Saturday, April 26, 2014

Corners of Light

A couple of events this week got me thinking again.  The state of Georgia thinks it's just dandy now for people to carry guns anywhere.  That's what I said, anywhere.  The grocery store and the gas station.  Guns to church and to your favorite restaurant.  To the dry cleaners and of course to school...any school.  Don't forget to the neighborhood bar.  Anywhere means anywhere according to their interpretation of the 2nd Amendment.  This will play out in rich fashion.
Some have suggested that inserting on little clause into the 2nd Amendment might be just the ticket to clear things up.  The right of the people to keep and bear arms (when in a militia) is guaranteed...  Of course some will also say that the National Guard is such a militia.  Then there are those who are just waiting to form new militias.  Get your camo ready and invest in Smith and Wesson.
What would it look like if people lived and worked and paid taxes and made laws in countries that were essentially aligned with their values?  For example, if people values taking guns to bed with them or not having health care available to the most vulnerable then so be it.  If they valued the opposite their country would allow citizenship to those who could live and act by those principles.  In other words, countries based of values: personal and social values.  Wouldn't that simplify some things.  We all know how this would play out geographically, don't we?  Hint: Think red and blue.
My little fantasy begs the question about what kind of public schools would exist in any new configuration?  Or even the question, Would there even be public schools?

     I say this because the current dilemma for those committed to democracy in American involves the future of that institution that we call the public school.  To live and work in a country that knows full well the value of teaching the whole person and the limits of data driven anything would be beyond a pleasure.  Not having to fight for what you instinctively know is important.  Having anything that remotely comes under the heading of "reform" be initiated by those in the classroom...the possibilities are endless.
The other day I received a letter from a former student of mine.  I love getting letters; it's so rare any more.  When someone takes the time to find and write to you close to 25 years down the road, it's very special.  Yes, I've received cards, letters, emails and IMs from someone I crossed paths with in the past before.  I treasure them all.  But this one was from someone who had a miserable high school experience.  What she said that I hold dear is that in her recollection of that difficult time, there were "small corners of light in my memories."  I won't go into details because I do not have permission to do so, but I welcome the feeling that comes with knowing that students learn many things in many ways in a classroom.  We like to use the metaphor of planting seeds that often grow much later on.  Sometimes they grow very well.

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