Courtesy of University Relations
HAYS, Kan. — Dr. Robert Scott, assistant professor of education at Fort Hays State University, recently presented at the 10th annual summer Strategies Conference for pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade teachers.
Scott’s session was titled “Let Freedom Ring: How the New K-6 Unified Licensure is Transforming Special Education in Kansas.” The theme of the conference was “Teaching in a New Era.”
According to Scott, it is a civil rights issue that teacher preparation programs up to now have worsened by isolating special education from general education.
”There is a strong anti-inclusion bias at work against integrating students, especially those with significant disabilities,” said Scott.
“In my presentation, I described a process for changing this dynamic by first transforming long-held assumptions at our teacher preparation programs that are holding students back.”
Scott said he believes the challenges of making these changes actually provide unprecedented opportunities for cross-disciplinary and cross-institutional partnerships.
The new licensure program allows teacher preparation programs to provide skills, awareness and dispositions to teach all children together in inclusive settings, according to Scott.
Currently FHSU is in the early stages of developing its own “K-6 Unified” program.
“The new K-6 unified license addresses a serious problem in our schools,” said Scott, “because so many children with severe disabilities are not being included with their peers in general education classrooms.”