March 13, 2020
I’ve written about that date before. It was the last day we had in-person school before Covid-19 rushed us into virtual learning environments.
During that time, we also witnessed massive protests across the country in response to the extrajudicial murder of another Black person.
Then came the promises to do better in the areas of naming and dismantling White Supremacy. DEI initiatives began springing up everywhere, but especially in K12 settings and orgs with adjacent interests.
More than a year later, I am disappointed that a lot of those promises for more, or better, equity initiatives have gone unfulfilled. I have watched the promotion of countless panels, where equity took centerstage. There was no one headlining a discussion about students with disabilities/disabled students (and teachers). When questioned about the lack of representation, several members of one organization became offended.
A year later, we (the Education community) are no better off and have not done any meaningful work to reframe our practices to include the unique needs of students with disabilities/disabled students (teachers).
Everything we’ve shared about a year of reflection and learning has fallen short of the promise of equity.
Every book we’ve shared has fallen short of the promise of equity.
Every Zoom conversation under the guise of DEI has fallen short of the promise of equity.
We cannot continue to participate in discussions that exclude our students with disabilities/disabled students (and teachers).
We cannot proclaim that we want to create spaces that allow students to show up as their true selves if the educators have not prepared ourselves and spaces to accommodate them.
The new school year is upon us. We are still figuring out how to teach during a global pandemic. Our students have many of the same needs as the previous school year. We are keenly aware of what we are facing. We have to make the conscious decision to do better, from Day 1.
If you are thinking about how and where you fell short in serving students with disabilities/disabled students (and teachers), now is the time to reassess your PLN, learning resources, and where you spend your money.
This is item on my Teacher Wishlist remains unfulfilled.