Throughout his career, activist Rodrigo Mendes has traveled the world searching for consistent practices in education, particularly in regard to students with disabilities or special needs. What he has found, he says, is a tension between opposing models of education: one promoting meritocracy, and the other favoring equal rights and developing social skills.
"I have been thinking about this dichotomy," Mendes told the EdCast when he was in Cambridge for HGSE's Quest for Global Inclusion Conference, "and I believe it is caused by a lack of vision, a perception that is simplistic and myopic."
We should not have to choose between competitiveness and citizenship or meritocracy and tolerance, he argues. An inclusive education can — and should — include both sides.
In this edition of the Harvard EdCast, Rodrigo Mendes, founder of Brazil's Rodrigo Mendes Institute, reflects on his global quest for inclusion and improving social change amongst people with disabilities.
The Harvard EdCast is a weekly series of podcasts, available on the Harvard University iTunes U page, that features a 15-20 minute conversation with thought leaders in the field of education from across the country and around the world. Hosted by Matt Weber, the Harvard EdCast is a space for educational discourse and openness, focusing on the myriad issues and current events related to the field.