Inclusive Education in an Urban Environment

Urban schools are one of the best places to promote inclusive education. Children with disabilities are among the most marginalized groups across all countries, and they are most likely to be excluded from education. When these children do attend school, an inaccessible learning environment and a lack of support from their peers and teachers hinders their education.

Given that cities host such a wide variety and range of people, more children with disabilities are likely to live and go to school in urban centers. Ensuring that schools are disability-friendly and accessible for all keeps certain marginalized groups from falling behind. Addressing accessibility and inclusion in the class room will also have far-reaching effects on urban issues like poverty.

Special education teachers are often underpaid and under-appreciated in schools, but the work that they do is vital to including all children into the education curriculum. Ensuring that these teachers continue to get trained and have access to the resources and support they need is vital to extend the reach of education.

ICTs can also play an important role in bridging the education gap between PWD and other urban dwellers. Cities are often hubs of innovation and development, making them the perfect place for new technologies to be introduced into the classroom.

Although cities provide many opportunities for the extension of inclusive education such as a wide variety of resources, a diverse student population, and greater access to things like museums, musical events and other forms of the arts, urban schools also bring their fair share of challenges. These include things like low academic standards, poorly trained teaching staff, low graduation rates, high suspension rates, and schools that feed the school-to-prison pipeline.

These challenges need to be addressed at the state and municipal levels so that urban education can improve on all levels. Funding and proper pay is especially important when considering that childhood schooling sets the foundation for students to be active citizens that want to be involved in the community and in the wider economy. Ensuring that children with disabilities are included from the beginning sets the precedent that they deserve the same opportunities as the rest of their peers and that they have important skills and abilities that can make a difference.