The Steak + The Soggy Hot Dog
This guest essay was written by Karen Copeland. Karen is a creative communicator and owns the Champions for Community Mental Wellness website. Her Twitter handle is @KarenCopeland3.
This Steak and Hot Dog analogy is an effective way to describe what inclusion education really looks like to many students and their families. Karen notes: We've been fortunate to have a few great educators, the ones that did whatever they could to provide us with the steak. It is too bad that some were very much invested in providing the soggy hot dog, I keep reminding myself to focus on the steaks.
Inclusive Education - it's kind of like when you have been given the opportunity to go to a fancy
restaurant (post-pandemic). The menu has been recommended to you by many people who are 'in the know' about these types of things. You take your time, considering what is going to be the best meal
for that evening.
This is a super fancy restaurant, because you don't just have ONE server, you have several!
They come to your table to take your order. You ask for their recommendations on a few
different items, then settle on the most beautiful steak on the menu as it is what has been
suggested to you by others the most.
You are assured that, yes, they absolutely and most certainly can accommodate your request,
in fact, they would be happy to. And they take all kinds of information from you - how would you
like your steak cooked, what particular sides would be best. Is there anything else that might
interest you, an appetizer perhaps?
So, with your order placed you sit around waiting for a bit because, well, these things take time.
Good food takes time and careful preparation. You relax, knowing that soon you will be
enjoying a wonderful meal.
When they finally come back to the table you are presented with...
A shrivelled up weiner on a soggy bun.
BUT MY STEAK, you say, and are told, well, we can't give you steak, but we're still giving you
meat, of course. Didn't you say you wanted meat?
BUT MY SIDES, you say, and they say, oh sorry, we ran out of money for those, so the soggy
bun will have to do.
You ask to speak to the manager of the restaurant. Of course, he (or she) is unavailable until at
least the following week for a ‘conversation’.
You ask your servers again for the meal that you ordered. You get the sense that a few of them
are sympathetic and they’d actually go and cook your meal themselves if they could, but their
hands are tied by the ‘policies and protocols’ set out by their managers and leaders. They
After one more attempt to be provided with the meal you have ordered, you are kicked out of the
restaurant for not being satisfied with their offering.