SWIFT Runs on Research
The point of public education is giving students a foundation of learning that will help them build a career later in life. Thirty years of research shows us that when all students are learning together (including those with the most extensive needs) AND are given the appropriate instruction and supports, ALL students can participate, learn, and excel within grade-level general education curriculum, build meaningful social relationships, achieve positive behavioral outcomes, and graduate from high school, college and beyond. How do we transform education to achieve these goals? According to the research, it takes administrative leadership, multi-tiered systems of support, family and community partnership, an inclusive educational framework including organizational structure and school culture, and policies and practices providing the backbone to these features.
For an example of the “whys and how-tos” of this work, check out the following study from the Journal of Emotional Behavioral Disorders illustrating the role and effectiveness of MTSS at the elementary and middle school levels with interventions provided by general and specialized educators.
Lane, K.L., Rogers, L.A., Parks, R.J., Weisenbach, J.L., Mau, A.C., Merwin, M.T., Bergman, W.A. (2007) Function-based interventions for students who are nonresponsive to primary and secondary prevention efforts: illustrations at the elementary and middle school levels. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders: Vol. 15, No. 3, pgs 169-183.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 states: Congress finds the following:
Disability is a natural part of the human experience and in no way diminishes the right of individuals to participate in or contribute to society. Improving educational results for children with disabilities is an essential element of our national policy of ensuring equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency for individuals with disabilities. Almost 30 years of research and experience has demonstrated that the education of children with disabilities can be made more effective by having high expectations for such children and ensuring their access to the general education curriculum in the regular classroom, to the maximum extent possible.
NICHCY: National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities
Sailor, W., McCart, A., & Choi, H. (2012). A comparison of academic outcomes and implementation of the schoolwide applications model in Washington DC. University of Kansas.