Saturday, April 27, 2013

My children still live in our village

If you want to be universal,
sing your village.
-Leo Tolstoy

Arne Duncan wants your children prepared "to participate in the global economy."
I want our kids to learn a little bit about the natural world.

I took the AP Biology students out to the Bloomfield Green today, ostensibly to study ecological relationships. They're only here for a few more weeks before they're off to save the global economy, and I thought poking around a few dandelions might serve them better than anything else I might offer under fluorescent lights.

A honey bee doing her part in our local economy.
At least one of my lambs had never seen a honey bee before, and while I have no doubt she has the tools to become one of the finest international trade lawyers ever to grace our land, I still have her here in Bloomfield for a few weeks, and I want her to remember what home feels like.

If you've never seen a honey bee up close, you're a long way from home.

It's not the homeless in Bloomfield who are wrecking my town, though--it's the homeless in D.C., sitting under fluorescent lights, scouring abstract charts, manipulating statistics, and dictating policy that only alienates our children more from the one world they can ever truly know--the ground beneath their feet.

I suspect the power folks are not happy people, but I have no way to tell, and I am not interested in Arne's happiness quotient anyway. I do care, however, about the happiness of our children here in Bloomfield, and Arne's ill-thought journeys into education policy have affected my ability to teach children about things that matter, about lives worth living.

Not saying we need to make honey bees part of any national curriculum.
Just saying if a honey bee is part of the local fauna, and you want to know anything about the world, you should see a honey bee.

The Tolstoy quote was lifted from Bill McKibben's
Hope, Human and Wild.


Scott said...

In Wendell Berry's says (I think in his essay, THE UNFORSEEN WILDERNESS,): "And the world cannot be discovered by a journey of miles, no matter how long, but only by a spiritual journey, a journey of one inch, very arduous and humbling and joyful, by which we arrive at the ground at our feet, and learn to be home."

Your posts always make me think and often make me reflect on old quotes and sayings I had once found. Thank you so much for that.

hOMESCHOOLING 2020 COVID-19 said...

sigh. being right can be so tiring.Thank you for giving other teachers the idea that stepping out of the classroom is a good idea!

you need to go outside at every opportunity. Biophilia is genetic. Your Arne needs to turn those genes on!

doyle said...

Dear Scott,

Wendell Berry is the prophet of our time. 'Nuff said.

Dear Malcolm,

We all pretty much know what we need to do. A lot less tiring when we do it. (What's a little noise?)

KPd. said...

Eric has recently taken my best girl friends and our Clean Water Action staff to meet our hive. It's cool how quickly people stop being nervous and start getting curious.
We "water" our bees by putting water in an overturned garbage can lid which they love. I can lose a lot of time just sitting next to the lid watching them come and go. After seeing our bees populate the water, some of our staff vowed to go home and set up bee watering stations to see if there are hives near their homes, too.
Now, we need to figure out how to get the honey out...

doyle said...

Dear KPd,

Watching a few kids lose their fear quickly was one of the highlights of the day. A few may have confused honey bees with yellow jackets, but few things safer than a bee busy with her work.

I think any minute (or hour) spent watching bees is a good use of time.

(I'd be more effusive, but not sure I'm allowed to blow your cover.)