No Room for Creativity or Flexibility

Michael_Bloomberg_splotchedThis is in response to the previous article,” What Kind of Tree is Education?” David and I have agreed that this forum could be used to develop a dialogue, so I am going to give it a shot.

It is easy to find a scape goat as obvious as Mike Bloomberg. Here we have a billionaire, who has no clue as to how ordinary people live. The fact that he holds a position that by definition is supposed to indicate ” public service,” it is not without irony that someone so out of touch gets to make everyday decisions for the rest of us. It is tantamount to appointing a Secretary for the Interior who favors oil drilling and strip mining (something the great Ronald Reagan did in appointing James Watts.)

We live in a world that to me has come to represent a horrible result. We have come so very far from what our true nature is. Looking around, I see structure upon structure, each being a reaction to its’ predecessor. None of it has any correlation to the needs of people or the environment the structures exist in. It all exists for some deformed concept of profiteering. This is a stripped down definition of Capitalism.

Placed down in the midst of our strange world are children. Fortunately we have not lost the need to continue our species. But how to integrate our young ones into this crazy environment is a cause for debate. And we debate from a foundation of confusion.

Jack Crabb: I don’t understand it, grandfather, why would they kill women and children?
Old Lodge Skins: Because they are strange. They do not seem to know where the center of the Earth is.

I post the above quote often because it speaks to the core of my point of view. How can a race of creatures, so out of touch with their surroundings, so clueless to the needs of each other, make decisions on how to nurture the newest members of our species? I may be sounding a little Darwinian, but in any case, we are as far from evolution as we have ever been.

And so because there is so much confusion, we need scapegoats for what is wrong with everything, in this case, education. There is no room for creativity or flexibility because people in western society no longer know what those are. There is a large proportion of our society, who like to sit back and get their information from Fox News. We think of people like Bloomberg and Joel Klein as experts, because the majority of us do not want to be bothered off our couch to look honestly at our lives. So noting all of what I say, it is no surprise that millions of capital dollars are lost, because our politicians along with the people who elect them (us,) let them remain in their positions of power. Most of the people around us have their heads buried so far up their asses that all they can see is the back of their own mouth. Plugged in and tuned out.

I have never been a proponent of fixing the system. I believe it is basically unfixable. Broken. Forever. In my view, what needs to happen is a quiet movement in another direction. A direction that starts with looking at myself and my own immediate community, and asking a few simple questions. What do I really need? What would I wish as an outcome to pursuing my needs? And how do our children benefit from such questions?

Then we should look carefully at what we call “school.” Is it it a place where I would want to spend any time? Do I have fond memories of being stuffed into a classroom and barked at by an adult who seemed worn out by the effort to keep on barking? Did I like homework, or learn anything from it? Why would I want my child to be placed in such an environment? Who can actually learn anything in such a place?

The reason I ever got involved with any of this, was because on reflection I realized that most of what I knew from a knowledge standpoint, came from my own research, my own interests, and support from my peers. As a guitarist, I still play pieces that other guitarist friends shared with me long ago. Much of my learning in art came from looking, observing, experimenting and being shown a few choice techniques from a few instructors.

What if, instead of investing in a system that has proven itself to be a failure—has shut down the learning process in favor of standardized testing, which is based on ridiculous statistics that apply better to machines than to people — create an environment where we as the older ones, simply observe. We allow children to be themselves. And if money is involved we would need a whole lot less of it because we are dealing with a situation where the stress is taken out of the equation. The structures get simplified. Everyone gets to be themselves. Each person is appreciated for their unique outlook; their particular interests and skills. And together we recreate the world we live in. It sounds like a stretch, but in truth, it all starts with one meeting.

What I am speaking about is consensus building. And people like Bloomberg, Klein or Michelle Rhee do not fit into this vision. There is no room in this world view for inflexibility. We must move with the breeze. And we must let our children lead the way. It does not mean that as the older ones, we become obsolete. On the contrary, we begin to realize that we are all in this together. It becomes an integrated communal responsibility. And that is an idea that would render Capitalism irrelevant, which is why you will never see it in the immediate future.

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