I want to be able to say that the events in Charlottesville today represent a new low in racial prejudice. The sickening truth is that this is not anything new, and it has been worse. Mary Turner. Emmett Till. Ida B. Wells made a career of documenting and bringing to light racially motivated lynching in America, yet we don’t read about her in school. From the beginning, America was structured to favor white people over people of color. This started with the atrocious institution of slavery and continued after the Emancipation Proclamation with the passing of laws in the south that practically recreated slavery and continues to this day.
Something interesting is going on in my small town. Mainly, the school board race is a big deal. Usually I pay attention because of the local Tea Party nuts who keep trying to get on, and I vote to keep them off, not because I’m excited about their opponent. The opponent typically has no background in education and is the incumbent and fine with the status quo, which I’m not. This year is different. For one thing, teachers and people with a background and education in child development and teaching are running. I’ve emailed them asking what will they do for autistic children, and their responses were exciting and included things that need to be implemented in schools. In short, for the first time I’m having to make a decision between two candidates I am excited about.
The state of education in Texas has been abysmal, and I think that Betsy DeVos was the straw that broke the camel’s back for a lot of people. I even thought of running for school board, but I’m horrible at popularity contests and instead am looking at unelected positions. It’s strange, because I was extremely vocal in protest about what little public schools offered my son, however, with that under attack, it’s sparked a resolve to do more to push back against it and improve schools.
Whether this will translate to momentum at the ballot box remains to be seen, and people are horrible at voting in these small election. But they matter!
I’m hoping that one of the people I am excited about can get on the board and make some needed changes and lead the fight against DeVos. Failing that, I’m just glad there’s some qualified competition for once.
I saw this on GeekDad about Intersectionality in Special Education and it left me feeling frustrated. Karen Walsh talks about how gifted children (and she prefers the term “sparky”) are discriminated against in school and how to fix it. While I agree with her description of the challenges sparky children face, I strongly disagree with the accusation that parents of children with special needs are hoarding resources for their children and leaving sparky children out to dry. The problem isn’t resources. The problem is a school system that caters to one educational type and punishes any child who does not fit that type!