The Benefit of Inclusion
By Sasha in Detroit

People who don't understand that inclusive education is an inherent human right - question the "benefit of inclusion", just as they questioned giving blacks and women the right to vote and the many other human right injustices that have been identified and fought throughout history.

People who have the experience (or fear) of inclusive education practices without "support" question the "benefit of inclusion".  People who have the experience of inequality in education, without support or resources question our current system.

There are many questions about how to support (or change) the educational system so that it is fair and equitable FOR ALL.  Public Education has been a system that places the majority at a disadvantage while benefiting a few. The majority being the IDEA, section 504, second language, gifted learners, immigrant, differently religious, at risk, lower economical class, differently looking, sized, sounding, smelling, and differently abled learners.  The majority in reality is a "few" who in our "traditional way" of schooling have greatly benefited.

The challenge is to meet the needs of all ... and to affirm the inherentworth and dignity of all... really, it's not just certified special education children we are talking about.  It's all the children, who for one reason or another, need us to took at the "traditional" ways (and I use that word loosely as other cultures do it "traditionally differently") we teach children, and the way children learn, and the way we set up schools, and clubs and communities that benefit and cater to the "few" while the growing majority remain at a disadvantage. It is about looking at our system of schooling children and changing it - so that all benefit and belong.

There is no clear answer to how to do it right - that is true, but there is lot's of everyday examples of how wrong it as been, for many, for a long time.  I have those nay-saying friends and family members too... but they are not walking in my shoes as a teacher or a mother, my sonís shoes, or any of my studentsí shoes.  I can't expect them to really understand, unless they get really close to it.


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