Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Writing by Dawn's Early Light, Wearing the Advocacy Hat, and Other Duties of a Writer Mom

This and that:

1. Day seven of my Summer Writing Experiment. Forward progress continues. Wish I could say that writing at 5 a.m. is getting easier. Copious amounts of Earl Grey are necessary before I'm able to form sentences.

2. Wearing my advocacy hat today. Why? Tonight the school board meets at E's school, and we (P, E, Jewel and I) plan to be there. E and Jewel will listen (and put a face to the name in the letter we sent recently to all board and admistration members about the day the 8th graders celebrated the end of the school year and their middle grade years with a trip to an area amusement park.)

Our issue: The trip was organized in a way that didn't include E. The burden would have been on the aide to keep her entertained. After hearing last minute that this was how the day would be spent, E chose not to go, because what was the point of attending a class trip if she really wouldn't be a part of it? That's like saying sure, you can come to the game, but since you can't keep up, you can't play. That might be fair in the Major Leagues, but in a school setting, where we're trying to teach our children about community and respecting other people's differences?

Some key observations we plan to make in our statement tonight:

a. The school missed out on a major opportunity to practice the Pillars of Excellence it preaches (trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship) by not finding a way for all of the students to feel included in the event.

a. It is not right, nor responsible to hold up the Pillars of Excellence only when convenient.

c. A disability means differently abled, not the inability to participate to the best of one's ability, or to feel hurt when left out.

d. There's a big difference between doing what is required and doing what is right.

e. There's more, but I'm saving it for tonight.

3. E started summer school at the high school this week.

Good thing about this: it's a great way for E to get to know the high school before the school year begins, and she's so social she needs this time with her peers.

Not so good thing: school starts earlier than she's used to, which means getting her up an hour earlier, which means the two uninterrupted hours of writing time I leveraged by getting up at 5, are down to one.

Good thing: the high school is so much more enlightened about special ed and inclusion issues, it's hard to believe the school is located in the same community. Begs the question: why don't school districts compare notes? The cynical part of me can guess why: money, and the misplaced belief that doing what is required rather than what is right is all that's really necessary.

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