Saturday, February 2, 2013

(notes) We are all GATE. All Special Ed, too. (notes)

We are all GATE. All Special Ed, too. (notes)

I was lucky to be placed in a good academic slot in my time in elementary school back with me and the dinosaurs. 

I guess I might have been in a GATE program, and I am glad that there are students and teachers celebrating hard work, learning, diligence, and excellence. 

When I was a young student it was called "XL." I was glad to be included. My parents liked how it looked on the card, and my siblings knew that not everyone got into these classes. But I hated much of it, because a lot of my friends weren't.

I think labeling students is a VERY dangerous and violent method of grouping that we do unconsciously. I know MANY adults who have convinced themselves that reading, writing, thinking and educational challenges are not for them based on bullshit they were taught when they were kids. Lay that next to a lot of untalented, unmotivated, inappropriate students who are in the pipeline only because they have been told that they can and should get a degree. 

Radical Inclusion is one of the most compelling components about Burning Man and I hope to learn much more of it along my path. I think that my natural inclination to categorize, classify and label fails to serve me and the society I live in and amongst. What if we are throwing out the best parts of our world when we tell a student through implicit and expressed communication that they 'can't?' When we tell one student 'this task is for you. You are Special Ed.' Or, 'this is not your room. You are NOT gifted and talented.' 

The governor just proposed hiking the fees for community colleges by 400%. This is only the latest in an endless parade of negative news coming from and through our California education system. 

I can imagine a lot, but nowhere in my consciousness is there anything that says that we have any more pressing concerns than education. We talk about budgets. We stage long elections. We fight like hell to make our place in the world safe for us and our kids. Educating ourselves, both on what has happened in the past as well as what might be possible in the near future is the number one task and challenge for our society. We have come to believe that money is enough. I am reminded of the Cree saying (translated) : Only when the last tree has been cut down, only when the last fish has been caught. only when the last buffalo has died will you truly understand what I mean when I say : money can not be eaten.

With love and respect for all, I really believe that when we are in school, we are ALL GATE, and we are ALL Special Ed, too. I think these labels are tossed around carelessly with lots of bad consequence. Whadaya think?

We are all GATE. All Special Ed, too. (notes)

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