All I can say is that the cold must be getting to him . Mark Ewing, who clearly has a Bomb Pop for a brain, hails from Wasilla Alaska. This fellow has stated that children who can’t move their wheelchairs don’t need to be educated
Dear Mark Ewing:
Here’s a short list of people who have disabilities who have benefited the universe just by being around, and *further* benefited our nation by getting an education.
Lawrence Carter-Long, professor and movie critic.
Nick Dupree, writer, activist, and killer comic book writer, whose life has been a workbook on what we may have to do to live independently.
Attila The Mom’s kids, who also have a cool, twisty, interesting and educated path towards self sufficiency.
Steven Hawking. He couldn’t move his chair, but he’s moved scientific discourse about the worlds (not a typo and yeah he’s a brit )
Kay Olson, my blog mentor, who unwittingly, since she didn’t know me at all, taught me the language of disability rights.
David Gaynes, another bright young fellow in a chair. Got an education. Using it well.
Ruth Harrigan, poet of faith.
And countless, countless others with disabilities…
They are citizens of this country. The notion that some with impairments should have educational opportunity and some should not…is beyond stupid and damaging to the credibility of the language of freedom, let alone the credibility of the clown who said it.
People with disabilities…need the skills of critical thinking, the logical wilderness of numbers, the mystery of science, the joy of well used language…*to help them live more independently, to cost themselves and society less, and to integrate and master their impairments as adults.*
(and don’t whine and bring up those with cognitive impairment… It’s a different playing field, yes…but education still happens, that improves their quality of life.)
Should their parents and friends be caregivers for uneducated persons? Are there no workhouses? Should they be abandoned on the hillside?
Mr. Ewing, God help you if you or a family member or friend faces the question of educating a child with disabilities. Because someday that child is going to learn to read, grow up, use Google and find out you wrote this ****.
The GOP platform in Texas opposes any teaching that would tend to make students question their fixed beliefs.
If parents and advisors who hold the challenged beliefs are concerned…are they incapable of using the many many apologetics for fixed belief systems from Fundamentalist Christianity all the way to atheism? From Buddhism to Objectivism? From socialism to libertarianism?…to present the opposite position?
I can’t believe that there is now a plank in any political platform that says “Don’t question. Don’t even consider reexamining what you thought you knew to be true.”
It’s the point of the school years to question.
On the conservative side, there wouldn’t be politically active Evangelicals, energized Libertarians, without someone having questioned a previous interpretation of these things.
Many, many of the ‘flower children’ are conservatives now, just as many of those who supported George W. Bush have at least moved into the ‘independent’ column.
To stop the *ability* to make these shifts in thinking by sabotaging the educational process will not serve the purpose you believe it serves.
It will simply educate a generation of people into being lost souls.
…that’s being dedicated today…
and how my growing up differed from my parents my neighbors and my eventual able bodied schoolmates with regard to race. And, that difference wouldn’t have happened had I been born able bodied.
I’m also thinking about what I didn’t learn at that age about oppression within the disabillity community. Surprisingly, the second lesson took a lot longer.
I’m white. White, white, the whitest.
I grew up in a middle middle to upper middle class suburb. It’s most wealthy resident swore to keep it white, as it had been when both sets of my biological parents grew up there, white Anglo-Saxon Protestants.
when I was a little girl in the sixties, I’d imagine some on our street didn’t lock their doors every night. I felt safe and I was. Like a living breathing episode of the Brady Bunch with one kid instead of six.
Nobody was marching there. I never saw any guys with long hair or tye dyed shirts.
But I left that world in a station wagon or commercial van. [this predated the hated “short buses.”] every school day beginning in 1965 or 1966 when I was three or four and bussed to what is known today as the Achievement Centers for Children, in Cleveland, on East Boulevard for nursery school with other kids with disabilities.
My busing experience predated forced busing by several years. A high percentage of the kids with disabilities from the suburbs were bussed in, as this was one of only a few “Special Education” schools in the area. Kids of all faiths, all colors. (Back then it had the telethonish name of the Society for Crippled Children) When you’re three or four, your personality isn’t even completely set yet, not to mention your value system. (All I remember from those school days is playing the triangle and hitting blocks to make music, and walking up a fake flight of stairs and falling down the same flight, clanking around in my leg braces.)
