I hate vague definitions. They are easily manipulated and mean nothing.
You can't measure it and because of that it runs the risk of being
a worthless catchall.
Take the term green. What does being green look like?
Another phrase is Leave No Child Behind.
What does Leaving No Child Behind look like?
If I sound cynical it is because of the profound laziness that I see people
display. Part and parcel, we are scared of each other and until we can
overcome that fear, until we see the humanity in each other, we
How can we care about each others air when we don't care
about each others children?
Now do you see where the cynical tone is coming from?
These labels need to be about action. For example,
I have been green for 15 years.
We have recycled since the 80's in California. Cans, plastic,
clothes, music, all of it. There was a huge water shortage in
the 80's and I remember being encouraged to drink milk to
preserve water, to never leave the faucet running and to wash clothes
and water lawns at night.
We not only conserved energy but my parents grew their own vegetables.
The first beet I ever remember tasting was one that my parents grew
in our next door neighbors yard. Yes, my folks wanted a garden so bad,
that even though there was no soil available in our apartment complex,
that they settled for gardening in our next door neighbors yard.
They kept most of the vegetables and returned some to the
gardens host as. Green onions, tomatoes, beets, cucumbers,
greens, cabbage, pickles. Oh and the pickles. It was from my parents
garden that I learned that a pickle was a cucumber that had
been placed in vinegar for an extended period.
Now that I think of it, it was quite interesting that my family
was gardening in someone else's back yard, as we were solidly
working middle class. But then again, pop's was raised on a
farm, so gardening probably took him back to his childhood.
I thought about this notion of what green means
while reading a post by Carmen Swartz at Fresh Glue. Carmen
focuses on the marketing perspective of being green.
I would ask what does the term being green means from a human
I have been thinking about the myth of going green as it relates to public
education. Recently Will Okun posited that we needed a two tier educational
system I immediately thought that we already have one. It just isn't called that.
Every child has a right to an education, but what do we do with the large numbers of students who impede other students’ pursuit of knowledge and achievement? Until there is a massive overhaul of the urban public school system, perhaps we should embrace a two-tier school policy that separates involved families (like Steve Collins’s) and motivated students (like Shatara) from the disruption and discouragement of the students who seemingly do not care.We don't need a two tier educational system. We already have one.
Recently, I had a conversation about fund raising with a
professional school fund raiser. I mentioned to her that it amazed me
though my high school prep school charged tuition well into the tens
of thousands of dollars, that parents of each class raised tens of
thousands of dollars annually. Her response was that tuition
only covers 60 percent of educational expenses, so the parents
had to raise money. I thought to myself, well if THESE affluent parents
were raising money to address the funding gap then the underfunded
public school kids are screwed.
With this in mind, you can see how hard it is to believe the green-hype.
As of now, being green is sexy term created to make people feel good about
their unwillingness to collaborate with others to address the issues
that affect all of us.
However, the doom and gloom that I had at the beginning of this piece has
subsided a bit, and need to I have to acknowledge some thoughtful, work
being done. Perhaps most importantly, for this work to have the
kind of transformative impact that we are capable of it will take
the investment of our time, planning and energy.
The two things that come to mind are the urban farm movement
and the movement to address the inequitable distribution of funds
within public school districts.
Tracie McMillan wrote about the a garden in Brooklyn in the
New York Times recently. She wrote,
Growing up in rural Jamaica, the Wilkses helped their families raise crops like sugar cane, coffee and yams, and take them to market. Now, in Brooklyn, they are farmers once again, catering to their neighbors’ tastes: for scallions, for bitter melons like those from the West Indies and East Asia and for cilantro for Latin-American dinner tables.ED Trust has just published a study on the impact of funding
inequities in school districts. Their main argument is that
teacher seniority undermines low income student achievement.
Experienced, tenured teachers take their salaries with them when they
leave schools and they typically choose better resourced
schools, higher performing schools. The consequence is that the
students at the lower performing schools get the least experienced
teachers, over and over again.
The study suggests changes to the teacher compensation formula
and more support and incentives for teachers to work at
Check these folks out, here, They can use your help.