"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Emerging Mood for the Exclusion of Inclusion

Yesterday during the train ride back from the City, it was not unusual to see fellow passengers reading the Wall Street Journal. What was unusual was the middle of the front page placement of an education story that ran to the bottom of the page and beyond. On, of all subjects, the problems associated with mainstreaming special education students. Why would the WSJ give over 3,000 words to a front-page education story on inclusion, and why would they then make this story one of the very few that is not tucked beyond their pay to read firewall, as I found out this morning when I did an web search for it. Why would the WSJ want so many of its readers, regular and otherwise, aware of the problems related to inclusion of special populations in regular ed classrooms?

Could it have anything to do with a new push by voucher and charter advocates to deal with a continuing annoyance that stands in the way of their neoliberal and neoconservative final cheap solutions for indoctrinating the poor, the minority, and the immigrant in church and/or corporate schools? If these efficiency zealots could return us to a time of segregating and warehousing the disabled, the autistic, the mentally and emotionally disturbed, then the biggest hurdle faced by charter and voucher advocates could be neutralized, shall we say.

Is the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal really concerned about the claim presented in the story that a significant number of veteran teachers are leaving the profession because of problems brought on by mainstreaming? Has the Editorial Board ever given this kind of attention to the other well-documented reasons that creative, ethical teachers are leaving teaching, the ones who are fed up with the new uncaring scripted testing camps we have created for urban America? Or has the Editorial Board of WSJ ever given attention to why the best and the brightest cannot afford to even consider teaching as a profession? Could this 3,000+ words signal the sawing off of the third leg of the human rights stool that Americans built during the 60s and 70s? First came the attack on desegregation, then the attack on gender equality, and now comes the attack on IDEA? What kind of country are we becoming under the philosophy of moneyism?

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