From all of the speakers, events, and readings this semester, I sense a very strong reoccurring theme. In focusing on issues arising in education, we see that no two cases are the same. Each problem needs specific, individualized attention. Those in positions of privilege and power so often think that they know exactly what everyone needs without living through their circumstances. How can we approach such an intricate web of issues differing from each case. These insurmountable issues seem utterly hopeless.
Imagine you run a shop that repairs computers. Each computer that comes in has a different issue. There might be external issues in which hardware needs to be replaced. There might be internal issues that must be addressed. Either way, issues are first identified, then the appropriate measures are taken to counter the problem. The way it seems we approach education reform is similar to using a baseball bat as our only tool in the shop. Broken screen? Baseball bat. Computer virus? Baseball bat. Missing a screw? Baseball bat.
We see it all the time in education. Low test scores? They need more money. Computer literacy issues? Give them more money. We're like a bull in a china shop. It's absolutely ridiculous. Empirical solutions seem good on paper but make no real difference. It goes so much deeper than that. People are people, not statistics. Perhaps living in a home with constantly fighting parents distracts children and leads to low test scores. Why should a child care about computer literacy when they have to figure out how to eat tonight? Cookie-cutter solutions mean nothing.
So how do we approach this huge problem? Meal programs for low-income students? More money towards struggling programs? Higher salaries for better teachers? I do not think it is that simple. I struggle with telling people what they need. A huge divide exists between those who have and those who need. A reciprocal growth needs to be established. It seems simple, but we all need to just learn how to get along. Legislation doesn't change hearts. You can make people act the way you want, but it does not change how they feel.
Individually, we need to work towards common growth by recognizing, respecting and embracing difference. Living together, learning together, eating together, sharing together. Continuity is everything. Lasting relationships are the only way to collectively grow, whether it is within education or not. So lose your apathy, and get out there and grow.