Chronically (re)tarded, medically annoying, and the President of the NEA

Listen carefully, friends.  Right around 1:53.


She’s not saying “chronically tardy.”   Nor is she saying “medically annoying” as in “extremely annoying.”  Just no.  What she is doing in this planned speech is trying to be humorous, and using children with special needs as a punch line.

The reason tardiness or extreme annoyance would make no sense here is that in context, she’s talking about how teachers diversify their curriculum to meet the needs of students who fall into certain categories.  These categories qualify students for exceptional education and she begins to list them- the blind, the hearing impaired, the physically challenged, the gifted and talented.  The next two would be the intellectually disabled and the medically fragile.  Why didn’t she just use those terms?

Apparently it’s more amusing to replace “intellectually disabled” with “chronically (re)tarded” and “medically fragile” with “medically annoying.”  And, hey, when you are in a room with presumably like minded individuals, and you’re a leader among them, you get cocky and say what you think will get a big laugh.

At the expense of children.

So let her know what you think.

Twitter: @lily_garcia or @NEAToday



4 thoughts on “Chronically (re)tarded, medically annoying, and the President of the NEA

  1. Me

    I think this is a fight not worth fighting. As a young teen I help mentor disabled children I dealt a lot with their parents and they became my friends although I see how we can be sensitive to wording especially when used against someone we love I disagree in making a mountain out of a molehill. Sure she could have used different wording but the overall pitch of the speech was important and needed to be heard let’s not nitpick at things that are making strides in the right direction

  2. Meg Post author

    I think we differ on what a mountain is, and what a molehill is. To me, this isn’t a molehill- this is the president of a national educational organization who singled out two categories of special need in a disparaging way, for her own self service. She is to be a model for educators, yet she purposefully used offensive language to be amusing to her peers. And, to me, contacting her and/or the organization she represents to let them know that we heard what she said and we’re not happy with it, isn’t a mountain. It’s an opportunity for her to respond, to make amends, to model what she says she teaches: to apologize, and mean it.

  3. susanfordkeller

    Thanks, Meg, for continuing to share this story. If she hates teaching and special needs students so much, it’s really time for Ms. Garcia to retire. She needs to stop spewing her venom, claiming its humor, to the nation’s teachers, too. She knew this was being taped and felt comfortable enough to say this. Imagine what she says and does in the comfortable privacy of her own office……

  4. gina mouser

    idiot…you should be honored that you are working with our blessed kids. You are full of yourself…

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