Separate but equal?:Debunking the “General Education”/ “Special Education” Dialectic. Hank Bersani COE Brownbag Seminar Oct 16, 2008
In Greek philosophy dialecticδιαλεκτικήis controversy • the exchange of arguments and counter-arguments respectively advocating propositions or theses, and counter-propositions, or antitheses. The outcome of the exercise might not simply be the refutation of one of the relevant points of view, but a synthesis or combination of the opposing assertions, or at least a qualitative transformation in the direction of the dialogue.
Another way of trying to resolve a disagreement is by denying some presupposition of both the contending thesis and antithesis; thereby moving to a third (synthesis)
The presupposition of a dialectical dialogue is that the participants share at least some meanings and principles of valid inference, even if they do not agree.
As educators and special educators we have many assumptions in common. The purpose of this paper is to challenge the idea that special ed and general ed (or teacher ed) are really 2 entities.
"Father, Mother, and Me,Sister and Auntie sayAll the people like us are We,And every one else is They." -- Rudyard Kipling, "We and They"
Kai Erickson in Wayward Puritans Argues that we have a social need for deviance, that by saying who is NOT is, we define who we are.
That is to say, today, in education, (general) Education is defined by who it does not include: special education, and special education is defined by who it does not include (general) education
There can be no special education without separation from general education and there can be no general education without the exclusion of special education. There would just be education.
Separate but equal What is the origin of that phrase?
Many see this as a nod to the U.S. Supreme Court Decision in Brown vs The Board of Education in Topeka Kansas 1954
Chief Justice Warren – for the majority stated: • "We come then to the question presented: Does segregation of children in public schools solely on the basis of race, even though the physical facilities and other "tangible" factors may be equal, deprive the children of the minority group of equal educational opportunities? We believe that it does...We conclude that in the field of public education the doctrine of 'separate but equal' has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal. Therefore, we hold that the plaintiffs and others similarly situated for whom the actions have been brought are, by reason of the segregation complained of, deprived of the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment
1951 Hugh Speer, testifying in District course on behalf of the NAACP said • "...if the colored children are denied the experience in school of associating with white children, who represent 90 percent of our national society in which these colored children must live, then the colored child's curriculum is being greatly curtailed. The Topeka curriculum or any school curriculum cannot be equal under segregation
But this is not the origin of the so-called “doctrine” of Separate but equal
1896 Plessey v Ferguson • Mr. Plessey, legally considered to be colored because of his 1/8 black heritage, was required to ride in the colored car on the train. • He refused, was arrested, convicted, and appealed up to the Supreme Court. • In that decision, the Court decided in favor of the legal requirement of separation as long as the facilities were equal.
In that case attorneys for the defense argued that separate facilities Implied inferiority and perpetuated a inferior/superior status among people
Justice Brown wrote in the majority decision, that the law did not "stamp the colored race with a badge of inferiority" and that any such suggestion is "solely because the colored race chooses to place that construction on it."
Today Educators claim to embrace “public education”, and “diversity”. The rhetoric gives the impression that all children are welcomed in our schools and in our classrooms
However, the reality is far different: Schools continue segregation based on ability.
The last sanctioned segregation in our schools is Ability Apartheid.
While we decry racial segregation as inherently unequal, we continue to be comfortably segregated on the basis of ability/disability.
The thing about segregations is, that it segregates us all equally • My children went to segregated schools here in Oregon. • My son and daughter were segregated. • They were labeled, and sent to different rooms, different teachers, and had different experiences because of their labels. • Both were labeled TAG
Neither grew up seeing a school that was integrated On the basis of ability
Is there a case to be made in special education? Is it inherently unequal, and that it is so institutionalized that we do not recognize it?
We know institutional racism when we see it. Can we recognize institutional ablism when we teach it?
1975 Education of all handicapped Children Act As many as 2 million students excluded from public schools on the basis of “handicap”
30 years later Many students continue to spend most of their day segregated based on ability
Percent of students segregated 60% of school day or more • Mental retardation – 51% • Multiple disabilities - 48% • Emotional disturbance- 37% • Learning disabilities – 11% • What if these were other categories of diversity?