Kindergarten, which I probably entered in the fall of 1967, at five-two-months-til-I’d-be six, was at another City of Cleveland school for kids with physical disabilities, with a subsection built soon thereafter for kids with physical and cognitive impairment. It had the unabashedly perky moniker of Sunbeam School.
[Gawd what was it with the sappy names? Camp Cheerful in the summertime was another one. The blind, and deaf schools next door and across the street had names with some logic, Anthony Wayne, and Alexander Graham Bell. But if you had mobility problems? Sappy, Sappy Sappy.]
My best friend in kindergarten, Carla, had a startling difference. She was black. “She’s the real thing,” I told my astonished great grandmother one day.
“Since I’m lighter than her,”
“Lighter than she,” …said educator great-grandma.
“Since I’m lighter than she I must be an imitation!”
We both really wanted to visit each others houses. I had met Carla’s Mom, and thought her nearly as beautiful as my own Mom. I know that Mom and Carla’s Mom spoke together on the telephone…it appeared a good conversation. I learned later that both sets of parents were equally concerned about the wisdom or safety of Carla and I crossing lines that way in 1968. So it never happened.
And there was Suzie with no arms, and when I was older, Debbie with braces and crutches…and Jackie with braces in eighth grade, a role model in the “smart and funny,” department when I had to return from mainstreaming for a year, and Denise, with the same impairment as Suzie. And Nanette, who didn’t believe in birthdays or Christmas. Bernadette and Danny, who smiled all the time. Not to mention Eddie, who was black who was also my boyfriend one summer at that sappy camp.
And with them other students with other differences…my third and fourth grade friends Robin and Janette who were a different religion than me. Wilbur, who was another different skin tone, and by eighth grade quite the ladies man.
The teachers were wonderful, and earned every perk they ever got.
Mrs. Glennon, my first grade and LD teacher (I was ‘gradeless’ in second grade, educated with LD kidsbecause they were trying to make sure I grew out of a very early learning disability – dyslexia.)
Mrs. Glennon took us to her farm in the spring.
Mrs. Sternberg, in my last year there, who had to wrangle us to focus on schoolwork, when even as kids, we were buzzing about the Watergate hearings.
Mrs Mischal my gym teacher, and then in eighth grade, my homeroom teacher… Best disciplinarian there. Fair, and unyielding.
And the art teacher Mr. Eagle-eye, who was so cool explaining his name and the Native American traditions, that I didn’t want to fail him…art which I failed and failed and failed at. All my bizarre and interesting ideas ended up being stick figures. Mr. Eagle-Eye was pleasant and undaunted about it.
By fourth grade, interacting one on one, race did not matter to me at all. I didn’t think about it.
But even in that place…the one huge bigotry we all carried around…was universal loud scorn about the cognitively impaired kids “down that corridor.” All the rest of the Other’s we didn’t seem to give a crap about, but nobody saw the hypocrisy in “othering” those kids.
The next year, when I was mainstreamed, the only gimpy kid in a roomful of ableds, they were freaking out a little bit.
“You’ve actually SEEN a black person?”
I couldn’t help it. I burst out laughing. “Of course I have! Haven’t you?”
Crickets. And some racist stuff from them.
“Oh, brother. They’re people. They’re no different. Don’t be dumb.”
That, of course, did not go over well.
Being white and liberal… I’d be stupid to claim I’m completely free of racism, or leaning on stereotype…but it always seems to have to do with location. I’m scared in poor neighborhoods when it isn’t midday.
The fears of my parents about being in certain neighborhoods in the city or suburbs did transfer to me. I’ve still got it. Any part of Cleveland proper where I’d be a minority, I behave differently. Watchful. If I end up living in University Circle in a few years, that mindset’s going to return. It was there when I lived downtown. It was screaming loudly when my best friend lived just behind Shaker Square after college. It’s ingrained. I try to think of it in terms of safety alone, because I figure the more I do that, the less I’ll come off racist.
