Public Comment

Why I'm Running for Berkeley School Director

Norma J F Harrison
Friday August 22, 2014 - 02:52:00 PM

I have studied ‘education’ for 70 years. I’ve seen over and over the futility of the constant, always unsuccessful reform efforts. The reforms do not, cannot! begin to rectify the inadequacy that school is. The problem is school itself. The artificiality of school lessons and classes is felt as insults by all concerned: students, teachers, and their families and communities. Substituting age-segregated routinization – lesson plans presupposing students' interests, abilities, lives they’re living that make the lesson relevant, so informational for them - in externally imposed classroom situations – classrooms created as a place for teachers and staff to earn a living, and for children to be warehoused as labor waiting until some artificially determined time to become a full participant in society - has to come under discussion. Continually expecting that the major tool of our oppression, school, be made useful has got to be the discussion; that and what the choices are. The choice obviously is us all doing our lives together instead of pretending that school equals work. Don’t make people pretend to do the hammering and sawing of living. Let us DO it. 

We’re all teachers – and students! – all our lives. That however is stifled by the insistence that we fill classrooms and school desks, instead. We all have content to teach and learn together, but those are assigned to people according to their age, and then, according to their diplomas. Teaching and learning needs instead to become us working together regardless of age, altogether because of need and desire. I offer the opportunity to enable the discussion of how to remove the present binding form and replace it with the living that will allow us all the joy! of education, the joy of work, of actually participating within our communities.