I feel obligated to begin with a few disclaimers:
If you belong solidly in either of the camps in the “education warz” or think that I should, you are going to be disappointed by this post and should probably hit “ctrl + w” right now. It’s for the best and I won’t be offended at all.
My last post produced a lot of really thoughtful responses across several platforms (here in the comments, on other blogs, on Twitter, on FB and in the form of a two page letter from a colleague). I love the idea of this space being a place of dialogue and welcome your responses, even especially if you disagree.
My last post was me thinking through a topic that I think is deadly serious. When I sat down to write, much like I do now, I didn’t (and don’t now) have a destination in mind. This is literally me publically thinking through what I think is the most important issue facing our society. I believe that schools far too frequently under-serve people who share my background (urban, male, and of color). I believe this practice drives incarceration, poverty, and shorter-than-average life expectancy. I am a teacher and I know from personal experience, both biographical (my life) and occupational (my students’ lives), the liberating power of effective schools and teachers. Of course there are sociological and historical factors that greatly complicate public education, but again, I must make it clear that I wholeheartedly reject the geographical determinism and “poor kids can’t” thinking, whether explicit (rare) or implied (far more common).
The more I ponder the controversies we face in public education, the more convinced I am that if you aren’t changing your mind regularly or at least modifying your stances on these issues, you aren’t really thinking--you’re simply an ideologue. And I believe that we (you and I, dear reader ) are best served ignoring ideologues, especially when they spew bile.