It’s not right. We hear that a lot lately in cultural conversations from every walk of life and every indoctrinated belief system. Seemingly, these voices come from a random sampling or the latest poll of all the voices in our increasingly complex, multi-faceted and multi-opinioned society. My voice feels the weight of it pressing down on me until I too feel compelled to maybe start shouting as well –or at least writing my emails and this blog in capital letters! maybe use an occasional exclamation point. I include the ambivalent “maybe” because I’m not sure what IS an appropriate tone anymore; these societal voices are so LOUD! It feels like a big playpen of screaming tantrum prone babies is invading my quiet time–my nap time if you will—babies who need a little extra attention over here, please. Pick me! Pick me! they say, as they bounce their rattles off their fellow babies. The saddest part —we are enamored with finger-pointing about all our “issues.” The old communal idea of working together to find a solution to any problem is being suppressed to use the more popular methods prevalent today–polarizing everyone related to the “problem,” finding the most likely scapegoat or most vulnerable and then whaling away on them until even if they had at one time the wherewithal to express their views, they are now too intimidated to speak softly, reasonably, logically about it anymore. I am speaking about the beleaguered education system and its most recent shame. (Don’t get me wrong–I am not ashamed of teachers or their efforts to turn around the enormous obstacles their faced with in the present education system’s atmosphere). But I am mad about what is happening in public schools today and about the way rigid guidelines first presented in NCLB (No Child Left Behind–Bush) and now tweaked minimum-ly in RTTT (Race to The Top–Obama) that are actually undermining the system they proposed to fix (Three exclamation points).
On top of the multi-layered evidence that the world is indeed coming to an end (according to the overworked soothsayers) as we are supplied with more and more reasons to believe there is something wrong with us (here in pitiful America); as we are confronted by what looks like a deterioration of everything we used to hold as sacred; e.g. banking/economy, religion and rebellion, education and the emotional distancing occurring between different classes, races, and cultures in our society as well as the continuing corruption of government, we surely must expect a breakthrough to end all breakthroughs, thus end this empasse as well? I am not sure. The cliche that the only thing constant in life is change robs me of my right to suffer and struggle about the state of things. I mean, what if these seemingly “horrible” federal government solutions/policies seen in No Child Left Behind and in Race to the Top that many teachers perceive as attacks on their integrity and their rights turn out to cause a revolution (i.e. French style) in the educational system. (Exclamation points across the page). Not to be dramatic or anything, but will the screaming finally get toned down enough that the people involved actually listen to one another? Is that a possibility? Would just adding in listening occurring as the final result of a devastating revolution that destroyed not only big government but also the educational system in America? Would that do the trick? What we have at stake –the children–is pretty high. After reading two poems by two young people I know about their vision of the future–one 16 and one 18–I got the feeling they were already there.