Continuing The Pursuit of Democracy

Anthony Romero – Executive Director of the ACLU

This morning as I was slowly waking up, I caught the interview of  Anthony Romero on The Commonwealth Club.   Although Mr. Romero addressed issues of where our country (congress, President Bush, et. al ) went derelict in the past eight years, I  substituted torture as a form of  ‘what is done to some one’ with what could be considered ‘witheld from some one – EDUCATION’  (Education is a basic human right — according to Article 13 of the UN International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights).  I then went back to play the interview again as the speech was outstanding and indeed eloquent (as noted by the host), however, the answering of questions was even better.  At 56:00  minutes into the Real Player download, I was able to listen to the exact verbiage which gave me fortitude.  Mr. Romero explains what this country called America was founded upon and what democracy means – the right to live with dignity, equality and freedom.  It would seem one must have a modicum of education to even begin to reach towards these wonderful goals – perhaps it is okay to say one needs literacy. 

It was the content and how Mr. Romero spoke which made me feel that although many of my blogs lack the journalistic presence  and writing style of professional editing, the content is my pursuit.   For me, it  is not the ‘what constitutes torture’ (Mr. Romero states in his speech we all are pretty clear on that issue), my pursuit is the  lack of adequate education as a form of holding people back from their rightful ascendancy to dignity, equality and freedom.  In essence, a lack of education is a form of control, which is in effect a method of torture – when you do not have control (anguish of body or MIND).

While we are in the process of trials and tribulations about how to deliver an education (charter schools and a variety of yet to be proven delivery methodologies), we are simultaneously limiting education to those who choose to be involved.   What can be done to bring the best part of charter schools (forced parental involvement, longer hours at school, more rigid structure and expectations of behavior) into the classroom while we sort out the books and methodologies?   It is to this end that my blogs tend to address  that we should be using  ‘what we know works’ and not try to put the horse before the cart on changes in educational theory which do not seem to make a difference (direct instruction, contrived literacy packages, rushed through math, lack of science, arts, physical education to get more time for literacy and math).   

My blogs tend to explore the difference between the business model of education where test scores are used in almost the manner of dollars – ROI (return on investment) when we have yet to see if the model works. We have no information except test scores to demonstrate charter school methods work.   Even businesses use more than one indicator of success.