A call for radical over reductionist approaches to ‘inclusive’ reform in neoliberal times: an analysis of position statements in the United States

Jessica Bacon, Erin Pomponio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The term ‘inclusive education’ has evolved to connote various meanings and recently, neoliberalism has impacted how ‘inclusion’ is understood and enacted. In this paper, we use a disability studies in education framework to compare and contrast radical against incrementalist and reductionist approaches to educational reform related to students with disabilities. In order to accomplish this, we completed a systematic review of 37 position statement documents from education and disability advocacy organisations published in the United States from 2000 to 2019, which is the time period after the No Child Left Behind Act was enacted. We analysed the statements using a priori codes, which include: high-stakes testing, standards-based reform, and accountability. Additionally, we inductively coded the statements for emergent sub-codes and additional themes. Our findings examine how these organisations describe how students with disabilities should fit into neoliberal reform priorities as connected to our theoretical framings. We found that most professional advocacy organisations in the US recommend reductionist approaches to educational reform, and many reframe the very meaning of inclusive education.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Inclusive Education
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

Keywords

  • accountability
  • curriculum and standards
  • disability studies
  • high-stakes testing
  • Inclusive reform
  • neoliberalism
  • policy

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