I just got back from seeing Guardians of the Galaxy with my son. It was a great movie, and everything I expect from a Marvel movie. With that being said, it made me think about special education. You can draw several comparisons between the Guardians and special needs children.
The Guardians are a group of five misfit heroes who start out on individual paths, but come together to fight the evil Kree Empire. While doing so, they save the lives of the citizens of Xandar. Starlord is their reluctant leader. Forced to deal with his mother’s death and a missing father, he is whisked away by Yondu as a child and is raised amongst a group of alien pirates. Gamora, a green-skinned alien, was adopted by the evil Thanos when he ravaged her planet. Drax the Destroyer is out for revenge against a Kree assassin named Ronan and Thanos. Rocket Raccoon is a sarcastic technical genius who was rebuilt as a walking talking raccoon. And Groot, all the kids will love Groot. Loveable, huggable, cuddable Groot. A walking tree who can only say three words: “I am Groot”.
You could say the Guardians are like special needs children. They have to deal with their anger and feelings of abandonment and group together in order to move forward. They are all vastly different, living lives of non-inclusion, until circumstances draw them together. The citizens of Xandar are the special needs parents and the regular parents who are against a universe ruled by a tyrant. The Nova Corps, the protectors of the realm, are the Badass Teachers, trying to make the universe a better place of peace and harmony. They want to allow people to have the freedom they deserve and to live without unnecessary compliance and micro-management.
The evil Kree Empire are the corporate educational reformers, charter schools that discriminate, and all those who favor a universe where everyone needs to be the same. The Infinity Stone, an object of immense power is Common Core and standardized testing. In the wrong hands, it is a force of destruction. Arne Duncan, the US Secretary of Education, is Ronan the Accuser. He judges people who don’t fit his narrow view of the world. So who is the puppet master behind everything? The evil Thanos? That would be Bill Gates, the billionaire Microsoft founder. The one who wants to destroy everything educators worked so hard for.
The Guardians learn the value of friendship when the epiphany strikes them that despite their differences, they can do good in the universe. But they know if they don’t stop evil, they will be forced to live in a universe under the thrall of those who only want to destroy and make slaves of living beings. Sound familiar at all? That’s because this is going on now, in our very own country, with special education. So exceptional children and parents and badass teachers, let’s save the galaxy from the evil empire.
*I do not condone violence as depicted in the movie. Any comparisons are meant to show how people with differences are often hunted by those who do evil.