K-12 Education for All

The UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities recognizes inclusive education as a fundamental right to be universally guaranteed. In many countries around the world, children and young adults with disability are also granted the right to be part of the national mainstream education system, from elementary and middle school through high school. Yet in an age of budget cuts, staffing shortages and oversized classes, students with special needs don’t always receive the necessary support to facilitate their learning. The implications are especially troubling given today’s increased focus on college and career readiness. How can equal opportunities for academic and social development be offered, ideally ensured, to students with sensory and mobility conditions, with challenged or exceptional learning capabilities, and to every student in between?

The goals of this topic area are to explore the policies, support measures, attitudes and beliefs required to promote effective education and vocational training for K-12 students who may have challenges, are considered ‘at risk’ or with an impairment. We are looking for proposals in the following areas:

  • Attracting, mentoring, and retaining great teachers and leaders in classrooms, by expanding effective support to teachers and principals; conducting more frequent and demanding evaluations to ensure that teachers and principals are carrying out a more effective curricula that connect with students and help them grow; revising compensation and retention policies to encourage and reward effectiveness; and working to ensure that our most talented teachers are placed in the schools and subjects where they are needed the most;
  • Best practices and initiatives that ensure that Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) will be distributed equally and not only to potential new recipients such as for-profit groups and schools managed by the private sector;
  • Initiatives and best practices for reducing bullying rates, the elimination of truancy and the creation of supportive learning environments for all students;
  • Evidence based research and practice in how innovative teaching methodologies and school practices (such as meditation, school gardens, healthy eating, community service) contribute positively to marginalized student populations, including students with disabilities;
  • Building a school culture that supports teachers as facilitators and guides rather than holders of information, resulting in high levels of student achievement and community satisfaction;
  • Using innovation and effective approaches to turn around struggling schools, by asking states to prioritize and transform persistently low-performing schools; 
  • Best practices for inclusive education, including best practices for finding the methods that work best for each student, teacher and parent;
  • Best practices in early childhood learning which promote positive development outcomes and successful systems for improving early learning and development standards and assessments, and understanding that there is not just one effective learning model;
  • Successful initiatives which increase high school graduation rates and lessen the drop-out rates;
  • New advances and innovation in teaching diverse student populations from different economic, social and cultural backgrounds;
  • Identification of the major barriers to innovation in education and solutions to those barriers;
  • Research findings that shed light on innovative practices and/or analyze public policies or practices pertaining to K-12 education;
  • Proposals that address methods for enhancing the self-efficacy and self-advocacy of students with disabilities and at risk groups in this grade span.

We are particularly interested in receiving presentation proposals from advocates concerning their experiences and recommendations and from international participants providing cross-cultural perspectives.

We welcome all proposals. Please see presentation formats on our webpage at: http://www.pacrim.hawaii.edu/presenters/formats/. Please read criteria for each format and ensure that you have the appropriate number of presenters for your chosen format. You may submit proposals online at: http://www.pacrim.hawaii.edu/submissions or send your proposals via email to prcall@hawaii.edu.

If you have questions or need further information, please contact the Pacific Rim team at prcall@hawaii.edu. For general information on the conference, please contact Charmaine Crockett at cccrocke@hawaii.edu, (808) 956-7539. For registration questions please contact the registration desk at  prreg@hawaii.edu, phone (808) 956-8816, fax (808) 956-4437.