Anonymous asked:

On your post about inclusive education: Sometimes some or all of the components are mutually exclusive. For instance, I attend one-on-one classes because being in the same room with all the other students tends to lead to sensory overload and I learn nothing. 

I had to choose between participation and learning.

realsocialskills said: 

I agree that it’s a really hard problem to solve, and that sometimes there’s a need for one on one instruction or being able to be in quiet space. (and there are also situations in which there would be a better solution if people were being reasonable, but it’s the least-bad option available in practice.)

Which is part of the reason I think it’s important to recognize that content and participation are different things. Because a lot of things that look inclusive are sacrificing content for participation, in a way that is not good for either education or participation in the long run. And sometimes that’s not anyone’s fault, sometimes that’s the best anyone has been able to figure out how to do for a particular student — but it needs to be recognized as a problem.

When I was high school aged, I couldn’t really follow lectures on most subjects. I deal with that by wandering in and out of class, reading books at the back of the room, doing a lot of alternative assignments, having conversations with the teachers, and sometimes getting one on one instruction. The high schools I went to were otherwise really lousy, but they had space for me to be different and do different things.

 I wish that there were readily available high-quality flexible schools, that made room for a lot of different types of learning and participation. The current default model is absolutely awful for a lot of students. (And special education schools are almost universally much worse). 

Some of the reasons that school is bad for a lot of people can be fixed with things like access to assistive technology and support — but some of the problems are more embedded into the structure of how school usually works.

Almost all schools were built on the assumption that all children the same are are basically physically and cognitively similar, and that children who are significantly different need to go away. Which means that almost all (probably literally all) schools were built wrong, in ways that are going to take time, creativity, and difficult work to fix.

Meanwhile, individual choices people make for their own education are complicated and don’t always match up well with policy agendas, even when the policy agendas are good and important. 

tl;dr School is awful for a lot of people. On an individual level, people who school is awful for have to make a lot of complicated choices about how to get access to education.