Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Regarding Education

I don't know about your community, but in mine we struggle with our concerns about education. In addition to our classroom teachers trying as hard as they can with limited resources, the rest of us are trying to help in our own ways. The Governor asked me to chair a regional committee on education, and I am struggling to provide meaningful leadership. What possible new questions can we ask? What possible new answers might we develop? What possible new initiatives might we try?

In the midst of struggling with these questions---and meeting with various groups---and reading more about the problems in education, I was invited to present a program to a local women's group on "Education as a Change Agent." Whew! Talk about another challenge! To tell you the truth, I don't even remember much of what I said. I do remember issuing a disclaimer that I was not speaking for my college or for the Governor's committee---that my comments could only be blamed on Kay.

I think the premise of my talk was that the problem we think is education is not education at all; rather it is poverty. The result of that talk was that I have been asked to present the same program to the Rotary Club. In the original program, I was talking mostly off the cuff, but I can't do that with Rotary, so I've been reading and studying more. Again my blogging acquaintances have come to my rescue. I have discovered several sites which have provided insight and information. My teacher friend over at History is Elementary introduced me to a privilege meme, which brings home the issue of privilege and how we grew up. You might want to try that little exercise. If you are a baby boomer,it will be interesting to answer first for yourself and then for your children. You will see vast differences, I bet.

Then, over at Aha! Process, Inc, I met Dr. Ruby K. Payne and was inroduced to her book, A Framework for Understanding Poverty. I have since ordered the book, and I look forward to reading it. Her web site is incredible, too. Take a look.

I guess I am rambling a little because I have not really written about why I think the issue is poverty. I think I will chew on the subject a little more--and I hope you will, too. Think about the privilege exercise; think about the people you see at the supermarket and at the superstores; think about the people who do business with the pay-day loan companies, the check cashing companies, and the pawn shops; and think about the people who ride the school buses in our town. I would be happy to hear your comments. More on this subject later.

1 comment:

Susan said...

Kay, I guess, I am catching up today. I found this post very interesting. I took the privleged "test' and only 11 were true for me...yet my children could almost double that score. In view of my career, I have often thought about the "whys" of education. I don't have any answers...but I do know that some of the most disappointing times of my career came when I would teach a child with great potential and it seemed they had goals and aspirations, but the negative influence of their family would always drag them back down and soon they would give up the dream. I also wonder if the children of "privilege" have no background for working toward a dream or goal and give up if they don't get immediate reward?? I don't know