The Kids Are All Right!

I went to the Save Our Schools March--500 miles, a few Guinnesses, and many smiles later, I have the obligatory report.

I'm not going to blow sunshine up your colon, though there was plenty of sun to spare. I am going to focus on the huge positives, then ask the old folk to step back--yes, even you, Ms. Ravitch. We had our turn in the sun.

Teacher Ken wrote a long piece in Daily Kos about how tired he is. He may well be tired, and justifiably so. Time to pass the torch.

I love Jonathan Kozol, but this isn't about what we did decades ago. Jonathan Kozol made an impassioned speech, and I'm going to catch flak for this, but his references to Dr. King came off (to my ears, anyway) a tad patronizing. I understand the temptation--Arne Duncan plays the race card.

(In polite company I hear people say someone's behavior is "bordering on racism." Nope. That's racism. And Arne's words border on racism. I don't get invited to parties often.) Arne has maintained that we are racists for pointing out that zip codes, ahem, do matter. And here we go again, watching powerful pale people trot out various connections. It was much easier when "Some of my friends are black" did not degenerate into the sophisticated code that exists today.

Dr. King was 39 when he was cut down, JFK was 46, Shabazz 39, Bobby Kennedy 42. From my perspective now, they were all young men. The leaders of their time sought advice from the elders, but the younger folks led.

Jose Vilson's words (This is not a test!) electrified us Saturday. Matt Damon's speech cut to the chase, pointing out exactly why the testing madness cuts down children. John Kuhn (I will teach these kids!) reminded us why public schools are truly democratic. These are the voices we must follow now. We had our turn. Crotchety never beats evil. Hope and energy have a chance, though.

Things may a bit bleak to some of us, but the best speakers aren't resting on their laurels, they're out there fighting the good fight.

Toss the taped Jon Stewart speeches, leave the elders to counsel if counseling is sought. We can share our stories and compare our war wounds at Old Ebbit Grill, and watch our children show us the way.

I had a chance to listen to a few young'uns at Old Ebbit Grill--the future is in very capable hands.

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