Above: Screenshot of the JSC proceedings showing Tracy Hutchinson Wallace (left) and Harrilal Seecharan, Chief Education Officer of the Ministry of Education.

What we learned today after viewing the Joint Select Committee on Special Education (ParlView video below).

1. There are lots of historically documented plans and more plans but no real sustained action leading toward implementation.

2. The Chief Education Officer doesn’t understand that he is a PUBLIC SERVANT not an entity unto himself.

3. His arrogance became evident when he leaned over to his PS and said he didn’t want to be …well, I can’t tell you all what he said. It is the business of the people kind sir, therefore it is your business to answer the questions that people ask about the welfare of their children.

4. The Chief Education Officer is of the opinion that the people who can afford Psycho-Ed assessments for their children use it to try getting concessions for their child to have an advantage during the SEA exam. Misinformation and misunderstanding at its best! No wonder the supposed teams set up to handle concessions still ask for reports from children with Autism, Down Syndrome and Cerebral Palsy, stating that they “still have” these the life long conditions they have been diagnosed with. Well done sir!

5. There are children who from first year straight through to the end of secondary school who required interventions as reported to the Student Support Services by schools and never received any. Our takeaway, don’t judge illiterate adults, you never know what interventions were needed and not received.

6. The Ministry of Health should have been in on the Hearing to account for the lack of allied health staff in the public healthcare system because they do play an integral part in remedying some of the issues children may face in their development that impacts on their educational experience.

7. The Ministry of Education and it’s employees need to come to terms with the fact that this is not a war between the disability community and them but a call to action to create a just and equitable environment that is accessible to all students. Maybe if you all made it personal, as if every child out there is your child, then the outcomes would matter a lot more to you.

8. Bhawani Persad drove home the significance of removing societal barriers that bar persons with disabilities from enjoying true independence.

9. Tracy Hutchinson Wallace is an eloquent, poised and potently present badass Lioness.

Ciao!

Laura Escayg