Tuesday, April 16, 2013


I learned yesterday that local Eureka Springs and county officials met with lawyers representing Swepco Power Company during October and November 2012 to discuss the Swepco power line expansion that would bisect my own property from one end to the other with a 150 ft. wide clearcut, maintained in perpetuity though the application of toxic herbicides.  This expansion, if approved in a hearing less than two weeks away would pass within 75 feet of our home. In other words, city and county officials have been participants in a conspiracy to to keep residents and landowners in the dark until the last minute, thus depriving us of our rights to act in a timely and effective fashion in our own behalf. This is not a situation any of us will take sitting down.

Today in the woodshop, I'll be making boxes, and there's no better way to become centered for a good fight than by the strategic engagement of the hands. There is little difference between making something of useful beauty and sharpening swords when it comes to being prepared for battle, for this Swepco thing will be a battle of words and ideas, and our side is the one that holds the greatest passion. Even though they've tried to make us powerless, we are not.

A couple days ago, I wrote about Place... and the three commonly squandered educational resources that a pedagogy of place puts us in touch with, and I want to return to just where I left off for further explanation. The situation with Swepco is directly to the point.
Third, we squander the educational value of folks who live in our diverse communities all across this vast nation. We ignore their skills and potential contributions thus failing to utilize them in the education of our children. That is a particularly tragic loss because both students and mentors would have received huge benefits from a learning partnership.
There is a very clear danger in the empowerment of folks that would happen in small communities like my own if common folk, their wisdom, their passions, and their expertise were brought into American education. When their value as educators is acknowledged and their skills are recognized as having educational value, a sense of empowerment would arise in them as a clear threat to those who have their own plans of domination and external control. Just as many of us in my own community are ready to rise up against injustice, there is a danger that others having discovered their own value to the education of their own youth, would also be empowered to act for the greater good.

Washor and Mojkowki, in their book Leaving to Learn, spell out the Big Picture with regard to how to engage community resources on behalf of the education of kids. They do it through internships, and directly engaging kids in off campus real learning opportunities, stretching student minds beyond the school walls. When children and adults are put into mentoring relationships, both arise at the same time and there is danger in that. If you want corporations like Swepco to run roughshod over our communities and our rights, by all means, keep education just as it is. On the other hand,

Make, fix and create...

1 comment:

  1. I hope you manage to get Swepco to move the power lines further away from the community.
    But you better be prepared for a tough battle. I guess they have a lot of lawyers and politicians on their side.
    Best of luck.