Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
"The Second Coming," W.B. Yeats
I watched a grackle along the edge of our ocean yesterday.
It gallumphed down the surf's edge like a drunken sandpiper, got smacked with a wave, then fluttered back to the top of the now receding wave.
Over and over again.
I sat on the sand with Leslie, and we chatted about our grackle as it battled the wash. I love grackles, hands down my favorite bird, and this one was being particularly grackly. What would possess a bird to challenge the edge of the sea?
After a few minutes, the grackle answered my question--it nabbed a writhing sand crab, then picked it apart a few feet away. The grackle got its reward, and we got our story.
The sand crab did not fare as well.
There is a risk challenging those who hope to transform public education into data farms feeding the intricate morass we still call economics.
Look at the humorless smiles of those running the show, the lupine grins of Arne Duncan, of Bill Gates, of Eli Broad. They may even believe what they are spewing--it takes a certain lack of humor to get to reign over the destruction of things that matter.
They can hurt you, and will if you pose a threat to their goals.
But that's not the risk I am talking about. As much fun as it is to pretend otherwise, a few words shared among a very small community of teachers poses no threat at all to the ed "reformers" who value power over democracy.
- The risk is falling into their language, into their world, into their ethos.
- The risk is spending too many hours poring over their dull documents (Next Generation Science Standards, anyone?), trying to parse out meaning of individual phrases when we should be calling out the process that created such a document.
- The risk is weighing an offer to make real money sitting at the table breaking bread with them under the hum of fluorescent lights.
- The risk is not losing the battle--I am not so blind not to see that any remnants of "public" and "democracy" are likely to be crushed for the foreseeable future--the risk is losing ourselves.
I am a happy person, blessed with the grace of a grackle wrestling with the ocean for its food.
I am a mortal person, as doomed as the sand crab picked apart by the grackle.
A grackle will still be wrestling with the ocean long after I am gone. So long as grackles continue to be grackles, our children will have larger stories to learn than the ones foisted on them in the name of the global economy.
It takes little courage to tweet in an echo chamber.
Live well, be part of your community, grow some food, use your hands, love.
Bill Gates from Seattle Weekly.
Grackle from Wikipedia via CC 3.0 by mdq