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March 13, 2012 / glencoyote

I am a public school teacher

“I love this concept of “a personal micro-culture” — what an eloquent way to capture the most important aspect of who we become, as creators in any medium and as human beings. Design legend Paula Scher knows that. (“[A design is] done in a second and every experience, and every movie, and every thing in my life that’s in my head,” she said.) Artist Austin Kleon knows that. (“You are a mashup of what you let into your life,” he said.) The blossoming of our combinatorial creativity hinges on a cultivation of our personal micro-culture. How are you cultivating yours?” – Maria Popova

If your concept of education is centered on the learner and embraces the notion of the rising generation, then this concept of a personal micro-culture works very well as the point of education. A school can be thought of as an environment that encourages  the creation of a personal micro-culture. I think this concept correctly privileges the particular reality of the learner, effectively giving priority to time and place, and fully capturing generational difference, while also requiring a conscious relationship to other wisdom and continuous negotiation with broader circles of culture and experience. But sometimes the personal micro-culture takes us outside the traditional school space.

I am a public school teacher. Have been for the past ten years. Sad to say, there are people in this country who are intent on destroying public education. Some of them are acting out of the best possible motives. Some of them. If you care about public education, if you think that a democratic society is inconceivable without it, and you are not reading Diane Ravitch you need to begin. The “Bridging Differences” blog is a good place to start. If you want to understand why I and many of my colleagues are angry, frustrated and demoralized read “How to Demoralize Teachers.”

On a good day my micro-culture is being refreshed and reconstituted by interaction with my learning community, my peers, my students, and the extended professional support network that I rely on for encouragement, helpful reminders and new ideas. And its foundation consists of my many years of life experience and ongoing reflection. But increasingly, the budget cutbacks and ongoing attacks on public school teachers have been drowning out other voices.

The anti-education animus has expressed itself in the presidential primary and takes in higher education as well. Apparently the commitment to prepare working class kids is just another uppity idea.

Why isn’t Larry Rosenstock shaping educational policy in America? The public is created one person at a time through a social, interconnected experience, and that is how we create citizens for a democratic society.

And why do I have to go into work tomorrow thinking about this?:

“Over UTLA’s strenuous objections, LAUSD is sending more than 9,500 reduction-in-force notices to UTLA bargaining unit members, affecting more than 25% of all the teachers and health and human services professionals districtwide who work with students every day.” –UTLA


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