There is something magical about freedom – almost indefinable. You cannot put your finger on its pulse, but you feel it. It is vibrant, alive, and deep inside you know it is the elixer, the lubricant of life. It is the answer! It solves all the problems we have, given time and dedication to its precepts and promises. But freedom has its illusory opponents.
And what have we done in this land of the free? We fell prey to the illusion that something exists more powerful, more dynamic and more liberating than individual feedom.
This illusion is control.It is egocentric and distorts everything it touches.
We find it enfolded especially within the complex layers of edicts, mandates and restrictions and strings tied to the money, our money by the way, that flows back to us through our schools.
Instead of measuring achievement and progress and giving the results to teachers and parents and kids to use as they would instinctively know, we use this valuable feedback to punish and, unbelieveably, to even abolish jobs, destroy the careers of dedicated instructors and even entire schools in an attempt to control events and people and progress. We have used it to bolster political careers and give credit where it is not understood, harmfully counter productive and not deserved.
With “No child left behind” we find drop out rates so high that, in numerous larger communities, nearly half of our children are left at the starting gate. Many are damaged beyond repair with little to no hope for a real future in this land so ripe with opportunity purchased with the blood of so many patriots. We do grave dishonor to them when we abolish freedom and hope for their children and their chidren’s children. And the instrument of their demise is the ego of control. Can we not see or do we not remember that so many Americans died for something called “Freedom”.
How can we see through this fog, this distortion of reality, this illusion? Have we really learned so little in all this time? Did we not take to heart the lessons our culture has learned – that less is more, that free minds and open hearts and trust in the judgment of our friends we call teachers will give us the beauty we long for in the joy we seek for ourselves and our children.
There is no greater masterpiece of art on this planet than a truly happy child. And no greater artist to paint this portrait than a teacher with the freedom to create such joy!