Segregation based on ability is not seen as offensive, and in fact is reified to be desirable
Just as “all” once meant white (male) Now “all” often means “except disabled”
How do popular teacher education books and magazines handle the topic? Review your texts (including texts focusing on “diversity”) and look for key words
IDEA IEP 504 plan FAPE LRE Zero reject Disability Special education Learning disability Autism Accommodation Modification Important concepts
Racial integration but not ability integration
Gender equality But not ability equality
Title IX but not IDEA
Ableism From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (Redirected from Ablism) Jump to: navigation, search http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ablism • Ableism is a term used to describe discrimination against people with disabilities in favour of people who are not disabled. • Advocates of the term argue that ableism is, like racism, and sexism, a system by which main-stream society denigrates and devalues those with disabilities, while privileging those without disabilities. Morality, worth and intelligence are equated to being ablebodied or ableminded, while disability is conflated with immorality, stupidity, and worthlessness. • An ableist society treats non-disabled individuals as the standard of ‘normal living’. This results in public and private places & services, education and social work that are built to serve 'standard' people, excluding those with various disabilities. • The mere presumption that everyone is non-disabled is effectively discriminatory in itself, creating environments which are hostile to the disabled. • In an inclusive society, on the other hand, all products and services are fully accessible and usable for as much people as possible. An ableist society tends to isolation, where an inclusive society tends to integration or inclusion. • In the U.S., the Americans with Disabilities Act enacted into law civil penalties for failing to make a public place accessible to individuals with certain impaired abilities and/or using standard assistive technologies, such as wheelchairs. In the UK, the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and 2005 attempt the Ableism is a term used to describe discrimination against people with disabilities in favour of people who are not disabled. Advocates of the term argue that ableism is, like racism, and sexism, a system by which main-stream society denigrates and devalues those with disabilities, while privileging those without disabilities. Morality, worth and intelligence are equated to being ablebodied or ableminded, while disability is conflated with immorality, stupidity, and worthlessness. An ableist society treats non-disabled individuals as the standard of ‘normal living’. This results in public and private places & services, education and social work that are built to serve 'standard' people, excluding those with various disabilities. The mere presumption that everyone is non-disabled is effectively discriminatory in itself, creating environments which are hostile to the disabled. In an inclusive society, on the other hand, all products and services are fully accessible and usable for as much people as possible. An ableist society tends to isolation, where an inclusive society tends to integration or inclusion. In the U.S., the Americans with Disabilities Act enacted into law civil penalties for failing to make a public place accessible to individuals with certain impaired abilities and/or using standard assistive technologies, such as wheelchairs. In the UK, the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and 2005 attempt the
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audism Audism is a term used to describe discrimination or stereotypes against deaf or hard of hearing people, for example by assuming that the cultural ways of hearing people are preferable or superior to those of deaf or signing culture, or that deaf people are somehow less capable than hearing people. Audists can either be hearing or deaf. Audism occurs when a deaf person is judged as incapable of a given behavior, occupation, etc. simply because he or she cannot hear. Audism is often coupled with a "hearing" superiority: an attitude of thinking one person is superior to another person because he or she can hear better than him or her. Audism takes another form concerning interactions between the deaf: deaf people who will not use sign language and who will not identify with the Deaf community may consider themselves to be "better" than others who use sign language and are part of Deaf culture. While opponents of audism seek to educate the public that Deaf people can do anything but hear, they recognize there are limitations in certain situations — service in the army, employment as a commercial pilot, or telemarketing, perhaps. However, aside from a few, select examples, audism's opponents argue that the Deaf are capable of excelling in a myriad of settings and deserve equal opportunity. Definitions Audism (from Latin audire, to hear, and -ism, a system of practice, behavior, belief, or attitude) has been variously defined as: The belief that life without hearing is futile and miserable, that hearing loss is a tragedy and "the scourge of mankind," and that deaf people should struggle to be as much like hearing people as possible. Deaf activists Heidi Reed and Hartmut Teuber at D.E.A.F. Inc., a community service and advocacy organization in Boston, consider audism to be "a special case of ableism." Audists, hearing or deaf, shun Deaf culture and the use of sign language, and have what Reed and Teuber describe as "an obsession with the use of residual hearing, speech, and lip reading by deaf people." (Pelka 1997: 33) The notion that one is superior based on one's ability to hear or behave in the manner of one who hears. (Tom Humphrey 1977, quoted in Zak 1996) An attitude based on pathological thinking which results in a negative stigma toward anyone who does not hear; like racism or sexism, audism judges, labels, and limits individuals on the basis of whether a person hears and speaks. (Humphrey and Alcorn 1995: 85) The corporate institution for dealing with deaf people--dealing with them by making statements about them, authorizing views of them, describing them, teaching about them, governing where they go to school and, in some cases, where they live; in short, audism is the hearing way of dominating, restructuring, and exercising authority over the deaf community. It includes such professional people as administrators of schools for deaf children and of training programs for deaf adults, interpreters, and some audiologists, speech therapists, otologists, psychologists, psychiatrists, librarians, researchers, social workers, and hearing aid specialists. (Lane 1992: 43) Audism From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to: navigation, search
Vision What is our shared vision of a modern democratic, non-discriminatory, diverse, accepting, public school?
With few exceptions that shared vision includes • Racial integration, equality, “color blind” education. • Gender integration, equality, “gender blind” education. • Culturally diverse, diversity valuing, pluralistic, heterogeneous schools that represent the heterogeneity of the broader society.
All the while Children with disabilities are quietly served in special classes for special students homogenously grouped in special ways with teachers who are specially trained with separate licenses to help them with their special needs.
Taught by teachers who are not licensed to teach “education” Just as colored students were taught by colored-teachers teachers who were not licensed to teach (white) education
Who needs to change? Its a vicious cycle
The US Department of Education Promulgates separate standards for special and general education
State Departments of Ed fund and formulate special classes