News Posts

Inclusionary Practices Project Newsletter | Fall 2021

November 17, 2021

Our Fall IPP newsletter focuses on a variety of myths that surround both inclusionary practices and Career Technical Education (CTE). It includes links to new resources and research that highlight the myth-busting facts and encourages collaboration from the state to local levels.

We hope you find these resources helpful and look forward to opportunities to continue moving this important work forward in the new year!

horizontal rule

Challenging Myths Together

Whether students choose to continue their education after high school or move directly into the workforce, both Special Education and CTE look at their roles as providing a launch-pad for students to move to the next phase of their lives. When we work together, we can establish a culture that acknowledges the strengths of all members of our school community. This leads to significant changes in the futures of our students.

Special Education and CTE are united by OSPI’s vision to ensure that all students are prepared for postsecondary pathways, careers, and civic engagement. Working in partnership, we can dispel harmful untruths, create equitable classrooms, and break down the barriers to learning that all students experience.

Think about the ways that myths around inclusionary practices connect with those surrounding CTE, and how all the facts come together to support improved post-school outcomes for students with disabilities. Consider sharing these resources with your Special Education and CTE colleagues and start a conversation.

Let's do this together!

horizontal rule

A string of fall leaves that reads the quote:
Photo by Chris Lawton on Unsplash

horizontal rule

New Resource: Myths & Facts About Inclusionary Practices

OSPI Special Education, the TIES Center, and UW Haring Center developed Myths & Facts about Inclusionary Practices as a resource to challenge the myths and highlight the facts of why inclusionary practices work for every student.

Myths & Facts about Inclusionary Practices in Washington State (PDF) can be shared with everyone to start the discussion, inform decisions, and help begin the journey for a more inclusive educational experience for all. Topics include:

Costs of Inclusion

  • Myth: Including students with significant cognitive disabilities costs more than educating them in segregated special education programs.
  • Fact: Providing flexible services in general education settings is not more expensive. In fact, it enables schools to maximize resources to meet the needs of each student.

Who Can Provide Specially Designed Instruction?

  • Myth: Students with significant cognitive disabilities can only receive specially designed Instruction (SDI) from their case manager or assigned special education teacher.
  • Fact: SDI can be provided by any teacher or educational staff member as long as the SDI is designed and supervised by special education licensed staff.

Readiness for Inclusion

  • Myth: Students with significant cognitive disabilities must show they are ready for the general education setting.
  • Fact: Every student is a general education student. All students have the right to be educated in general education settings.

Curriculum & Standards

  • Myth: When a student has a significant cognitive disability, their curriculum is their IEP, meaning they focus exclusively on their annual IEP goals.
  • Fact: The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) require that all students make progress toward grade-level learning standards.

Parents & Inclusion

  • Myth: All parents of children with significant cognitive disabilities want their children educated in separate programs or classrooms.
  • Fact: Inclusive education helps students with significant cognitive disabilities and their families feel a sense of belonging as part of the entire school community.

Disability & Placement

  • Myth: A student's diagnosis or disability determines program placement.
  • Fact: Placement is not predetermined. A student’s disability category does not drive placement in more restrictive settings.

Assessment & Academics

  • Myth: Cognitive assessments (or a minimum IQ score) are necessary for academic goals and instruction.
  • Fact: All students are general education students. All students receive academic instruction.

For evidence to support these facts and strategies for dispelling these myths, visit Myths & Facts about Inclusionary Practices on the OSPI website.

horizontal rule

Myths & Facts About CTE

At the core of CTE lies the passion for preparing youth for the future. This future includes employment, continuing education, high paying jobs, and so much more. However, there are still many misconceptions that exist concerning the rigor, value, and relevance of CTE courses.

Earlier this year, the team at iCEV addressed some of these fallacies in a myth-busting blog post. They emphasize the importance of CTE enrollment and highlight ways that “students involved in CTE programs are enhancing their employability and personal skills through experiential learning to set themselves ahead in their future careers.”

Rigor and Expectations

  • Myth: Career and Technical Education is for low-performing students or students who don’t go on to college or postsecondary training.
  • Fact: CTE develops students’ potential for college and career readiness; statistically CTE students have higher graduation rates and higher postsecondary education enrollment compared to other students.


  • Myth: CTE programs lead to careers with low wages.
  • Fact: Taking advanced CTE courses in high school is associated with higher wages in the workforce. On average, workers see a two percent wage increase for each upper-level CTE course taken.


  • Myth: CTE programs aren’t relevant if a student doesn’t know what career they want. 
  • Fact: CTE allows students to explore the professional world to develop their skills, enhance their potential, and identify future career options.

For supporting evidence and details, read the full post: MythBusters: The Truth Behind 3 of the Most Common Myths About CTE.

horizontal rule

Research Worth Reviewing

High School Graduates Reassessing Postsecondary Plans During COVID-19, Prioritizing Real-World Skills and Alternate Career Pathways

A recent report published by the Strada Education Network highlights experiences of high school graduates who delayed their postsecondary education plans in 2020 and 2021. Three major priorities emerged when considering when and how to re-engage with higher education:

  • Personalizing college and career guidance
  • Removing financial barriers
  • Connecting college and career, and making academics relevant to real-world interests

“These priority areas shed light on effective supports that state Career Technical Education (CTE) leaders and educational institutions can implement to promote the success of aspiring postsecondary learners disrupted by the pandemic. Financial assistance, mentoring relationships and personalized advising supports are especially powerful tools for closing the opportunity gaps that hinder the success of learners with low incomes, learners of color and first-generation college students.”

Making Good on the Promise: Improving Equity in and Access to Quality CTE Programs for Students Experiencing Homelessness

This new resource, published by Advance CTE in partnership with the National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE), identifies common barriers to high-quality CTE for learners experiencing homelessness. It suggests strategies for how CTE and homeless education leaders can work together to build new opportunities for learners experiencing homelessness in their state to access and succeed in CTE programs. Action steps for state leaders include:

  • Reach out and connect with the appropriate CTE or homeless education counterpart
  • Focus on concrete efforts with mutual benefit to each other’s work
  • Start somewhere and build confidence in the partnership
  • Continue to invest over time

Partnering to Improve Career and Technical Education for Students with Disabilities: A Position Paper of the Division on Career Development and Transition (PDF)

This 2019 article was developed jointly by members of the Council for Exceptional Children’s Division of Career Development and Transition (DCDT) and members of the CTE community who belong to the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE). It provides recommendations for collaboration to improve access to and success in CTE for students with disabilities. This paper:

  • Explores CTE’s effectiveness as a secondary special education and transition service
  • Summarizes relevant federal legislation
  • Presents key recommendations for policy, practice, professional development, and research

horizontal rule

IPP on the CCTS Website

If you missed any workshops from the 2020-21 school year, PowerPoint slide decks from all our presentations are available on the CCTS website. Recording links are also available for many of the trainings.