A few years ago, I came across an essay called “For 2013 I’d like these things to go away.” I liked her list and I liked her idea, so I have tried to mimic it every year. Some years I forget. But there are some things in special education and society in general that just need to go away. And just like in the spirit of Ms. Eshelman’s, for the record, I do not wish anyone any harm or wish them dead. I just want them to go away. So here is my list.
Here are the things that really need to go away NOW and not appear in 2017. Or ever.
“tard” anything: I don’t just mean the word retard. I also mean “libtard” and “fucktard” and other versions of it. Whatever it is, it needs to stop. There are literally millions of Americans and people worldwide who have the words “mentally retarded” on their medical and educational records. My own son being one of them. (because it came about before we stopped using that language) It’s a sucker punch each and every time I hear it. If you need to insult someone, find another word.
exclusion from school activities: This year I heard literally hundreds of specific stories from my blog readers about this. From being excluded from field trips, to school concerts, parties, and beyond. It’s illegal and it needs to stop.
gaslighting: Seriously people, just tell the truth. I want to bring back a movement to value honesty and truth. Because here’s the thing–today’s IEP parent is sooooo much more informed and educated on the IEP process than in years’ past. And YOU are the one who looks stupid when we go home, look up the regs or policy, and confirm that you are LYING to us. Just because Trump and his cronies do it does not make it ok. Make #Honesty your goal for 2017.
treating our public education system as society’s whipping boy: I’m so over this. Public education is not the enemy, unions are not the enemy. Neither are over zealous school boards, administrators….you know who is? People who REFUSE to appropriately fund public education. The good news here is–I personally think that we are going to see parents and teachers band together like never before and FIGHT LIKE HELL for our public schools. Over 90% of American kids are in public schools, the answer is NOT to funnel those resources to your private interests.
lying about motives: Let’s be honest–the motives for “school choice” are not competition and creating better public schools. It’s for you to take the money from public schools and either use it to forward your religious agenda, or to make money off the public education system. If you want to start a private school or further promote your private school….have at it! There is nothing stopping you. There’s no monopoly–to the contrary, private schools have many advantages that public schools do not have–like support from a parish and being able to choose your students. So if your private school isn’t doing as well as you’d like, make changes. But DO NOT think that you are going to get public school tax dollars without a fight.
anti-intellectualism and culture of ignorance: You know what is awesome? Education. Reading. Thinking. Learning. But anti-intellectualism is killing America. It’s “not cool” to be smart. Education is now thought to be “elitist.” Bullshit. Pick up a goddamned book and turn off the TV. Go to the library instead of the shooting range. Read an actual book instead of just scrolling headlines. We live in a country that has the potential to be the smartest populace in the world. To waste that would be a sin and a crime. Be proud that you are trying to better yourself, and that you are trying to make education more accessible to all Americans. That’s not elitist. That’s a lie.
debating science: This one I am soooo over. Vaccines do not cause autism. Climate change is real. So is evolution. Saying you do not believe in climate change is just like saying you don’t believe in gravity. I don’t know when science became debatable, but it has to stop.
school suspensions: We have the data that they don’t work. At any age. So why are we doing this? It shows a lack of willingness to work with a child, it’s solely punitive in nature and only reinforces the negative behavior. It shows that staff have little creative thinking and are not problem solvers. And for the love of God….suspending any child in KG or elementary school is just disgraceful. You should be embarrassed that you are doing this, ashamed, and look for a new profession.
Ok, my blood pressure is rising, lol. So I am going to stop now. The good news is that we can start 2017 fresh and new and push for the best.
Good luck and Happy New Year, thanks for being a reader.