I'm going out of order in my timeline of unjust, stupid, asinine, insert your expletive of choice here, lessons on special education destruction.
This one feels personal. I've been watching and reading my teacher friends rant in horror at the national leadership of both major teacher unions. I've kept quiet. I'm not a teacher. My thoughts on their actions and words probably border on "teacher bashing" and I truly have felt that it's not my place to say much beyond I can't believe they are throwing their constituents under the bus. And wonder who, exactly, they are working for because it sure isn't the teachers I know.
I'm breaking ranks with my own "rule." What the absolute F--- was Lily thinking when she did her "cute" little acceptance speech for a Progressive Champion award from the Campaign For America's Future Gala on the 27th of October????? You can view the speech here, I refuse to post the thing on my blog.
I saw the headlines float by about how the NEA president had the perfect answer to a snarky fellow plane passenger about what teachers do. I didn't click through. I know why people become teachers. I have a deep respect for my friends and acquaintances who go into the profession and stay. No matter what.
Yesterday, I finally watched the clip. I was prompted by a short but not very nice exchange with someone about teaching. I wondered what Lily had said. Instead of being enlightened, hoping for a tidbit that I could refer to in future conversations, what I saw was decades old ignorance that was supposed to pass for humor. Around the 1:40 mark my jaw hit the floor as she referred to students who are, " 'tarded and medically annoying."
I'm the mom of a student with a disability. If you met my daughter, you'd never know anything was going on. I'm also the stepmom of a now, very sadly, deceased daughter who would have fit Lily's description. Both of my girls are/were so much more than their disability.
I'm not a fan of "PC," because it often masks and give false equivalency to ideas that shouldn't be provided with a sugar coating. But this is not one of those things. As a community, we have fought very long and hard to not be dismissed. To maintain dignity. And sometimes, to be a role model for what is possible. Lily threw all of that out out the window in one glib, stupid comment. I don't like giving over power to her about this, but for goodness sake!!! She's the head of the fricking NEA! Special education is being dismantled without so much as a peep for the national unions and this is how she chooses to be funny?
Please, do me all a favor, let Lily know that at a time when our kids are being marginalized, that adding to the "joke" of special needs individuals in not ok and that she does not represent you.
Adding: Lily has apologized. You can read and see her video here. I expect more from someone in her position. I've said what I had to say and will not comment further.