I rode the subway to the Atlanta airport yesterday. The people getting on looked weary, for the most part, weary, footsore, and like they worked hard.
I started thinking about the session at NECC on Digital Equity that Barbara Bray told me about, and about Joyce Valenza’s comments about how it’s a responsibility of educators to be aware of equity and access issues for their students, to fight for them to have access, and to help locate tools for them that are free.
I was thinking about the One Laptop Per Child project, and how that will impact a whole generation of children. (even if the laptop doesn’t succeed, it is succeeding in getting the other players in the game motivated to work on something similar).
I think Joyce is right.
What bothered me about this subway ride is when I started thinking of all those people on the subway as though they were our students(and some of them are or were at some point). I started thinking about what we were talking about at NECC, and how few of the people I was riding with had probably been afforded the opportunities to share their stories, learn to be information fluent, to create art, and I wondered what we can collectively do about that?
I thought of what I’d heard about schools in Philadelphia, and D.C., and inner city Houston, and many other places, of articles I’ve read about school buildings with mold, leaking ceilings, where nothing works, where the kids with the most need get the least experienced teachers.
I read about the Supreme Court ruling today, and worry about the impacts it will have.
I thought about the videos that Tim Tyson’s students made, attempting to change someone’s mind about an issue. One of them asked what we would choose.
And I thought, mirroring their question–What will we choose?
Aren’t these kids worth it? Aren’t they worth beautiful school buildings, computers that work, teachers who care, educators who help them become fluent in this new 2.0 world, tools that help them tell their stories and share them with the world?
Education can be a great equalizer. Technology can provide access to worlds and knowledge beyond our own.
And isn’t it time to spend the money to provide all of the children in this country beautiful, clean, inviting learning environments? The best teachers? The newest technology?
When are we, as parents and as educators going to ask our nation–aren’t these children worth it?
Collectively, those of us who were at NECC and those of us in education know a lot. We’re contributing a lot at our own schools. But how can we, as part of our writing, our talking, our workshops, and our efforts to craft a compelling message about transforming education–how can we keep these children and these parents in mind?
Even if they aren’t in our own school or our own neighborhood, aren’t these children, as citizens of our world, worth it?
Update: 7/1 Will Richardson’s take on his experiences in small town Georgia here.