Another misguided value system, called return on investment, places a high value on serving students who have a favorable, history and prognosis for being "fixed" - those likely to contribute the most, economically, to society. The return-on-investment approach fails to recognize the many noneconomic contributions made by people, including those with the most severe disabilities.
The return-on-investment value orientation is based on a curative mentality that sends negative messages to children with disabilities and their families. Imagine what it might be like to continually get the message, "You are not OK the way your are. In order to be OK, your disability has to be fixed and you need to be more like us (people without disabilities)." Increasingly, self-advocates are asking that their disabilities be viewed as a form of natural human diversity and that others' efforts be less about "fixing" a person's disabilities and more about accepting individuals for who they are and providing necessary and self-determined supports.
In addition, the return-on-investment approach tends to discriminate against individuals with the most severe disabilities. It seeks to justify the differential valuing of people and the services they recieve on the basis of the severity of their disability characteristics. Anytime schools sanction practices that imply that some students are more worthy of staff time and resources than other students, there is a serious problem. All children are worthy, although they have differing needs.
Note the final comment "Anytime school sanction practices that imply that some students are more worthy of staff time and resources than other students, there is a serious problem. All children are worthy, although they have differing needs." How does the church fare using this criteria? Are we a place that emphasizes a return-on-investment philosophy? I hope we aren't but I am afraid we are.