The United States Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (2010) asserts that our nation’s ability to compete successfully in the global community depends on the meaningful inclusion of all individuals in our educational system, including students with disabilities. In support of this assertion, the Ohio Deans Compact on Exceptional Children offers the following statement of beliefs, which are grounded in research and authoritative opinion, and used to guide the Compact’s work:
All students learn to higher levels when held to high expectations and provided the necessary services and supports, and when taught by adults with the necessary competencies and dispositions to support higher levels of learning for all students.
Student learning improves when adults who interact with them learn, and adult learning is most effectively fostered through peer-to-peer feedback and support that is provided through structured collaborative learning teams.
Effective implementation of targeted instructional practices is necessary for meaningful improvements in student learning and educator professional practice to be sustained.
Some instructional practices are more effective than others and all educators should be critical consumers able and willing to examine the effectiveness of practices used in supporting student learning.
The development of collective capacity and shared responsibility at all levels of the system is essential for continuous system learning and improvement.
Increased opportunities and outcomes for all students depend upon shared leadership across the district-wide system that serves to sustain core work in teaching and learning and prepare every learner for meaningful transitions to postsecondary endeavors.