I’ve received some strong and varied responses today about the story in today’s Tribune about an Asperger’s student, Corinne Morier, who was not permitted to enroll in the selective advanced drama course at Skyline High School, despite receiving `A’s in beginning drama.
I decided to publicize the conflict because it touches on important and complicated questions of access and equity in public schools.
As I gathered information for the story, more questions came to mind:
How are kids with disabilities — particularly those with conditions more noticeable than Asperger’s — integrated with their non-disabled peers at school?
How often do children with mental retardation, for example, take mainstream electives, and what kind of support do the general education teachers need — and receive — to teach these students?
Phyllis Harris, the former special education director for OUSD, noted in an interview earlier this month that “we still have two segregated systems of education in the United States: special education and general education.”
Courteny Gumora, the Asperger program’s full inclusion coordinator at Skyline High School, predicts that removing such barriers — in society, as well as in schools — could be the basis for the next civil rights movement.