When 5-year-old Darryl insisted his rock was a living thing, which is not factually correct, should I have demanded he comply with scientific consensus? Or take a vote? Or could we listen carefully and learn from him how he defines "living" vs. "nonliving", and see where that takes us?
I'm beginning to think we are living in a moment of national insanity. On the one hand, we hear pious exhortations about education reform, endlessly uttered by our leaders in high political office, corporate suites, foundations, and the media. President Obama says we have to "out-educate" the rest of the world to "win the future."
Bob Peterson (of Rethinking Schools) came to talk about; when he finished, we all rose to applaud him and within 15 minutes we cancelled the day's remaining sessions, climbed into whatever vehicles we could find, and headed off to Madison—a two- to three-hour trip.
If there is no organized force to advocate for public education in the state capitols of this nation, our children and our schools will suffer. That's the bottom line.
Being treated with dignity is, I suspect, part of our natural aspiration as humans. And while it can be crushed, it can also be restored. My experience in schools that placed faculty, family, and student dignity above all else was reassuring.