When it comes to inclusive education, one of the biggest myths about inclusion is as follows: “Inclusion is not about physical proximity. It is about planning for the success of all students.”

Let me bust this myth right from the get-go. Full inclusion doesn’t mean students with disabilities (significant or otherwise) should spend 100% of the time in a general education classroom.

If you are offended by this statement, then inclusion advocates, like myself, have done a poor job communicating what inclusion is really about.

Full inclusion is better understood as a mindset and framework for educating students with and without disabilities.

The idea that “we learn better together” is not a new concept. In fact, it is a notion that has been in the refining of academic and peer-reviewed studies for 30 years.

Per SWIFT Schools: “Thirty years of research shows us that when students with varied learning and support needs learn together, they experience better academic and behavioral outcomes, social relationships, high school graduation rates, and post-school success.”

Before you start rolling your eyes, consider that there are multiple examples of authentic and thoughtful inclusive education around the United States, Canada, and other parts of the world. But you’ve seen inclusion fail with your own eyes. Or you think inclusion only works for specific students. Alternately, you believe that time spent in general education is the most substantial measure of whether a school is inclusive.

Friends, you have missed the point.