Sunday, April 20, 2014

Sunday Roundup - Legos and Manifestos

This was a good week. Spring is here in Chicagoland, my son is currently head-banging to the CD version of "Let it Go," and later I'll be cooking salmon in delicious little packets of butter, lemon, and tarragon. For lunch, thanks to secular Easter, we'll be having egg salad. I've got 5 higher-ed columns out for review at the moment and hope for them to start rolling out in the middle of May. We'll see how it goes.

I wrote a manifesto about work and inclusion for people with developmental disabilities (and other disabilities). If you have time, please read the manifesto, give me your thoughts, and share it. I need to get this right. More context below.

This week I wrote briefly about: "Cutting Edge," a program at Edgewood college for adults with developmental disabilities and compiled some resources on Catholic Higher Education and immigration reform for a future column.  My university is a real leader in this cause and I'm proud of them.

The most read piece this week was a fun essay on teaching writing using lego metaphors, from my friend and fellow medievalist Leigh Ann Craig. If you're at all concerned about critical thinking or just frustrated with writing instruction at any level, give it a read. I can't wait to try it in the classroom.

I got angry at Slate reporter Jordan Weissmann for being excited that people are losing their jobs in higher education. I like Jordan - we've had cordial twitter exchanges and I read him a lot, but I think he's mis-using the payscale data to make his arguments, I think his assumption of a rational market in higher ed is mistaken, but most of all I think one should never be excited about people losing their jobs. Yes, markets change, technologies make jobs irrelevant, and disruption happens. It's rarely rational in its outcomes. The human suffering is real. Do not celebrate it, even if you think it's necessary.

I spent a lot of the week writing about inclusion. My mantra: inclusion; not same-ness. I stand by that mantra, but this week have had to work with a key caveat - Inclusion as appropriate for a given individual. So I first wrote about shifting away from sheltered workshops as the primary work-space for people with disabilities in Rhode Island, then blogged about an important piece in the New York Times arguing for the need for non-stigmatized segregated school space for some children with disabilities - and now I follow the author on Twitter. She's another Chicago historian and advocate. Segregated and sheltered spaces are a vital part of the landscape for individualized accommodations for people with disabilities. I don't want them to be the default, but nor should we stigmatize them.

I'll have much more to say about employment and developmental disability in the coming months. But this week I wrote a manifesto, by which I mean a set of guiding principles as I write about this topic. As I said at the start, if you have time to read one thing, I'd appreciate any feedback.



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