My first full-time workplace was almost equally divided in terms of black and white.
I’d like to think my melting pot of a school had the effect of making that detail irrelevant on the job.
And I feel sad that so many people that grew up where I did still have that fundamental problem that people who don’t look like them…are automatically less.
The days I really regret in my school experience where I willfully disregarded my own advice above…
Even after mainstreaming in fifth grade when I should have had more sense, I verbally “went” after a cognitively impaired boy named Billy while some other kids were also doing so. To distinguish myself from him, and to make a useless attempt at ‘fitting in.’
My day in the future that I think about with hope, is the day the word ‘retard’ is out of the language, and kids with physical disabilities interact with and talk about cognitively impaired kids with sensitivity.
When it’s a good day, I don’t think “I’ve run out of positive and will just hide in the corner,” Instead I say “New paradigm ok, how to work with it, within it, not against it.”
And new paradigm with me almost always seemed to lead to diagnosis of a previously unknown long standing impairment or illness. I had five that were previously listed. Now one has been reclassifield and one is brand new.
So, like always, a personal history digression. Excuse it, but it’s one of these blog posts I have to get down, if only to get the chronology recorded for the next disability review.
“How could you possibly lose that? You just put it down! You can’t tell me you don’t know where it is? My sudden short circuits about where things are remains legendary. (That, and other characteristics of my professional and academic life have recently (2009) been brought out and presented to me as adult ADD. I have been dealing with that since I was five years old. Still diagramming how and whether to medicate.
And, it hit me at a pivotal point in my life, with very life changing and regretful results.
A masters thesis in history was beginning to take hold of my brain…I’d finished two years of TA’ing. I had an outline. I had notes (pre computer on 3 x5 index cards) of the murky first draft that I wanted to do. I remember (and memory can play tricks of course) I remember putting a backpack full of notes and my husband’s Bible under my desk in the teacher’s assistance room.
When I went back, the backpack was gone. I searched my apartment, I had my mom search her home, I searched our car and my mother in law’s house.
Those notes the bible, the backpack itself… were never found, and I bailed. I was irrational about continuing at that point…to start from the beginning seemed impossible. It had which sources I would use, the outline etc.
So I did not become a history professor. In, part…because my brain short-circuited. Nothing was in there worth stealing, maybe I left them there earlier than I thought and they were taken as a “lost and found’ thing. I have no thought that anyone stole them. That way lies paranoia.
And, the effects of an unknown aggravator of an existing impairment.
1983. Fell down a flight of stairs and probably damaged something internal l which I now believe was my gall bladder Have had specific constant back pain in the tissues ever since which has not been investigated properly ’cause, you know, I’m fat, and there was some diagnostics my insurance wouldn’t allow. In 1995 I was having a massage (ah, the 90’s. Money!) and after I had signed a waiver, they pressed too hard on that quadrant of my back and I felt something go…but as I said no investigation…
2009. When my gall bladder emergency surgery was done, the surgeon described it as “infected and crushed.” So, backtracking it makes sense. I still have pain, so I figure more may have been damaged, by these original injuries so I’ll find out in the next ten years what got damaged. Having an imperfect gall bladder or none at all) is often the cause of really ramped up gut problems.
1996 “You may have low thyroid, but not enough to medicate.” 2008 “You have low thyroid and it could have been responsible for up to one-third of your weight gains.” Damn. Just Damn.
Now on cheap medicine for that.
Again, not for sympathy points, but just for documentation.
The list of impairments now stands at.
Born with ataxic cerebral palsy.
Existing gut trouble aggravated by bile. (The bile problem may be gradually lessening due to a specific med for that part.)
Tendon deformity, arrival 2008
Adult (and probably childhood) ADD.
And, I am very angry that I lived with some of these not knowing they were happening.
Some of the new stuff wasn’t known about till the 1990’s or so like the ADD and I get that.
But these others?
Stealing from teachers with different points of view, now are they?