While reading the recent NPR article about inclusion, I realized that it’s still a subject of controversy, which puzzles me. Because to me, the issue of inclusion is about basic human rights. In America, every kid has the right to a free education, and the notion that some kids who “hinder” or “distract” kids who will actually make a “net contribution to society” and should therefore be stuck in a room somewhere sounds like something out of the 50s and 60s. Have we really not traveled so far as to realize the “worth” of every human being, and their basic human rights, even in this country?
I have to say I’m gobsmacked. Many commenters were concerned about gifted kids being placed centrally in a classroom so they could help their peers during lessons, as if that were a disservice to that gifted child. What? We want to discourage helping others, now? Because not being placed centrally in the classroom would help her achieve higher levels of giftedness? Help me understand…
I am not necessarily a proponent of full inclusion, except when a student with disabilities is best served with full inclusion. I prefer for my kid to have a safe space and some downtime in his school day, so that he doesn’t have to be “on” all day long. I love that he has a space where he can be his true self, at least during lunch, and his social skills class. If he didn’t, he would be ready to blow every day when he got home, and that ain’t good for anybody. So I appreciate the sort of inclusion he gets – “Inclusion lite”, if you will.
But as I wrote in my recent post, I want him to be able to socialize with his neuro-typical peers, because that’s a thing. He will need that in his lifetime, in order to succeed to the best of his abilities. And in my humble opinion, he will need that more than knowledge about the Pharoahs of Egypt. I want him to belong to his school community, and that just won’t happen if he is stuck in a separate room all day.
I shouldn’t let the trolls get to me, but every human being has worth, and my kid has more than most. He deserves the same respect as every other kid on the block. And he does have a very basic right to the same education every other 6th grader gets.