Lisa Marie Lacy was a former Special Education teacher who taught for six years in an urban school district in a large metropolitan area in the southwestern region of the United States. She is currently a doctoral student at Arizona State University in the Curriculum & Instruction-Special Education program. Lisa’s research interests lie in the area of identity and teachers’ beliefs and perceptions as they relate to inclusive education. She is interested in how teachers’ beliefs and perceptions are shaped by their lived experiences and cultural histories and have an impact on how they view students with disabilities in the educational setting. Additionally, she is interested in creating culturally responsive school/family partnerships for the betterment of all students.
I arrived at work in a harried state and frame of mind. I have so much work to do today and a ton of IEP meetings, these words ran through my head as I unlocked the classroom door and instinctively turned on the lights and walked to my desk and retrieved my phone messages. I put my book bag on the floor next to my desk, and checked my emails, one-by-one, quickly glancing at the clock on the wall. 8:45. I sighed, and mumbled come on to the computer as I waited impatiently for all ten pages of my IEP documents to print from my printer. I just had enough time to grab the student’s file and all other paperwork that goes into a student’s file that is going to receive special education services. Read more
Dr. Urso earned her Ph.D. in Special Education at the University of Arizona, her M.S. Ed. in Reading from the State University of New York at Oneonta and her B.S. in Special Education from the College of St. Rose. She has over 20 years’ experience teaching students in K-12 and adult populations in New York State. Dr. Urso has also worked extensively in the southwest training teachers and para-educators to work with students who have learning disabilities on Native American Indian Reservations. She has presented her research at national and international conferences. Dr. Urso believes we need to prepare teachers who are culturally competent and committed to social justice. She also believes our teachers must be highly skilled in effective, culturally responsive assessment, intervention and instructional techniques for children with disabilities. She is actively involved in supporting local school districts in their efforts to support students with learning differences. Currently, Dr. Urso is an Assistant Professor in the Ella Cline Shear School of Education at the State University of New York at Geneseo.
The Road to Intolerance is Paved with Good Intentions
As a parent, a long-time teacher in K-12 schools, and now as a teacher educator, I have taught about diversity, acceptance, and tolerance. I have supported the messages of our civil rights leaders, and highlighted the laws that provide equal access to education and constitutional rights for all our citizens. I have encouraged my children and students, through example and education, that we are all members of one human race entitled to respect and equal rights. I realize that I have fallen short in my responsibility because I have neglected to teach my children and students how to stand up against intolerance and bigotry when they see it. I have neglected to provide the time and attention to fully respond to my pre-service teachers’ confrontations with institutional racism and bias in the schools they work in. I would suggest we all have fallen short in our responsibility to help shape an inclusive philosophy in our future generations. Several recent events have brought this matter to my attention that I wish to share with you. Last fall over the course of one month, five young people took their lives after being cyber-bullied or harassed for issues of sexuality, ethnicity, or gender. Early this year, a student at a public Utah high school attended a pep rally in a Ku Klux Klan hood and robe; subsequent investigation into this racist incident revealed it was not an isolated occurrence in the district. Last month, a high school in Birmingham, Alabama held meetings with parents after racist comments were found written on a bathroom wall, a racist note was found in the mailbox of a teacher, and another note was found in a student’s locker.
These are not isolated incidents. Read more
Lisa Tolentino is a doctoral student pursuing a Media Arts and Sciences PhD through the School of Arts, Media and Engineering (AME) at Arizona State University. She works in the Embodied and Mediated Learning Group, working closely with high school special education teachers, designers, artists and researchers to develop digitally mediated environments to support social interaction, exploration, community and creativity in learning for students with autism.
When I think back to the years when my sister and I were children, I remember a time when I could still fully relate to her. In her youth, she was a lot like me: a very shy and sensitive child who was acutely in tune with the emotions of others. We both experienced complex feelings but lacked the words to express ourselves. We empathized on-demand, giggling uncontrollably at curious coincidences or weeping quietly while adults whispered of serious matters. And we both knew when someone was talking about us.
Carol Christine recently retired from her position as Clinical Associate Professor and Associate Division Director in the Division of Curriculum and Instruction in the Mary Lou Fulton College of Education at Arizona State University. She earned her Ph.D. in Language, Reading, and Culture at the University of Arizona in 1997. She worked in teacher education, primarily with faculty in preservice teacher education, from 1997 – 2009 at ASU. She was a founding member and Program Director of The Center for Establishing Dialogue in Teaching and Learning, a not-for-profit organization of teachers and schools, established in the Phoenix area in 1986. She has served as a member of the Board of Directors of Prospect Center since 1998. This work in Phoenix is described in a forthcoming publication from Teachers College Press, Jenny’s Story: Prospect’s Philosophy in Action by Patricia F. Carini and Margaret Himley — with Carol Christine, Cecilia Espinosa, and Julia Fournier.
Speaking of Children . . .
No matter what class I am teaching, at some time during the term I ask, “What is education for?” because I think the teachers who consider this question will look at the relationship they have with the other participants in the room accordingly. Is the purpose of education to prepare children for the work force or to be good citizens or is education for the personal growth and development of the individual? Or are all these interwoven? I want teachers to be aware of how different perspectives on the purpose of education influence curriculum, the role of teachers in classrooms, and how teaching and learning are assessed.