Postscript on the Columbine Tragedy From Pessimism To Possibilities
Solving the "Rubik's Cube" of Teenagers and Education
By Peter J. Jessen, © June 2000
Includes Excerpts of 18 Conflict Resolution Models make up the Conflict Resolution Models
Whether one is a parent or child, educator or legislator, business man or taxpayer, Columbine impacted on all. Will the contest of our post-Columbine world represent the opening of the "Mediation Door of Opportunity for Positive Change" or the hardening of attitudes and the opening of the "Doors of Dictated Change and Regional Withdrawal? " Will we insist on our positions, like the six blind men describing the elephant, or will we seek common ground solutions for all? This Postscript is provided as easy and necessary reading for adult and student alike, as background preparation for implementing an all-stakeholder school mission marathon in order to find answers to these questions. This proposed marathon is approached from the perspective of seven topics:
Columbine. April 20, 1999, tells us that in addition to the Ides of March we have the Agonies of April, as Columbine shares its infamous month in history with Martin Luther King, Jr's assassination, the Kent State shootings, the last U. S. troops leaving Vietnam, the Oklahoma City bombing, Columbine, and a 1st grader shooting another 1st grader a year after Columbine. Most of these had one thing in common: young people involved in violence and tragic deaths.
Columbine: 21 students wounded and a dozen students and one teacher slaughtered by two fellow students who then slaughtered themselves. So few, these two, yet they affected so many: individuals, families, communities, states, nations, the world. How? By squandering the hopeful optimism regarding the possibilities awaiting youth on the altar of self-imposed pessimism and helplessness, closing not only themselves off to the possibilities of the future, but also the possibilities and dreams of their fellow students and the dreams of their teacher. These two youth had so much to live for yet could not stand to live. These two youth had so much and yet enjoyed it so little. These two students lived what many would call an enchanted life, yet, instead, felt disenchanted. Columbine exposes us to the need to find a better a way to deal with the modern marathon of K-12 education, a marathon for kids, teachers, parents and tax payers/society as a whole. And although it may be only a small fraction who won't run in the marathon, their refusal to run, as evidenced by Columbine, can ruin the race for a great many others.
Teenagers and education have become like a rubics cube: a seemingly innocent piece of color and brightness, yet being representative of intricate and many combinations of moves. How to get all in alignment? Many try. Few succeed. And yet, in life, as with the rubics cube, any action taken sets off a set of reactions or chain reactions, for each spin of the horizontal or vertical squares influences all succeeding actions. So too with teenagers and education. How can we solve the teenagers and education puzzle, a puzzle that begins before kindergarten, a puzzle that will require all the heads involved in its solution, a puzzle which is but the first of a series of puzzles encountered in life by all?
Many questions present themselves: how can we better prepare our kids and their adults (parents and teachers) to successfully run and complete this K-12 educational marathon? What will be the future of education, public and/or private, tax payer and/or voucher supported, neighborhood school and/or school choice, local and/or state funding, individual efforts and/or collaborative, whole language and/or phonics, direct instruction and/or discovery learning, developmentally appropriate practices and/or learning style customization? What is meant by education and how are its institutions (from teachers colleges to government education departments to school boards to the schools themselves to be evaluated? How do we deal with those who want to radically change education and those who want to leave it as is? How do we deal with a traditional system of set, unchanging structures in a world that is rapidly changing? How do we deal with a work force schooled before modern communications, the Internet, and globalization? How do we deal with teenagers in terms of rapid change in the midst of timeless truths and values that have not changed?
And how do we answer the perennial questions to which all seek a resolution: how to fund education and what to teach and how to teach it? Finally, how do we answer the haunting question of whether or not there can be "safe" schooling? And on a broader level, we can ask "From Columbine to Where? What next? "
Our postscript on the tragedy of Columbine is to explore the situational complex of modern education, from the macro (institutional, societal) level to the micro (individual, self) level, and to propose a process for enabling communities to use a method for running a positive marathon of mediating the mission of their own school institutions, in order to avoid hysterically pessimistic fatalism and instead to embrace historically optimistic possibilities. .
