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Philosophical Meanderings

what gap?

Full disclosure: am certainly practicing useful ignorance here.

[I keep reading full disclosure in people’s posts/comments/etc. Was wondering what it felt like to be a part of something that you felt you had to state a full disclosure. Maybe that’s the point. Full disclosure. So much that we don’t have to state anything. Or maybe it’s good practice.. a heads up. I don’t know. Here’s my heads up to you.. I know I don’t know. Great chance that I’m wrong. I’m using my ignorance to get better at listening.]

It seems so odd that many of us buy into this achievement gap invisible assumption, this stealth of equality. Something about data and statistics and math that makes us all shut down and follow.

Over the last four years, our district has given us space to listen, without an agenda. The expert in the room is much like that school-math laden piece of data, that chart, that graph. It can make us mindless. It prods us on.

But to what? For what?

Who’s to say what achievement is? We certainly have enough evidence that standardization has a crippling effect. The latest economic data can be depressing. But it’s most likely deeper than that. No? Who’s to say getting a job, getting money, etc, is what will bring quality of life.
They have said our county is 6th in the nation for suicide. One every nine days they say. I’m thinking if people who have taken their lives had mastered (and according to the way we decide our data most did) how to rationalize a denominator, et al, it wouldn’t make a difference to their quality of life. So why that gap? Why that game?

Respecting people, absolutely.
Respecting the hold pisa, sat, achievement gap assumptions, success assumptions, etc, have on us, absolutely not.
Let’s respectfully call all of it into question. Or better yet.. let’s walk on. Let’s not get distracted from being alive by our obsession with counting and recounting and rehashing our assumed quantities of… what gap again?

Imagine .. a flipped classroom of a different color. A different flavor. The flipping is ongoing and it’s more about connections. It’s more about a mindset. It’s more about trust than our current obsession with mistrust. Trust in people. Trust in learning. With learner as owner.
Imagine, as a home base, if you like, only spending 30/60 min a day/week with a group of 8-15. Imagine if that gathering is the only standard of public ed, the only accountability piece..

                 we kindly request that you are known by someone.

Interdependency. You can choose.
[We currently have approx 15,350 students and 1083 certified staff, that comes to about 15 kids to one staff, 2087 if you include classified, that’s about 8 kids to one staff.]

Imagine .. the rest of the time, which could then be 7 full days/nights minus 60 min, we can all choose to do things like this and this and this and this.
Like this.
We would have time to crowdsource local communities of practice. Live face to face communities of practice, enhanced, jumpstarted, intertwined with virtual communities of practice.
[There are so many ways to learn today.. I stopped actively filling this grid in a while back.. there really is no end.]

So imagine some of that.
Imagine unleashing people via mentor(s) per choice. With time, space, resources.
All per choice.

And imagine some of this.
[I’ve seen too much over the last four years, and I know too much of useful ignorance, to not boldly add this…]
Perhaps those most assumed dysfunctional in our current system, (school/society/mindset), will be finding quality of life, will be blowing us away, sooner than the rest, because perhaps, one of our biggest detriments is our current satisfaction with an assumed quality of life, with an assumed standard of measure. Perhaps what is missing most is a dissatisfaction. A real one. One that gets to our gut. One that makes us move. One that helps us see the invisible, hear the silence, seek to preserve the wilderness. One that makes us play/wander/wonder/become more than it makes us complain/whine/defend/conform.
Perhaps all we really need is space, time, equitable access to resources, and someone to listen to us, facilitate us, believe in us, without an agenda, without reference to some assumed achievement, to some assumed gap. Those we currently refer to when we talk of the low end of the achievement gap, often share something in common, they don’t have what those on the high end have when they go home, if they have a home. There is no assumed expert when they’re away from school. well, what if the absence of the assumed expert, the absence of assumption, is all that is needed. To get us to dance. To get us to dance to the music of our soul, that which we can’t ignore. To get us to share the thing inside each one of us, that is waiting to be brilliant.

What if the gap is flipped, for a short time, because we decide there is no gap. We decide it was/is myth. What if we start believing that we are all a thumbprint, and life starts today. There is no more waiting.
Our thumbs are fine. we just need to listen to them. Be/become them. Be/become us. Per choice.

And what if in this new space, this space of permission to be, this infinite game, where we are following our bliss, our most earnest and intense curiosities, what if in spaces such as this, that assumed gap becomes invisible.


About monika hardy

experimenting with the intersection of city and school.


8 thoughts on “what gap?

  1. Monika, your post resonates with some of what has been going through my mind this week. As always, you challenge the “deep structures” and assumptions about this place we call school. As always, you provide us with rich connections that, this time, I intend to explore more fully before responding. One of the commitments that I’ve made in 2012 is to get into the mind of Monika Hardy a little more. And to do that, I need to follow the paths down which you attempt to lead us. This, however, will take a couple of days!

    So please accept this as a placeholder with a fuller response on its way!

    Posted by stephen hurley | January 4, 2012, 8:04 am
  2. thank you Stephen. i love the idea of getting into people’s minds. .. my daily agenda.
    as i listen to you tonight on #ds106radio – loving entering your mind through your music selections.

    Posted by monika hardy | January 5, 2012, 12:09 am
  3. Two comments.

    First, Great wrongatology! One might say the greatest is equalizer is not education and the tests that measure exactly what one is looking to prove in cart-before-the-horse fashion, but Equality.

    Second, I think disclosure is important.

    One of my uncles wanted to share a message with his friends and included me when he forwarded a web article regarding the decline of American. It largely dealt with Detroit as an example, delving into past race riots here, ‘white flight’ (although not using that term), and the influx of Arab-Americans. It generously smeared certain groups as having caused “moral decay” and, in some unstated-yet-directly-implicated fashion, the current economic situation.

    The article was well written (I have since lost track of the item) by a Columbia journalism grad. BUT…

    I have lived in the Detroit area for quite some time and have direct knowledge of what took place here. I did some investigation on the author. He is a friend of David Duke. He has written quite a few well-written, reasonable and Entirely misleading articles and commentaries.

    I let my uncle know this, in no uncertain terms. He never responded back — whether this was due to his embarrassment for being duped or because I was so very direct in confronting Whiteness I may never know. He’s well educated, a retired Naval Officer and generally a ‘good guy’ BUT… He is privileged. He views “them” as a problem.

    Posted by Brent Snavely | January 5, 2012, 10:18 am
  4. thank you Brent. we have a lot of detox ahead. no doubt.

    i would suggest as well – one thing i think we might look into more.. our talk of equality. that’s why i referred to it as a stealth of equality above.
    perhaps it would bode us well to distinguish more between equity and equality. no? equity doesn’t seem to me to mean equal. and all our valiant efforts seem focused on equal – equality..

    Posted by monika hardy | January 5, 2012, 12:00 pm
    • I agree the words are substantively different, and suggest the lines have been blurred across the ‘equity’ (which I view as involving moral fairness), ‘equality’ and ‘equal opportunity’ spectrum. These terms have caused me a great deal of grief — I have watched civil rights being eroded through clever use of language — “Equal Opportunity” really is not…

      Posted by Brent Snavely | January 5, 2012, 1:44 pm

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