Enhancing Diversity: Chapter 1, Identifying the Issuescontinued . . .
The topic of educators with disabilities is also an entry point to other, larger concerns, such as: understanding diversity in education, responding to the diverse needs of students in our nation's schools, tapping into overlooked and underused portions of the population to meet the demand for educators, creating opportunities for individuals from groups that are underrepresented in educational professions, and rethinking what teachers should know and be able to do. It extends the concept of the inclusion of students with disabilities into general education classrooms that we are trying to achieve in our schools by saying we also need to consider the inclusion of individuals with disabilities into positions of responsibility as educators and administrators. It enhances diversity in the educational enterprise by bringing an often neglected group back to the table. This is an important group of individuals who provide unique challenges, through their various and different ways of meeting the basic needs of their lives, to society's commonly held notions of what it takes to be a person and, by extension, to be a teacher.

Thus the impetus for Enhancing Diversity: Educators with Disabilities comes from three sources: the stories of educators with disabilities, the need for more information, and our own perspectives or biases. The voices and stories of educators with disabilities deserve to be shared more widely. Information is necessary to complement the understandings we gain from their stories and to create more opportunities for educators with disabilities. This latter use of information follows from our bias, which we openly acknowledge here: We believe there can and should be many more people with disabilities in educational professions. This is not to say that we think every person with a disability can be a teacher; similarly, we do not think that every nondisabled person can be a teacher. We have professional standards for entrance to and the practice of our professions that educators, nondisabled and disabled alike, must satisfy; we believe that we do not need to add barriers that discriminate on the basis of a person's disability (or gender, race, ethnicity, culture, language, age, or affectional orientation).

The Case for More Educators with Disabilities

Before we preview the structure and contents of this volume, we provide the reasons supporting our bias in favor of educators with disabilities. Our rationale is based on arguments in four areas.

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