Columbine occurred three days after the final draft of The Terry Hitchcock Story: Heroes and Values was completed. Like everyone else, we were stunned. As we followed the story, we realized that we had missed a significant application of the "marathons of life" theme. Yes it applies to any individual, and yes it applies to the individual students who have to run the K-12 marathon. But in reflecting upon Columbine and all of the work we have done with corporations, from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, as well as our teaching at colleges and universities, it dawned on us that the theme applies to institutions as well.
This "Postscript" is being written on the first anniversary of Columbine. A key question that is asked is whether or not there is a mechanism or model to follow which would enable all of those in society who have a stake in education to work together to create a resolution acceptable to all? The answer is yes. 18 are discussed in this paper [expanded for 5 and then from 10]. These 18 models are presented for use in mediating conflict resolution, nine which have been used at the macro level of society, or nation to nation or institution to institution (Masada in Palestine of the first century between the Romans and Zealots; West Germany after World War II, South Africa to transition from apartheid to post apartheid, and the "Oslo Process" of the Middle East today between Israel and the Palestinian Authority). The reader is asked to think of other macro models (and to alert the author of them for future consideration), as well as any micro models which any reader of this essay, whether adult or student, knows of and which can be recommended for use at the micro level of face-to-face level of human interaction (nine are listed below).
Overall violence among school kids is going down. Yet "isolated incidents" show how isolated we are not. Nine incidents the year before, with 15 killed and dozens wounded, impacting on thousands more. With nearly that many at just one school, Columbine, it garnered far more publicity. And then just over a year after Columbine,a first grade boy shoots and kills a first grade girl with whom he had been arguing the day before.
The shooters at Columbine thought they could control life in death. Their fellow students now have to find control of the meaning of their lives. In the wake of these two, countless thousands of schools have clamped down on students. Of the Columbine victims that survived, more than two dozen are "classified as homebound' for physical and psychological reasons„, so they receive their education at home. " Three are still in wheel chairs, while "many continue to seek therapy and religious counseling? It has effected student studies and behavior, as "academically, a lack of an ability to concentrate, and the unpredictability of the students in the classroom," where every two to three weeks "they're off the wall and extremely difficult to handle. " What does this all mean? According to the Columbine principal, Frank DeAngelis, "It's about not giving up, and that's what Columbine High School represents. " Thus, he says, "It's been a year of hills and valleys; we're learning to cope. " And yet "he, like his students, faculty, and staff, is not about to give up. " ["Columbine: A Year of Tragedy and Triumph," Mindy Sink, Upfront, a scholastic magazine by The New York Times, April 10, 2000, pp. 8-10]
How do they survive the shootings? How do they grieve and then get on with life? How do they, or any school with a shooting, deal with the pain and struggle, and survive? How do they survive the marathon of a year's after shocks of emotions?
Liberals and conservatives are both using the concept "mediating structures" to "empower people". We believe that this concept of "mediating structures", organizations and institutions that stand between the larger society and the individual, provides a workable alternative in which both liberals and conservatives can work through such structures together to resolve these issues in a way their traditional formulas won't. By turning "the individual" and "nation-state" into war cries of the "ideal," following an "either/or" path rather than a "both/and" approach, the opportunity to bring both sides to the table is missed. With "both/and," the extremes of the arguments for and against nationalizing formerly local institutions, especially those of education, housing, the poor, and other social problems, can be substituted for the task of finding common ground on which all of those who are arguing can stand.
This is not the place to discuss this approach in detail or the history of its acceptance over the past 25 years of those from one end of the political spectrum to the other, including its use by both the George Bush White House and the Bill Clinton White House. To learn this history and background, the reader is pointed toward the book To Empower People: From State to Civil Society, 20th Anniversary Edition.
