Why I feel things are looking up
🤞🏽 Recent conversations leave me hopeful.
I’m a pretty optimistic person.
Back in my college-aged days, I worked for a window covering company—think mini blinds and shades—in Pasadena, CA. Shout out to the Luginbuhls at Interior Services! I was still trying to figure out who I wanted to be. Turns out that long drives in work vans stuck in Los Angeles traffic were just what my introspective soul needed.
One of my co-workers (and roommate) at the time, Dave, was what I would call an extreme pessimist. Don’t get me wrong. I loved Dave like a brother. He was even a groomsman at my wedding.
Dave and I would get our installation assignments and during the course of the day, there were typically a number of things that would go wrong. For example, sometimes we had bad directions to the location (no GPS back then), we didn’t have enough material to complete the job, or something broke during the middle of the installation and we would scramble to repair it.
Dave would look at me and say, “Hey Vegas, what percent chance do you think we don’t have enough blinds for this job? 100% chance, that’s what I say.” Oh yeah, “Vegas” was my nickname.
I would tell him, “Maybe we’ll have enough this time.” And I believed it, not because I was just hoping it was so, but because we had done so many jobs where something went wrong, we were really good at planning for those contingencies. Hope is not a plan, but a plan gave me hope that things will be better next time.
And hope is what I want to spread to you today. Not simply because we are wishing that inclusive education be the national expectation, but that there are people right now advocating for our educational system to change.
Recently, I’ve been fortunate to have conversations with inclusionists that see movement toward authentic inclusive education.
Jen is a professor at Ohio University, and along with creating content for her handle, she is teaching the next generation of educators. I remember how influential the professors in my teacher education program were to me. This brings me hope.
Bre is an inclusive education consultant living in Seattle, WA. But, she is working with districts around the country in-person and remotely on building their capacity for inclusive practices. How fabulous is that!
Talking with Jen and Bre reminds me that there are passionate advocates out there who are not satisfied with the status quo. And they aren’t the only ones doing this work.
In addition to the LIVE sessions on Instagram, I had the pleasure of speaking with inclusive education advocate Charmaine Thaner on her Facebook LIVE show, The Art of Advocacy. BTW, Carol Quirk was on her show yesterday. We talked about what inclusive schools are doing right now to support each and every learner and how to start the conversation toward making a change in a school district.
And those are only the conversations I’ve had in public. There are many more email exchanges, social media messages, and Zoom calls with school and community leaders all advocating for inclusive practices.
These interactions have left me energized. And I’m excited about the road ahead.
Speaking of excitement.
If you were on our MCIE email list, you already heard the announcement. 😁
The Maryland Coalition for Inclusive Education (MCIE), the producer of The Think Inclusive Podcast, is starting a new audio documentary project which will feature on-site interviews with change-makers from inclusive schools around the United States and families of children with complex support and communication needs on their journey to inclusion. Tim Villegas, the Director of Communications for MCIE, is conducting preliminary interviews with inclusive school districts to be featured in the project, produced in a narrative/storytelling format. This project is slated for release near the end of 2023.
If you want a first look/listen of the project, we are holding a joint fundraiser with Dan and Samuel Habib on Thursday, May 26, at 3:00 p.m. ET. Dan and Samuel will be screening their current project, My Disability Roadmap, on Zoom with a Q&A session to follow. We will also have more information about our audio documentary project.
I’m fine with being labeled an optimist because to me it means that I choose to look for what is going right. And that doesn’t mean ignoring a problem. Inclusionists all over the country and the world have a plan. And that should leave all of us with some hope.
What things are giving you hope right now? Do you agree that things are looking up? Let me know!
Thanks for subscribing to the Weeklyish. Have a fantastic weekend everyone.