Current Status of Vocational Education in Ontario: the Exclusionary Outcomes of Marrying Vocational and Special Education
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The Government of Ontario 's universal student success initiative makes the claim that, through expanded programs, Ontario high schools are "changing to meet the individual needs of students and to help more of them succeed" (More Ways to Succeed, 2008, p. 2). Although it is up to each individual school board to determine the types of vocational and special education programming they provide, it is becoming increasingly common for Ontario 's vocational programming to be available only for students receiving special education. This paper explores how the ideas that drove the creation of vocational education in Ontario have become extremely disconnected from the current reality of vocational schools. Recent trends in high school programming are leading towards the marrying of vocational and special education two terms that are by no means synonymous. Through interviews and document analysis, this case study of one vocational high school highlights the current status of vocational education and illuminates how it has become linked to special education. This study also considers whether current practice in a vocational school that was originally founded on a vision of practical education for all is aligned with the current inclusionary model 's promise of equitable access to a variety of programs for all learners.