It Hasn't Even Been 40 Years...
While I do not agree with every element tied to IDEA, I think this video does a great job of explaining the very short history of educating students with disabilities. It speaks to the beginning of our current duo-track system of education. It also speaks to the initial need for that duo-track system as it became the catalyst to digging deeper in to different ways of teaching, learning and assessing progress/growth/learning. It opens up doors and possibilities to become more aware of the very many variables that are in our control when it comes to setting up the optimum conditiosn for learning for each of our students.
In many situations it has resulted in educating students who were previously believed to be "uneducatable". That speaks to our power as educators.
It's amazing to look at this very short history and see the momentum that has been created around it and think about the lives that have been changed as a result of it. I won't pretend we have it all figured out but it is because of the pieces that have been figured out that we can imagine more... that we can imagine equality for those with disabilities.
Sometimes in the middle of change we get to believing the way we did things was "wrong" when perhaps the reality is that the way we did things was so "right" that we have no other choice but to keep moving forward. We started at a place where there was a belief that a certain population of students could not be educated at all and with each step forward we become more and more aware of just what can be done which propells us forward. Each step is required to see the next step.
We still have a journey ahead of us but I'm excited to be working in a time when we are moving towards celebrating the diversity of students and creating more universally designed learning opporutnities in our schools. This isn't just about students with "special needs" but rather about moving towards increased student agency and more personalized learning for all.
"Each mind is beautiful.
Strength has many forms.
And we are all able."