Education’s enduring prejudices: disability at the door

September 29, 2009

Angela Valeo’s absolutely wonderful paperEducation’s enduring prejudices: disability at the door has just been published in Learning Inquiry, a journal I co-edit with jeremy:

Abstract  Ontario’s current education system is struggling with the task of fully including children with disabilities in the regular classrooms of their neighbourhood school. While many educators understand that it is wrong to deny admission to publicly funded schools because the child may be Black or female, they nonetheless feel that segregation of students with disabilities is warranted and not discriminatory. This paper will present the stories of two groups of people, separated by 150 years, who have been discriminated against by the public education system in Ontario. Archival data will tell the story of the experiences of Black parents in Ontario in the early to mid 1800s, and an interview with the mother of a child with cerebral palsy will represent the voices of those with disabilities. An examination of their experiences using a narrative format seems to suggest that the institution of education has never welcomed difference in any form and at issue is not whether education can ever welcome students with disabilities, but whether it was created to be anything but an exclusive enterprise.

This is a must read for anyone interested in disability and inclusion, and the history of Black families in Ontario. I’ve read it a few times already in the editing processes, and was really struck by it.

I can provide complimentary copies of it, if you can’t get it online via your school.

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