The SO and I had been talking about some of this stuff for a while…when you teach in a troubled school in a tough part of town, you face kids with emotional and behavior issues. So autism and other “EBD problems” had been discussed.

But I started talking about the Judge Rotenberg Center, and her mood changed. Sharply. What had been an animated conversation turned very soft as I explained what went on there, and how so far, it has been impossible to stop the brutality.

Finally, she said something welcome but unexpected.

“I think I just realized why it’s so important for you to read those blogs.”

More than once, I had been reading and she had begun to close my computer, not so subtly reminding me that I could be paying attention to her and not that. And it sometimes had grated her that I’d been willing to spend our limited time together doing work that wasn’t strictly necessary. I doubt I have a total free pass here, (nor am I seeking one) but it was a reminder that this information, these connections…matter.

I’m going back to school…and it’s tough on me right now. I’m listening to other people introduce why they care about classes that talk about marginalization and what’s wrong with the world. And I’m struggling to fight back the overwhelming sense of cynicism I feel about such declarations, about them, their motives, and ultimately….my own.

Back to the happier bit. We reprised this discussion later, when she was telling me about how a class she was taking (at a progressive school of education) had shown a video from Autism Speaks. And I went full bore in to “Not This Shit Again” mode and started showing her some stuff at ballastexistenz that challenges that kind of rhetoric.

She recognized it immediately. “This was the other source they used for the class.”

I’m still angry as hell that a school that claims to be at the vanguard of education would even give “equal time” to such viewpoints…in a show of the continued downfall of objectivity into amoral neutrality…but I was just so relieved that one of these online voices that I hear had made it into the world on its own.

This is why I read. After everything, I still have the crazy idea that it’s not too late to change the world. Perhaps I’m most drawn to this story in particular in proving that is that it has nothing to do with any of the mumbo jumbo that I have picked up as the language of my profession. I don’t mind speaking in post-modern, but I still have a soft spot for Orwellian honesty.

So I just wanted to say thank you.

You’re why I read.

-sly

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