We find ourselves standing with those who believe this notion of mediation can provide the "True North" direction, be the North Star of a bipartisan agenda that can provide practical solutions to previously untractable problems by utilizing a method that minimizes the need to begin first by defending one ideological position or another. This approach is neither pro-government nor anti-government, but rather a non-ideological alternative that allows all concerned positions a chance toward developing an "answer to what Aristotle said is the political question: How ought we to order our lives together? " (p. 153 of To Empower People: From State to Civil Society).
Such an approach allows all participants to reject the easy answer, the sprint of dictation (whether from a legislative body or a Superintendent of Schools or a Principal, which can result in fostering individual and group withdrawal) and instead allows all to accept the harder yet more practical approach, a marathon of a mediated discussion involving all of the effected participants ("stakeholders" in the language of public policy strategic planning).
In his seminal essay on the "culture" of liberty. (pp. 407-415), Peter L Berger raises the questions on everyone's mind, echoing Aristotle above and all philosophers writing about how to achieve the common good: how can we best answer the two basic questions every human society must answer, (1) "Who are we? " and (2) "How are we to live together? "In other words, he asks, how can we achieve an answer to these fundamental questions, without which "both social philosophers and social scientists have long agreed that there can be no order in human affairs without such a consensus"? Carl Dahlstrom has written that without a consensus, society will waver back and forth between anarchy and despotism. What better time than now to develop such a consensus, or common ground, particularly in terms of education?
What needs to be mediated are the divergent views ranging from (1) those who view public education as the crucial institution to creating a commonweal of citizens, to (2) those who believe they are merely "government schools" pitting one group against another and undermining the social fabric and the values on which the country was founded, to (3) those in between who are concerned but are also confused and not sure what should be done.
The phrase "Case for a Tragic Optimism" is taken from the 1984 essay in Victor Frankl's book, Man's Search for Meaning (called "one of the ten most influential books in America," by a 1991 Library of Congress/Book-of-the-Month Club "Survey of Lifetime Readers"). It helps us to understand the importance of running life's personal and institutional marathons. Frankl's book describes what he learned from his four year experience in German concentration camps during World War II. The survivors ran a marathon we can only barely begin to comprehend. Frankl's basic points are that life gains purpose in the search for meaning and that each individual, in the final analysis, chooses the attitude he or she will have in responding to any situation.
Frankl's classic book is more than just a memoir of one man's experience. It bears testimony to the experiences of others, a self-help book and a psychology manual, as well as bearing testimony to the break down of institutional conflict resolution.
This education mediation marathon suggestion highlights the necessity of a wide ranging dialogue between all the parties involved in education, in order to more optimistically address the two fold tragedy represented by Columbine: (1) youth killing youth and (2) the vast array of stakeholders, albeit all well intended, being unable to resolve basic issues because of starting from divergent, multiple realities, and often swinging toward "despotism" which tends to promote more student "anarchy," etc. Keep in mind that our suggestion also applies to any sector of society as well as to any society as a whole.
Frankl's book and his postscript speak directly to the Columbine tragedy in particular and to the whole question of what society might to do about it in general. He concluded his postscript by affirming his "tragic optimism," because, despite the horrors that occur in the world, we can still find meaning in our lives, survive, and prepare each generation for the future. He asks us to be alert in a twofold sense:
Since Auschwitz we know what man is capable of.
And since Hiroshima we know what is at stake.
Of all the highly publicized school shootings, Columbine has captured the imagination of society far greater than any other. As we look at the bodies of dead students, we recognized that we too have to be alert in another two-fold sense as well:
Since Columbine we know what some students are capable of.
And since the responses to it, from all sides, we know what is at stake.
