Saturday, October 16, 2010

Sorry, blog!

Hey friends in my computer. I'm sorry I haven't been attending to your care and feeding. I hope you're still alive in there!

Yeah, so it's been a bit since I've posted. I'm sorry about that, truly. Recently my husband posted this video on his facebook, and it's been making me think. I wanted to share it with you, but I also wanted to add my own thoughts, and I was having a hard time figuring out how to word them. (I know that 20 minutes is a lot of time to ask of a casual blog reader, but I promise this video is super worth it.)

The problems with our education system has been an issue that's long been very important to me. Up until recently, it's been from my perspective as a student. I failed out of high school. And it's not because I'm not intelligent. Because no one would suggest that. In fact, most people assume I did very well in school based on their interactions with me. But I didn't. I am one of those people that schools fail because I don't fit into their mold. I dropped out of college for somewhat of the same reason. I wasn't happy sitting in a chair all day listening to someone blather on about something. I wasn't learning, I was spending the required amount of time sitting in a lecture hall that some administrative professional deemed necessary for me to be educated. But really, most of my real education has happened on my own time, and on my own terms. I love learning, but I hate school.

When I was nineteen I ran for school board in Seattle. (Please do not Google this, because this was a time of a very unfortunate haircut.) There were three different school board races going on at the time (two candidates in each district), but the newspapers lumped all six of us together when discussing the issues. I was the only one who had any interest in challenging the status quo of the school district and the systems in place, while they were all squabbling about petty issues to distract everyone from the real problems.

I had a campaign fund of forty dollars and I was facing a candidate that was backed by a $15,000 political action committee. Needless to say, I didn't win. In fact, the news reported a "landslide" victory for my opponent when he won with 66% of the vote. I, however, think it was pretty amazing that simply based on my voters pamphlet statement (because like hell did I do any advertising) that I was able to garner so many votes. I was blown away. And I can promise you it was because I was actually saying something different. And it truly resounded with an amazingly large amount of people.

Anyway, I've now started thinking about education not just from my experience as a student, but also from the perspective of a future parent. Yes, I realize that I am many years away from having to deal with my children's entrance into the public education system, but still, its something that I think about. Actually, it's something that scares me. Neither Kyle or I did exceptionally well at school. We both succeeded because we are very smart, and that allowed us to get around the fact that the system wasn't made for people like us. But I'm worried that our children will also be people like us, and that possibly they won't be so lucky.

I don't know what the answer is. Oftentimes that scares me. Radical change, especially on the scale of something as big as the public education system is monumental. I don't even know where do start. But I do know from my experience as a school board candidate years ago that people are ready and open to change.

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