Douglas Rushkoff isn’t writing about education in this extremely important post, but there is much here that resonates nonetheless.
To be fair, the reason why some mainstream news journalists and many of the audiences they serve see the Occupy Wall Street protests as incoherent is because the press and the public are themselves. It is difficult to comprehend a 21st century movement from the perspective of the 20th century politics, media, and economics in which we are still steeped. [Emphasis mine.]
I try to remind myself of this all the time, that many of the people who listen to me blather away at conferences and workshops find it more than difficult to comprehend the frame through which I’m speaking about change in schools. (This holds true, by the way, for most of my friends who are parents.) Teachers, administrators, parents and others are themselves incoherent right now because they are stuck in that 20th century perspective. That is not to say, by the way, that I have it all figured out just because I’ve been playing in these spaces as long as I have. But it does mean that we’re at a point of a very interesting divide in thinking at the moment, and it’s a divide those of us advocating real change would be well advised to attend to. These are not rational, logical times; they are highly emotional, and I think they require at minimum an acknowledgement of that tension.
And, by the way, the rest of the Rushkoff piece has a lot of relevance to our “movement” as well.
Yes, there are a wide array of complaints, demands, and goals from the Wall Street protesters: the collapsing environment, labor standards, housing policy, government corruption, World Bank lending practices, unemployment, increasing wealth disparity and so on. Different people have been affected by different aspects of the same system – and they believe they are symptoms of the same core problem.
Are they ready to articulate exactly what that problem is and how to address it? No, not yet. But neither are Congress or the president who, in thrall to corporate America and Wall Street, respectively, have consistently failed to engage in anything resembling a conversation as cogent as the many I witnessed as I strolled by Occupy Wall Street’s many teach-ins this morning.
I feel the same way about the conversations we’ve had here in the education community. Our leaders have failed to engage on any meaningful level.
Really good stuff.