Saturday, February 13, 2016

in the seventies, eighties, nineties and on in America

In the seventies, eighties and nineties in America, the powers that be in both parties, and the financial elite, made the decision (over and over and over again) that it would be easier for them to make money by exporting jobs and manufacturing than it would be to rebuild our cities and offer the opportunity to gain dignity to the people who lived in them. This may have been a decision based in part on the overwhelming size of the problem we faced, but it is closely associated with racism. For example, we know that the Governor of Michigan would never have waited to fix the problems with Flint's water supply and no children would have been poisoned with lead if the children had not been black.

The problems in the cities tend to be self-perpetuating. Work offers dignity. Work offers hope. Lack of work strips away what little of either may remain when children and their parents are faced day to day by poverty and lack of opportunity for meaningful employment.

When schools compound the problems by remaining abstract and irrelevant to the lives of their students, and only a single door (college) is proposed by those schools as the means to escape endless poverty, lack of opportunity is assiduously and perpetually assured.

Educational Sloyd proposed that all children should learn woodworking Sloyd in school, even those students aiming for academic based careers. The point was that all students needed not only to know how to do things, but also needed to develop a greater appreciation and respect for the contributions made by others. Skilled hands were considered an asset for each individual and also a means through which the whole of a nation might be lifted to its highest potential.

This is not a difficult thing to understand except for those who've become anesthetized and made complacent by success in their academic pursuits.  Of absolute necessity in a successful democratic society is that all discover through the creation of useful beauty, the wisdom of their hands... even and most particularly those who imagine themselves destined for greater things.

I'm just a simple woodworker here, with no power to make changes in the world at large. So I am counting on you. If you know anyone with power in any of the major political campaigns, presidential or otherwise, I would like to have a chat with them.

We know that the single most significant cause of poor performance in school is the amount of time students and their families have spent in poverty. We need to alleviate that problem, and we need to make schooling more directly relevant to students by offering them the chance of doing real things, hands-on. Some people insist this is far too large a problem for us to even attempt to fix. I strongly disagree.

Make, fix, create, and extend a love of learning likewise.

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