TASH seeks to transform school communities based on social justice principles in which all students (a) are presumed competent, (b) are welcomed as valued members of all general education classes and extra-curricular activities in their local schools, (c) fully participate and learn alongside their same age peers in general education instruction based on the general education curriculum and (d) experience reciprocal social relationships. – TASH National Agenda, Inclusive Education
A Values Perspective
TASH advocates for full membership, relationships, participation and learning for all students with disabilities, and within inclusive general education settings. We support diversity in the classroom and in the community, and we recognize the fundamental right to, and reciprocal benefits of, inclusive education for students with and without disabilities.
True inclusion can be achieved within general education classrooms, in which students with disabilities have access to general education curriculum and learn alongside their same-aged peers without disabilities. We know that education through general education classrooms involves more than just a physical presence. It also includes access to the curriculum.
Students with disabilities are entitled to be free from discrimination, and are to be provided with equal opportunity to learn what other students are expected to learn. These are rights guaranteed under the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution; federal civil rights law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act; the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act; and, the Americans with Disabilities Act, among other state constitutions and state law.
Despite clear legal rights and numerous judicial rulings affirming the rights of students with disabilities, they far too frequently remain isolated and separately education within our education system, and are often provided a diluted, inferior education and denied meaningful opportunities to learn. For these reasons, the ongoing effort of TASH is to promote policy, research and effective practices that ensure inclusive educational experiences for students of all ages with significant disabilities.
TASH Resolutions: Quality Inclusive Education | Post Secondary Education | Educating Young Children with Significant Disabilities | Paraeducator Employment, Roles, Preparation and Supervision | Teacher Education | Related Services | Preparation of Related Services Personnel for Work in Educational Settings
What We’re Doing
For decades, TASH has been a leader in promoting inclusive practices in education. We advocate for full membership, relationships, participation and learning for all students with disabilities within inclusive general education classes. Backed by the TASH value of educational equity, the guidance and training TASH offers is firmly grounded in evidence-based practices and research.
TASH actively pushes for system reform in schools that results in improved outcomes for students with disabilities, both while in school and after they leave the school setting. We keep our advocacy efforts intentional and focused by developing strong relationships with education leaders, partners in federal agencies and members of congress.
Through these relationships TASH has become an essential voice on education policy and school reform. We work closely with our partners to shape good policy to improve education outcomes. And are the first to point out clear deficiencies and disparities in our current systems, and provide workable solutions for long term student success.
TASH has continued these efforts as our school systems have come under the pressure of the COVID-19 crisis, resulting in unprecedented and rapid redesign of school systems and curriculum. See our statement Statement on Inclusive & Remote Learning during COVID-19.
Our efforts to promote future research that integrates inclusive values with strong science has resulted in the Inclusive Education National Research Advocacy Agenda. The agenda articulates a compelling argument to engage in advocacy for effective and established research to continue as well as to launch new and innovative research promoting inclusive education for students with significant disabilities.
Our model of improving policy at the national level is also circulated throughout our nationwide chapter network. TASH chapters are affecting change at the state and local level to ensure a broad, comprehensive alignment of policy and practice in education. We’re also heavily involved in policy alignment for the SWIFT Center, a national technical assistance center that supports both academic and behavioral outcomes of students while leveraging the full breadth of resources in schools and communities. You can learn more about our work with the SWIFT Center and view issue briefs on school-wide inclusive practices at https://www.swiftschools.org.
In 2014, TASH joined nearly 30 civil rights groups and education advocates in the release of shared civil rights principles for the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). TASH strongly supports the focus on the important and historic role the federal government has played during the 50 years since ESEA was originally passed in promoting educational opportunity and protecting the rights and interests of students.
TASH also provides high-quality training aimed at school administrators, educators and parents offered through our online webinars. Each training is developed to meet specific needs in improving school policy, practice and outcomes. Additionally, TASH offers in-person training and education opportunities throughout the year, including the annual TASH Conference and our series of regional conferences. You can learn more about these programs here. TASH honors the outstanding contributions of a leader in the field by awarding the June Downing Breakthroughs in Inclusive Education Award each year.
Stay up to date on the work of TASH and its members by visiting our blog. And find additional tools and resources on Inclusive Education by visiting the TASH Resource Library.