Conservatives Need to Get a Clue

I'd like to be shocked and appalled that someone in the conservative region of the political spectrum would say something like this but I'm not. Conservative though I am I am increasingly disappointed with the attitude of many a self proclaimed conservative towards things like education and disabilities. I am particularly disheartened by the cluelessly hard hearted attitude of those who claim conservatism for religious reasons. You would think a little of God's love would rub off on these people but apparently not in the realm of disabilities.

Conservatives whining about how liberals screwed up schools just doesn't cut it for me. All that self righteous anger and vitriol directed against those evil liberals might make some feel good but what does it do for the students? Jack squat. I always wonder what the conservatives were doing while the liberals they so love to disparage were ruining public education. Letting them do it apparently. Possibly even helping them out? Who knows.

Most of what I see being advocated by conservative types with regard to education is pretty unimpressive. The "teach the students who want to learn and screw the rest" mentality I come across so often is a short sighted at best just plain stupid at worst. What are you going to do with these people that you didn't care enough about to try to educate? Sure we can make special schools for those kids, you know the ones who don't immediately cower in fear of every power tripping adult that crosses their path. Hmm, segregated schools. That's worked so well for America in the past.

As an aside, I always wonder at those who work with children and young adults (with and with out disabilities) who seem to despise their young charges, never have a good thing to say about them, and never fail to describe their charges in the most disparaging terms available to them. If you dislike your students so much why do you bother inflicting them and yourself with your presence? Do you think these kids are too stupid to sense your barely veiled hostility towards them? Speaking as a former student those kinds of teachers were easy to spot and they always got back what they gave to their students. Do all involved a favour and find a new profession, please.

Claiming that children with learning and developmental disabilities are nothing but bad ass kids who just need a good [fill in the blank] is lazy, selfish thinking and completely ignores something that effects a large number of people for life. This attitude isn't meant to help anyone. It's meant to beat them into submission or make them go away so you don't have to be bothered with them. Also claiming it is all their parents' fault does not get a school out of its responsibility to actually teach. I guess it's easier to write people off as lost causes or future criminals than trying to teach them to be upstanding citizens.

Railing against legislation (I'm of IDEA in particular) that mandates that public schools teach all of the students they have is some real hard hearted stupidity. Imagine that, being mad that schools actually have to teach somebody something. Why did it take a federal mandate to get schools to teach all of their students? Doesn't it bother anyone that parents of students with learning and developmental disabilities had to lawyer up (and some still have to) to get schools to teach their children properly?

Why do some who claim conservatism seem so hell bent on heaping all of the blame for all that is wrong with public schools on the heads of the students that said schools are so often failing to teach? Failing schools don't teach any of their students so how is it the fault of students with learning and developmental disabilities that the schools suck?

Why must we always pit the needs of the learning and developmentally disabled against the needs of the "typical" population? This is not an us versus them situation. If they fail we all fail. We failed as a society when all we offered to those with disabilities was to lock them away so that they wouldn't be seen by or disturb the "normal" folk. We failed again when we just turned them loose on the streets to fend for themselves. We fail when we decide that "they" are not our responsibility. We most definitely fail when "we" don't want "them" around us and our families. If you don't have the presence of mind to make sure that all members of your community are adequately educated and supported so as to take part in your community then you have done a grave disservice to yourself, your community, and those who will come after you.

Conservatives can do better than that if they would get their heads out of the sand, pause in their gleeful liberal bashing for just a moment, consider that people with disabilities aren't out to put one over on society, and consider that meeting the needs of people with disabilities is the conservative thing to do.


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