In his essay, Frankl writes that "a tragic optimism" is maintaining a sense of optimism despite the "tragic triad" of (1) pain, (2) guilt, and (3) death. It means, in other words, to use the title of another Frankl book: Saying yes to life in spite of everything. This means that "life is potentially meaningful under any circumstances. " If all the stakeholders in education can get that point across to students (as well as live it themselves), that life is meaningful, in a shared way, many of the problems of education could be resolved in a way satisfactory to all stakeholders.
In terms of the schools, what is their mission in our society? What method should they use to peacefully and happily coexist and serve with the rest of society's institutions? Only with the institutions of education interacting with the other institutions of society can these questions and problems be adequately answered and resolved. This is why we propose, as a means to resolve the conflicts and reduce if not eliminate future Columbines, an educational institution conflict resolution mission and development method marathon, with the runners being all of the involved individuals and institutions, to find, to use Justice Felix Frankfurter's phrase, a "binding tie of cohesive sentiment. "
LIST of 16 Conflict Resolution/MEDIATION/Negotiation Models
8 Macro (institution to institution)
8 Micro (face to face)
1. By Rome in Palestine, Romans vs. Zealots
2. Germany after World War II: The Evangelical Academies
3. South Africa, to end apartheid: Joint mediation
4.The Oslo Accords Process for Israel and the Palestine
5. The "Politics of Love" of Michael Cassidy in South Africa
6.The 1975 Helsinki Accords, helped end Soviet Union with
7. Third track diplomacy of The Roman Catholic Church
8. Round Table of Wash. Posts K. Graham of high ranking
individuals on an informal basis
1. Conflict resolution chart of Ken Thomas'
2. 2 x 2 probability of outcome matrix of Mary Pipher
3. Using "self-talk" and the CO2RE/LEAD formulas to raise
Adversity Quotient (Paul Stoltz) to enable "Learned Optimism"
to overcome "learned helplessness" (Martin E.P. Seligman
4. "Managing Conflict for Individual & Team Success At Home
and At School," by Sam Imperati and JoAnn Houck
5. Use of Lists/Recipes to Empower both sides, making sure
that, in Donald Meichenbaum's word, all that can be is
6. Passover Mandate of Jesus to serve one another
7. Passover Mandate of Jesus to love one another
8. Round Table of Wash. Posts K. Graham of high ranking
representatives of Institutions, on a formal basis.
Regarding the 16 models of conflict resolution
This continues my quest to both understand conflicts and to develop workable resolutions for such conflicts, whether personal (micro) or between larger aggregations of individuals in the institutions and nations of society and the world (macro). I began the list with a total of 5 macro in 1997, with the micro being added in 1999. As new ones are learned of, they are added.
Peter Berger has coined, among many highly useful terms, this pair: "historically specific conservatives" (those of the left or right who would usher in their desired type of society and then freeze it in place) and historically nonspecific conservatives" (those who accept change and make haste slowly). I find them so much more useful as a way of looking at the ideological landscape (as it cannot be avoided). As I also state on those pages, this and another pair of Bergers analytical word tools,"calculus of meaning" and "calculus of pain", are, in my judgment, the critical one- two punch of analysis and conflict resolution. They are two of the four key organizing principles for dealing with such conflict resolution, along with the concepts of "lists/recipes" and "collaboration." "Recipes" comes from Berger as well, through Alfred Schutz. All of which I would make a part of what Cassidy call the politics of love, which has to be both the umbrella over and foundation under all discussions and interactions if true conflict resolution is to be achieved in a way that love and justice pervades and is received and perceived by both sides. These models are of particular importance and relevance in the continuing conflicts in the world today, whether by nation-states or independent groups dedicated to changing society through violence.
