Sarah Blake LaRose (3kitties) wrote,
Sarah Blake LaRose

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thoughts about residential schools and culture

A number of blind people (mostly older than I am) think non-residential school students get an inferior education in blindness skills. This bugs me a lot because my experience is that it's variable. I was discussing this a few years ago with some people who were educated in residential schools in the 70s and early 80s, and they were surprised to know how much the programs had deteriorated academically. I'm sure part of this has to do with the push for "mainstreaming," but I'm also not convinced that was a bad move; and I think that it's now just a vicious cycle. Some of the residential students I've known have done very well, but many don't have a clue how to interact outside a residential setting. I was pretty much excluded by my peers in school, but I did have the advantage of being able to observe their interactions with each other and come to some conclusions. I wasn't included in interactions at the school for the blind during the summer programs, either, and the interactions were markedly different. I experienced something of a culture shock there, and that was the reason I vowed never to go there during the year. Everything was so overtly sexual, and that was something that was never that way in public school. There were girls having babies at my high school, but the lunchtime conversation never revolved around male/female anatomy. Flirting was subtle, much more private. And perhaps this is why people think they can act out so freely at blindness conventions, because they grew up that way.

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