Saturday, October 09, 2010

I ran into it many times - and still do - over the course of all this time I've been blogging.

Campbell Robertson commented on it at the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities panel I attended Wednesday night.  It's tough not to get caught up in it when everyone else around you is.  It's one of the reasons why most of us live here, and it has its strengths - keeping a dialogue going with ourselves as New Orleanians kicks ass sometimes.  It can be liberating when we don't care too much about what the world outside of this city thinks, and it can help band people together at times when the rest of the world is a nasty, crushing weight...

...but then there are the brick walls of progress that must be addressed.  Progress that mistakes the new for the better.  Progress that thinks what came before it is nothing but trash that must be discarded.  Progress that leaves living, breathing, fellow human beings behind in its obliteratory quest for a higher plane of some sort.  Progress that says root causes don't mean much.  Progress that does not learn....and prides itself on it.

Part of why all of the recent hubbub over charter schools is so overwhelming to me at this moment in time is because there are occasional confluences of cracks in the progress machine that leave us reeling from what they expose, and this is one of those confluences.  Sure, maybe it's a movie about education in which, allegedly, not a single teacher is spoken to that sets things off - but there have been many, many smaller fissures that have widened the gaping hole that Waiting for Superman seems to have opened up. 

Diane Ravitch's most recent book is one of them.

The nifty dialogue the nation wants to have with itself about education reform and how hollow that narrative is is another. "Does education need a Katrina?" Spare me. Please.

The opinion I experience a great deal that what came before the charters in New Orleans was so bad, any criticism of the present system of schools is interpreted as a yearning to go back to the bad old thieving ways of the OPSD.

The idea that a mayor running for reelection in the nation's capital was ditched by voters due to their association of him with uber-school overhauling maven Michelle Rhee.  We want better quality education, not utter incivility to the community.

Speaking of incivility to the community, charter schools are not private schools, but, judging from the lack of transparency exhibited by too many of them on their supposedly open board meetings, they have sadly forgotten that.  Geez, what might they be afraid of?  Here's a possible clue.

My mind explodes.  The amazing disappearing and reappearing Brentin Mock article is simply helping prop open the chasm I see at this point.  We all know in our bones something is wrong, but most of us think these are simply some kinks that must be worked out of the mighty Progress Machine.  But these are much worse than that.

They're ghosts, I tell you. 

And it's tough to get over a haunting.  Because it's impressed into our gray matter.  And we haven't even fully figured out how that works yet.

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