I went out with some Prop 30 materials Friday after class. I went to some local stores, Los Primos, a cleaner next to that, some other businesses up around 3rd and B. I ran out of materials very quickly. The response was very positive especially when I identified myself from the Adult School. It occurred to me, we've been looking at this work around the propositions as a "task to be done", "burdened to be carried", etc. Actually, I now feel like it's a great opportunity, one that we should not pass up. It's an excuse to walk in the doors of these stores and find out how people feel and give them info that they may not have. There are so many ways inwhich we are connected to these store people -- one told me his wife and mother have both attended the school, others had workers attending or had attended, others friends, etc. When I got back to school I talked to Toshio and Cynthia and another idea came up -- mobilize those willing and able among our students to go with us to these areas. There are a lot of advantages to this. And it's not just about the propositions, it's also a longer term issue.
I very strongly feel we need to do this. Remember Chicago. Their success came largely from developing ties with the community. The school is a community resource, and the community is our base, and in the final analysis, the strength that we have.
From myself (Teacher Cynthia):
I agree with Bruce.
It's about community.
It's about community.
Yes, things are difficult.
Yes, we don't know the ultimate outcome.
Yes, it is easy and even likely that given those two things, we will feel powerlesss, overwhelmed, and discouraged... all of which make it more likely that the outcome will be bad.
And yet... by considering what is important to us... and then making a choice about what we want... and then choosing to work for it...
We not only feel powerful, energized and encouraged... we make it more likely that the outcome will be good.
Is there every a sure thing?
More importantly, do we need a sure thing in order to engage in the process?
If we need to know the outcome in advance before we engage in the process, we are emotional three year olds, stamping out feet and loudly announcing, "I won't do this because I want what I want and unless you give it to me without my doing anything or unless I know for sure that my doing something I don't like doing will give me what I want... I won't do it!"
And guess what happens to three year olds when they do that?
Well, it varies, family to family.
But sure as heck, they are not put in charge. They don't end up driving the car, deciding where the family lives, or what happens tomorrow, next month or next year.
I for one, want some measure of choice about what happens to the school where I work, the community where I live, and the future where I hope to live - with my friends and my family and my neighbors - tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.
And if the price of that is surrendering control...
If the price of that is participating in a process where the outcome is unknown...
where it might not go "my way" -
then I'm willing to pay it.
Because what I really want, in the long run, is a way that is not about "sure things" and "known outcomes" and "guarantees."
"Known" shuts the door on the unknown and its in the unknown that we often we find the answers we're looking for.
How we do create a good, sustainable, way to educate the people of California?
I don't know.
But I want to be part of the process of finding that out.
Won't you join me?
The ancient Chinese symbol for crisis, wei-chi, combines two elements: danger and opportunity. The danger is that if one continues to pursue approaches that are no longer working, then disaster is imminent. The opportunity is to let go of the old patterns and find new ways of being that unleash new, and possibly unforeseen, potentials.