Because at the moment in our free education system we’ve got a situation where schools are having to fundraise in order to top up the special education funding they get from the Ministry of Education.
Or, as they do at the school where my friend teaches, have to explain to other parents why most of the money they raises at the annual fundraiser goes into resourcing the education of one or two autistic kids.
We had our battles when our boys were at school – and were badly let down by the system in the younger one's case – but things seem so much worse now. Had we not been granted ORRS funding (on appeal) for the older boy he would not be who he is now. I'm acutely aware that would never happen today.
To thread link - all the current Paralympians seem to be products of mainstream school and are generally high achievers. Which is a change from a generation ago when many would have been sent to residential special schools.
So could it be that mainstreaming is working better for those with physical impairments rather than learning disability? At school Oscar kept getting turned down for ORRS so they did that terrible thing of piggy backing onto the TA of his friend with a physical impairment who was ORS funded all the way through but actually needed less support (and now has a permanent public service job).
It indicates that learning impairments are more complex and require more resourcing and individual attention than some physical ones. But does the government think all disabled people are the same?
Not wanting to play groups off each other though, and I know some people with physical impairments also have fragile health conditions and do need significant assistance.
Thank you for all of your support Russell. The petition going to Minister Parata is now available on the Change.org website.
Great protest yesterday, although wind was a bit chilly. That was my community. Giovanni Tiso was one who gave a passionate speech and later the Berhampore School kapa haka group, of which his daughter is a member, provided an illustration of inclusion and diversity.
Well done all involved in this action...about time!
We should talk about the money...
What struck me as ironic was that Rachel Noble was at the forefront of this action.
“And what is historic about the Rally is that it is the education sector and the disability community coming together and agreeing that we have to take action.”
The same Rachel Noble who said a few years back the the time for activism had passed...that disabled people were partners with the Government and sat as equals around the table for the better of all.
This was during the time that the government knifed disabled New Zealanders and their chosen family carers in the back, when disabled New Zealanders were being neglected and abused and killed by MOH Contracted providers.
(I try (and fail) not to take personally being ejected from the DPA NZ facebook page for demanding action from the 'establishment' on discrimination, abuse and neglect of disabled New Zealanders and their families.
I still remember Rachel and other leading lights of the Disability Advocacy community snubbing Peter and I when we conducted our lonely protest at the 2014 Health and Disability conference...we were demanding that deaths of disabled people in residential care were treated as crimes.)
I wonder what has triggered this change of heart?
She kinda explains her reluctance (almost refusal) to speak out strongly against government when she was CEO of DPA NZ Inc...
“In the current climate it is not easy for any organisation that is funded by government to speak out,” says Rachel Noble, a member of the collaborative.
Well, Rachel...I call bullshit on that.
It is not hard if you follow your conscience rather than the $$$ and the kudos.
I sincerely hope that this action heralds the revival of disability activism in New Zealand...I really, really do..
But the realist and cynic in me says that no organisation receiving government funding can be trusted to do the kind of advocacy that is needed at this present point in time.
I now return to the wilderness....