I took pictures of these works of art hanging in the New World Stages. The thing that makes these works of art amazing, at least to me, is they were done by people with special needs.
This one was done by a young woman with an eye disease who is legally blind. A special magnifying glass helped her create this masterpiece.
This one was done by a learning disabled young man.
Both of these brilliant young people were able to shine because they were educated in an environment that nurtured their strengths. They weren't supplied answers to test questions and passed through to make their teachers and the administration of their schools look good.
When I began teaching at Packemin, I taught math in the special education department. I had students who couldn't make change and couldn't count and I had some who matriculated to regents geometry and trigonometry. I taught kids of all levels and the department encouraged them at the appropriate level. Kids who couldn't add weren't sent on to college. No one helped them pass exams.
Things are different now in special education classes throughout the city. Everyone has to go to college. The wonderful, warm, and intelligent (in their own way) students are now being given diplomas that mean nothing because they have learned nothing, and they are being sent out into a world far beyond what they are capable of succeeding in because, even the bright ones don't stand a chance if answers are being handed to them on a silver platter. Self respect has been stripped away from their learning experience.