students with autism. I will work with my colleague Stephen Dawson, our Shadow Minister for Disabilities, to ensure our policies and practice reflect this if we are elected to government in 2017.

Kind regards
SUE ELLERY MLC
Shadow Minister for Education

12/2/2016