Wednesday, March 9, 2011

"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!"

A few of us got to meet with Governor Christie and the Ed Commissioner Chris Cerf, behind closed doors, no camera, no press, for almost two hours. I didn't even have to wear a suit.

A passionate, civil discussion took place, about, among other things, the purpose of public schools.

Governor Christie is bright, charming, and well-versed in educational policy. I expected nothing less. His message to us was consistent with his public statements. Mr. Cerf, likewise, knows his stuff.

For those of us still holding the quaint notion that a functioning democracy requires truly public spaces, truly public schools, truly informed citizens, a smidgen more idealism (and a lot less elitism), well, I failed to make any change in the destructive path Jersey's following, though I did get to show the Governor a blister I got clamming on public waters.

And yes, I get the irony of pushing for public schools while immersed in a private meeting.

The other irony? It's not what's happening inside schools that creates the huge inequities we see, and ultimately it's what's happening outside our walls that determines the success of our students.

The "storied pomp" are killing the rest of us.

Maybe our next meeting should be in a boardroom at  
CitiGroup, home of the Plutonomists, their word, not mine.


Frank Noschese said...

And thanks for going to bat for us.

(And that Citibank document is the most nauseating thing I've read in a long time.)

doyle said...

Dear Frank,

Thanks for your support.

People can change, and need to, if we are to fix what we have. By people I mean every one of us who has a stake in a functioning republic.

Imagine, just imagine, the country we could have if folks were informed, even if they voted specifically for their self-interest.

It starts with the home, then in town hall....

Jenny said...

That 'other irony' you reference is astounding. It's huge.

One can always dream that something you said sank in and will make a difference somewhere.

Susan E said...

I can't help but be a tad disheartened by this post. (Well, maybe more than a tad.) One day when I was putting on the dog and pony show, I told the students that they should know this information, no, that they DESERVE to know this information (genetics/genetic technology) because they will be reading about it and making decisions about it as adults and they deserve a seat at the table--to be a part of the conversation. I don't know if a 16 yo mind really can get that message but basically, it's all about being an informed citizen like you said, and being informed gives people a voice and some power. Too much of the collective voice belongs to a certain demographic in this country.

Anyway, I admire you, Michael, for not only doing your job in the classroom, but also for advocating for what you believe in against this tidal wave movement that's taking the public out of public education. It takes a lot of energy.

doyle said...

Dear Jenny,

So long as the "other irony" exists, our school issues remain near trivial.

People change. It's why I keep hoping....

Dear Susan,

You are doing phenomenal work in the classroom, and the payoff will come years later--you might not even see it. Keep telling them. More than a few are listening.

Thanks again for the words, but to be fair, speaking one's mind is a lot more restful than keeping silent. It's only words so far, and words are cheap.