#politics #healthcare #equality
I feel a strange uneasiness about the political climate of our country, and not just about the goings on in Washington. People are truly divided, and angry. There are strong and polarizing ideas and ideals on the plate before us. I don’t know where to go with this. I don’t have a point to make. Just that I’m uncomfortable. Sides are becoming clearer. Propaganda has influenced beliefs. Up is down and down is up. Somehow the poor have become the bad guys and the wealthy are the heroes. It’s strange. I’m hoping for a light. I’d like to see the people stand together on something. This is all a part of a political world, I know, but it feels different. Feelings aren’t scientific or quantifiable, and I’m straying a bit from my usual subject matter. My flag has been planted long ago. I just wanted to share, perhaps be comforted. Best. ETD.
What if #education wasn’t about politics? More important, what if lives and quality of life issues weren’t tied to the political decisions of people many will never meet? Really, what would happen? I’d like to pretend to be aiming at something poetic here, but really what would happen? Would it be better? Worse? Different? In what ways? Why do demigods exist?
0153: Teaching for Change? #Revolution?
#education #SOSchat #occupyedu #OWS
The concept of teaching for revolution extends far beyond the classroom. Yes, teachers teach for change. We want the learners in our care to leave with skills and understandings that will enable them to succeed. We want to provide the opportunity to access keys to a better future. But what is a better future? Is it simply graduating, going to college, getting a good job? Is it enlightenment? Is it power? What? If we are preparing our students to be consumers alone then we are doing them a monumental injustice. It’s possible to view success as access to products and services. But, could success be viewed as a transfer of power from one entity to another? A shift in the status quo? An outright overthrow or disruption? An equalization of powers? I think we should seek to answer these questions. Certainly, teaching for social justice has a root or two in the understanding that there is an imbalance of power. People, the People, must always push against authority when it becomes oppressive, suppressive, and flat out greedy. I don’t believe education as a whole will go the way of this form of teaching, but it has it’s place among the people who are blindly crushed beneath the heel of a leviathan. If you see injustice, if you know it as constant force in our day to day existence, help us gather and continue sharing ways we prepare our learners for success.
0101: #Education Should Build Democratic Participants Not Helpless Serfs
#community #revolution #occupy
Maybe education would be better if it was designed to enable people to to learn how to participate in an open society. People would have to be stakeholders in their education, not just passive recipients, if this were true. Schools would not just be a building in a community; rather, it would be a part of the community. The school would work to empower community members aka students of any age to work for the betterment of their own community. The democratic experience gained there would better enable the citizenry to participate in larger democratic institutions like a democratic national government. In such a system the school wouldn’t be the shame of the community, but the center of the community. There would be no way to separate the school from the community because they would be one in the same, each working to embrace and improve the other. The goal of school here would not be to colonize the mind or the spirit, but to set it free. It would enable thinkers and innovators and creators and so forth. Freire said that it becomes more difficult to keep a group of people ignorant as they become more active in democracies. If we had a democracy people would be active. They would have to be. Further, they would want to be because they would see that their participation mattered. Apathy is a result of powerlessness, real or perceived. Schools breed powerlessness in students, teachers, administrators, and so forth. Bureaucracies harbor the power elite. They are distant demigods to the people. They are untouchable. An existential god is not a god for mankind, but for some other lot that we will never know. Power belongs in the hands of the people. The governed should be the government. Schools should teach for democracy; rather, they are oppressive arms of the power elite. Teachers, teach for democracy. Students demand it. Communities take back the schools. This is our world. Our future. Our lives.
#revolution #education #occupy
…action without critical reflection and even without gratuitous contemplation is disastrous activism. Denis Goulet’s Introduction to Paulo Freire’s Education for Critical Consciousness
Laundromats are churches where we people without washing machines gather silently and understand that we all sweat, stink, and become clean again together. There is no class, race, or time in a laundromat, just people in their last pair of cleanish underwear listening to the hum of a dryers and waiting.
Happy Birthday: A chance encounter with a lonely man
#human #isolation humanity
My wife and I ate at Benihana last night. Just an out night. We sat with a rotten family of nitpickers and a lonely man. We kept to ourselves, dodging approval seeking glances from the family sitting across from us. The man sat beside us. He was overweight, his hands crusted from hard-work, his eyes dead from isolation. The table was a motley crowd of awkward people. I enjoyed the time with my wife. At the end the waitress brought out an ice cream with a candle for the man’s birthday. He blew out the candle, and set it aside. He then ate his ice cream fastidiously with no affect. He did not smile. He did not divert his glance. He wiped his mouth and excused himself. My wife and I exchanged an embarrassed glance. We didn’t bother to engage him in conversation. He was just there. It was awkward. We all were awkward. He came back, signed his bill and left a five. I managed a “happy birthday” as he was leaving. He replied: “Thank you for letting me share your company.” He left. We left the nitpickers soon after. We watched our art film. I am a fool.
0059: What does the #occupy movement mean for educators? Who are the educators?
#OWS #teaching #revolution
Is the occupy movement the rallying of the troops before a revolution? Or will the regime just topple? I think we are all on the edge of our seats, or in the streets, filled with hope. This is a hard time for all of us, but for once there is a unified us. I am young, but I feel like I have neighbors, true neighbors, everywhere. The occupy movement is clearly a major movement and a seemingly unique movement with broad implications for a broad group of people— the 99 percent. And, it matters as much to 18 year olds as it does to 80 year olds. We all are stakeholders in this vast place we call our country. We all give a damn.
I’ve been trying to figure out what this movement means to me, a teacher in an urban southern middle school, or, what it would have meant to me when I was teaching in a really rural school. First, the results of this movement, if it continues, will come slowly. This idea of social, cultural, and economic revolution is highly viscous. It was not born in September, nor will it suddenly die. This movement is the culmination of a group of people who have voices who have been trampled steadily and slowly for quite some time. I expect this movement to be more than just a unit in a textbook. Perhaps, it will be the end of the textbook. Maybe it will bust the textbook companies and text will become relevant to the people who read it. Maybe this movement will continue to affect people in such a way that they realize they are capable of contributing to culture. That society belongs to them. It is certainly teaching us to communicate. It is teaching us that we are actually a people. We are not as distant as we were a year ago.
I don’t know the impact on the system of education this movement will have. But I see it changing our perceptions. It is an infectious and transformative idea that is burning. If anything we are looking at each other differently. We are idealists. But, our thoughts are not without deed. We are undefined, but are stronger in our mutual existence. We are peaceful, but not silent, and certainly not passive. We are the educated. We are being educated. We are educating. We are the people. And, we are the revolution. We are awake!