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The Most Fundamental Question of All

August 10, 2013

There’s a lot I don’t understand about ed reform and this corporate movement still, and while usually that relates to specific facets of the bigger picture, now and then I’m reminded of the most basic and fundamental question that paints the bigger picture in the first place.

Take the test scores and achievement gap out of the picture for a minute, and just look at what’s left. What’s wrong with it?

Let me explain…

I will be celebrating my big 4-0 in just a couple short months. From the late 1970s until the mid-1990s I was part of the Massachusetts educational system in the capacity of “student”. From the mid-1990s until April 1st of this year, I was a part of the Massachusetts educational system as a “teacher”. From April 1st until present-day I have been fighting for the Massachusetts educational system as an activist, where I will continue to focus my efforts until the system is “fixed”. But was it ever really broken in the first place?

A couple of nights ago my boys and I were on the Cape with my mother. We were watching, for my 200th time, the cinematic gem, Annie, starring Ailene Quinn, Carol Burnett, Tim Curry, and an entire cast of Hollywood A-Listers. Aside from the new and interesting perspective I took watching FDR and Daddy Warbuck’s relationship in terms of the current day relationship between President Obama and Bill Gates, watching the movie reminded me of the most fundamental question there is…a question that even the hours and hours I’ve spent reading everything I can about this corporate movement and ed reform have left yet unanswered.

We had just finished watching the scene where Daddy Warbucks, Grace, and Annie were in the mansion’s “movie theater” watching Greta Garbo lounging on an uncomfortable looking couch, dressed in a slinky number, smoking an ultra-long cigarette with an ultra-long pic, lamenting the woes of her life in Camille. 

One of my boys asked about the black-and-white film. I told him that’s how movies were back then, and reminded them of how different life was even for me when I was their age, in terms of technology.

It was going through the extreme changes my generation has seen in our lifetime and explaining the technological advances that have evolved in just the last 40, 30, 20, 10 years that once again brought me back to thinking of that fundamental question about ed reform.

How do the advances we, as a society, have made – not just technologically, but in terms of medicine, psychology, and everything else – indicate that we have not been properly educating our children all these years?

If anything, I think that in my lifetime alone, the advances we have seen and the pace at which new and better discoveries are being made, have indicated only the opposite – we seem to have been educating our children perfectly fine. Look at how far we’ve come. How can anyone say our teachers have been failing???

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