Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Reflections on my Academic Leadership Class

Tuesday’s class left me with one enormous impression: though we have talked about the importance of race and racial discussions and equity in our classes so far, we haven’t really deeply engaged the topic more than once or twice. That and the lack of a summative discussions left us in an interesting space. It has always been an interesting thing in the United States that we never want to confront some of the harsh truths out there; the most blatant being that extreme success often is at the expense of others. This is not in relation to athletes, who often credit those around who motivated, coached and trained them and acknowledge that while their drive helped, they wouldn’t be there without the help of others. This is not about those who are moderately successful, those who have worked hard, helped others, and in turn have been helped or guided towards success, their own drives playing a large part. But those who are obscenely successful, their success often comes at the expense of others, or the expense of others during their parents or grand-parents (etc.) generations. We have this fantasy that as long as they do “good works” they are good people. But as I stated in class, Microsoft relies on minerals stolen or bought cheaply from African countries. Facebook started by excluding all those not in college, creating a elitist community ground that eventually allowed others in and as it did so, began to data-mine their every activity. Apple’s production company has Chinese workers locked into a factory where they see suicide as their only viable escape. It’s insane. It was also interesting to see what people remembered or learned from their partners. I tend to pick up details about people as we go along, but it was kind of shocking how little some knew about others. I’m curious if that’s tied to what I see as family building (I make my family from my friends) as opposed to acquaintances, as some see others in the room. I wonder what details find important about others… I think our class is torn in three parts: those who think the system can be repaired and made equitable, those unsure of what the solution is, and those like me who feel that the system may be irreparable. And race, equity, special education, poverty, all dance around that question. Every question we bring up in class all tie back to that one core question, which I am becoming grimmer and grimmer about: Is our education system in its current incarnation worth saving? And if not, what is next? I feel like that is definitely a leftover of my childhood. I mentioned in my cultural proficiency paper that I learned from a young age to abandon that which hurts me and to move on to find things that helps me. Education hurts. Actively, continually, and painfully, destroying the lives of percentage of students we have deemed “acceptable losses” but that we constantly target for work. Society plays a huge part, politics too, but education is the system in which we exist, and the system where we all interact. The question now, truly is, how can we justify allowing the education system as we know it to continue when so many children are lost?

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