Thursday, January 25, 2018

chips in a game

Yesterday at the Clear Spring School, Jacqueline Froelich, reporter for our local NPR station, shared time with us in the wood shop and interviewed students.

Part of the problem with American schools has to do with the use of them as a tool of social engineering that has very little to do with the needs or interests of the individual child.

Before the Brown vs. Board of Education ruling in the Supreme Court, schools and housing policies were used as tools to force segregation of our society based on race. The folks doing so cared little about the needs and interests of our children. In order to solve that problem, the Supreme Court got involved busing children between neighborhoods and between communities to achieve racial balance. In that action, control of neighborhood schools was removed from the actual neighborhoods. Then came the consolidation movement in rural and suburban communities to achieve the benefits of economic scale and that further removed control from local communities and from parents.

What a mess. While the insidious use of schools to enforce segregation was an extremely ugly thing, using the children as pawns in a game of racial desegregation was not a pretty solution either, in that control of schools was further removed from the parents who cared and the teachers who were trained to meet the needs of each and every child. Children were turned into statistics and treated that way.

Are ready to move beyond all that? If so, let's explore other ideals. Say for instance, each and every person involved in education whether public or private, and whether in top management or below, was committed to adhere to the basic principles of the constitution of the US with regard to the rights of the individual regardless of race, gender, nation of origin, or gender identification. Could we put the Brown vs. Board of Education case and all the great reasons for it behind us and be worthy of trust that we will take the needs and interests of each individual child as our guiding light? Believe it or not, there are many teachers who are ready for that. They simply love children and are ready for and worthy of our trust.

We do not need charter schools to achieve glorious results. What we need is a philosophy like they have in Finland. Train the teachers well and trust them to deliver education to meet the needs and interests of each child. We have been using children as chips in a political game too long. They have game of their own to play upon which the future of the planet rests.

Make, fix, and create...

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