Fighting the Temptation to Retreat

I live in California, and education funding is a hot topic right now. Teachers are being cut left and right, programs are getting slashed, and schools are closing.  And, maybe this is just because I’m in an ambivelant mood today, but I have a hard time caring. How do you even begin a conversation about what’s wrong with the educational system within the context of our culture? Where do you start when everyone is talking about new parcel taxes to cover teacher salaries or new schooling methods or something else that just misses the point? When your world view is unschooling, the whole educational system doesn’t make any sense. And, it’s hard to see how it makes sense to anyone else.

So, when a conversation turns toward the problems in the state budget or in public schooling, I find myself retreating. I usually stay in the background wearing a polite smile. I don’t have the answers for these problems; I just think the basic assumptions are all wrong.

Am I alone here? Does anyone else have the urge to zip it and gaze into the distance when schoolers start talking about how to fix the system?  How do you fight this urge? I don’t know how to reconcile this reaction with my belief that we need to be involved with our schooled culture and attempt to change it. Sometimes, I just don’t care about changing it and I don’t have the energy to try. Depressing.

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6 Comments on "Fighting the Temptation to Retreat"

  1. Laura
    01/04/2010 at 4:59 pm Permalink

    I am certainly not a controversial person, and I too find myself fading into the background when controversial topics are brought up. I just hope to myself that no one asks my opinion. So… you are not alone there.

  2. Netzi
    01/04/2010 at 5:47 pm Permalink

    My example is very embarassing. It’s with the economy. Yes, I know we’re in a recession and having hard times, but the constant complaining should stop…at least for a while. We can still take responsibility for our needs. Either that, or find alternatives. We don’t have to buy homes from the bank. Three other options are to rent, ride in RVs, or build one’s own property. Same for food. We can grow some fruits, grains, vegetables, whatever fits. The world is not just supermarkets.

    Still, problems continue, but please! Don’t let the government decide everything. The general population can make more of what they usually take. Make what you can out of current issues.

  3. Netzi
    01/04/2010 at 5:57 pm Permalink

    Oops! I took your post in a different manner. I took it as being quite apathetic over current issues, after knowing how the usual solution is not the only one.

    Yes, I do retreat. I’m the quiet one commenting in her head. I’m also not so fond of starting debates and controversy. The tension starts and my brain has no explanations. Yet, when I’m alone or with similar-minded people, I have many thoughts. I think it’s pressure, having to prove, be right. What makes it better is not having to talk. Many people don’t care about what you think. Their way is “right”. Use your effort with interested people. They will understand your hesitations. Not everyone is good at talking the tougher things.

  4. Cassi
    01/04/2010 at 6:14 pm Permalink

    No, I think you understood originally. I feel like talking to someone about the educational system is exhausting because their basic assumptions are wrong, yet cannot really be challenged. It took me years to come to my understandings about education, so I know that it’s not something that can suddenly be “realized.” But when no one else in my social circle has the same assumptions as I do, how can I even have a discussion with them? What good is more money, better teachers or experimental teaching methods inside a completely broken system? Your economy issue is similar in that your solution comes from a worldview that is very different from most (capitalistic) worldviews.

    I have to say, I don’t normally mind disagreeing with people. However, I find that on an issue where my core understanding is drastically different from those around me, I am usually misunderstood and find that it gets me nowhere. So, that’s when it’s easy to just stop trying.

  5. Netzi
    01/04/2010 at 6:53 pm Permalink

    Disagreements are not bad when both sides are listening. It gets troublesome with stubborn, uninterested people. Many people are stubborn, but most will not admit it. I sympathize (and empathize), because most disagreements become attacks and assumptions. The best solution is to start your open-minded ways with other open people, whether they agree or not.

  6. wendy
    02/04/2010 at 11:15 am Permalink

    Everyone in my village (Inupiaq village in Alaska) knows that we homeschool. We homeschool because we are unschoolers at heart and enjoy learning all the time.
    Sometimes people in the village ask my opinion about schools but usually they they think I am not interested. Actually I am very interested and wish more people would see the inappropriateness of current schooling but I am not going to be changing the system. I may change a few minds about homeschooling though! 🙂

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