Gov. Jay Inslee welcomed faculty and friends of the University of Washington's Haring Center to the Governor's Mansion in Olympia on Jan. 6 for a discussion of opportunities to improve the state's special education and early childhood education programs.
"Children across the state of Washington and beyond are enjoying happier, more fulfilling lives as a result of the research, training and service taking place at the Haring Center," Inslee said, while noting that more remains to be done.
"Too many children with disabilities remain separated from their classmates," he said. "They continue to be taught by teachers who haven't received adequate training, or are confined to classrooms with little opportunity to interact with typically developing children."
Inslee's 2015-2017 budget proposal would provide the largest-ever investment in early learning, and includes expanding the number of teachers with special education credentials, more principal training in special education, Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program preschool expansion, and creation of a best practices clearinghouse for special education.
"I share the Haring Center's dedication to making more inclusive education a reality in our schools," Inslee said. "To do this our state must strengthen the investments we are making in the type of research, training and service taking place at the Center."
Ilene Schwartz, director of the Haring Center, thanked Inslee for his leadership in advocating early childhood and special education.
"The governor and UW's Haring Center share a common goal: to improve education for all children, especially the youngest and those with special needs," Schwartz said.
Schwarz spoke about the importance of an inclusive educational system in which children with development disabilities and those developing typically learn together, and shared a glimpse at UW's current and future research in the field.
"We need to continue making progress toward a truly inclusive educational system where all children achieve to their fullest potentials together," she said, citing the Oberti v. Board of Education of the Borough of Clementon decision that inclusion is a right and not a privilege.
Schwartz and attendees discussed the Haring Center's continuing agenda of connecting research, training and service to address the most pressing issues in special and early education.
"The Haring Center has a crucial role to play in connecting research with practice, training the next generation of special 'inclusion' educators, and working with public schools and community agencies to provide services every day," Schwartz said.
Dustin Wunderlich, Director for Marketing and Communications