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Olga Lizasoáin Rumeu, Professor of the School of Education and Psychology at the University of Navarra

The LOMLOE and the discrimination of the Education special centers

Tue, 08 Dec 2020 15:28:00 +0000 Published in Navarra Newspaper

The future law of Education, known as the Celaá law, in its commitment to the inclusion of students with disabilities in regular schools, carries the risk of emptying the centers of Education special in the coming years, with its consequent disappearance. This could lead to discrimination that clashes head-on with the right to Education and the freedom of choice of center, as well as with the principle of equity, which is nothing more and nothing less than offering each student what best suits their needs, free of charge.

Both regular and special Education are part of the same system educational, they are not exclusive, but are offered within a set of services in order to reach all students. The special Education is an enriched form of Education so that ending it would also be synonymous with impoverishment.

That the inclusive Education is a right of all students (including those with intellectual disabilities) is undisputed. Disagreements arise when trying to make this right effective.

When the inclusive Education is guide due to partisan ideologies, fashions, paternalism or benevolence, when it is not accompanied by a deep professional reflection, it runs the serious risk of preventing the student from receiving a teaching adapted to their characteristics. In addition, the exclusion of students with disabilities in regular schools also occurs when the involvement of the academic staff is limited, when there are not enough resources and, above all, when the student with disabilities is not recognized by others as an equal, being different and without friends to play, interact or relate to others. At the other extreme we have the risks of an excluding Education , of a selective Education , which rejects from entrance the student with disability for convenience, out of intransigence and prejudice, out of ignorance and fear, thus depriving him/her of essential rights.

In the 60's, the principle of normalization set the instructions to make available to people with intellectual disabilities living conditions as similar as possible to those of other people without disabilities. However, the theorists of this principle themselves soon realized that the solution was not to give everyone the same.

We must not fall into the reductionism of seeing inclusion as that goal where people with disabilities, in order to reach it or have a space in it, must minimize their difference. It is not a matter of making student with disabilities fit in any of the educational centers set by the administration, no matter how minimal that fit may be.

Inclusion should not be considered a fad, a slogan or a panacea. It is not a recipe, nor a prefabricated program, it is a right of the individual and a regulatory principle of educational activity. To include is not to mix children by decree indiscriminately, it is not to equalize, nor does it eliminate disability, it cannot be for everyone, nor should it entail the rejection of special schools.

Since the experimental school integration project was launched in 1985, we have advanced towards inclusion steadily along a long road, never Exempt of difficulties, of which we still have a long way to go. On this road, special Education centers have played an essential role offering, without falling into contradictions, a special and inclusive Education .

Parents wish for their children, whether they have disabilities or not, a school environment in which they receive the best possible Education , with the maximum of services and, most importantly, adding happiness as an essential ingredient. Well, there are many families who find in the centers of Education special this longed-for educational response.

In order to achieve true inclusion, it is essential for society to provide effective resources and support to parents, so that they can face the specific difficulties posed by the presence of disability. It is necessary a comprehensive response and attention to these families who need to be heard, through reflection and analysis of their demands. What they do not deserve in any case is a law that adds more obstacles, uncertainty and uneasiness to their lives.