THE 8 MACRO MODELS
FIRST: Masada, a "how NOT to work things out. It is a story set in Palestine/Israel of 72 A.D. It is a story of the failure to attempt or trust mediation (although it is not known if any was attempted). The Zealots, on top of the 1300 foot plateau, were unable to prevent the Romans' slow, methodical, progress of building a ramp to the top of the sheer cliff in order to breach their defenses (FN#13). It is a lesson in both international and local politics and an opportunity to understand our own behavior better. "Masada" was a four part ABC Novel for Television, April 5-8, 1981. Having people watch the video tape would be an excellent dynamic. CIS (Cultural Information Service), in NYC, wrote a marvelous study guide for it, that stands alone as a guide to any discussion regarding conflict resolution, peace, etc., as well. It is 15 pages, with pictures, on 11x14 paper (FN#14)
SECOND: "The Evangelical Academies" model of post World War II West Germany, where the mediator is the faith community, discussed in the book Confession, Conflict & Community. They were established by the faith community. In a word, unlike Humpty Dumpty and all the king's men, they were able to help put West Germany back together again, as "the academies played a singular role in restoring the democratic idea after the disaster of the Third Reich." "The Evangelical Academies" have been in continuous use, and were central to the recreation of West Germany. These "academies" provided a sense of dialogue between all the parties, fostering and enabling a kind of "mediating action" to take place between the social and political forces (not as in arbitration or in seeking compromise, but rather in the sense of creating a "zone of freedom" in which the concerns of all sides could be brought to bear upon the urgent issues before them, using a set general process agendas in which the specifics could be discussed and dealt with by all concerned. The meetings were held outside the cities in the country side, with minimal distractions, and always with a mixed group of stakeholders. The first conference brought together "150 lawyers and economists" and later ones "laborers, farmers, physicians, and social service workers--people from all walks of life." A key lesson learned was the importance and "necessity for each occupational group within the framework of modern society to encounter the group that it most complained about." (FN#6)
The academies continued through the decades, with problems addressed ranging from road locations to international issues of concern. 19 Academies continue today under an umbrella association, and is working with similar movements in Africa, Asia and America. They were also used in East Germany to give citizens a place to gather and discuss prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall (prior to which over 1,500 conferences were held each year), and then used later to help in the reunification of West Germany and East Germany after the fall of the Berlin Wall. (FN#7) Why not regarding education in America?
THIRD: the mediation model used in South Africa. The model is outlined as a theoretical piece as well as being discussed in the practical terms of its actual use in this setting. The 1989 book The Passing Summer : A South African's Response to White Fear, Black Anger, and the Politics of Love, by Michael Cassidy, discusses the situational complex of apartheid in the summer of 1986, including the several centuries of actions that led to apartheid. The actual South Africa mediation model is outlined in the 1988 book A Future South Africa: Visions, Strategies, and Realities, edited by Peter L. Berger and Bobby Godsell (FN#8). On page 320-321 of the Berger-Godsell book is the "Analytic Scheme" for guiding the research and, on pp. 322-323, is Peter Berger's outline for "reality-testing" what is being done. The change in South Africa, as anywhere else, did not "just" happen. The Berger-Godsell report was released in 1988, two years before Nelson Mandella was released from prison, who was then elected President in 1994. After 1988 and 1989, the contents of these two books merged in the conferences that were held to discuss the transition out of apartheid.
In an update received from Bobby Godsell in March 2000, he discusses four additional conferences which were particularly helpful, conferences which bear witness to how well this model can be used successfully all along the spectrum of stakeholder positions. The four conferences were: (1) 1989, called by the then new Afrikaner Nationalist president, FW de Klerk to address the problems of political violence (which the African National Conference boycotted); (2) 1994: called by a Kenyan Bishop which resulted in involving the Inkatha Movement, led by Mangosuthu Buthelezi, just weeks before the first democratic election in 1994, enabling it to join the now cooperating ANC and de Klerk government; (3-4) the use of the "reality testing" model of the referenced 1988 book by groups on the far right and left: by the Broederbond, a secret Afrikaner Nationalist intellectual organization, led during this critical period by J P de Lange, and by the South African Communist Party. Of these latter two, Bobby Godsell states, "In both cases they concluded that [their old] strategies were not possible," and thus they too joined to work cooperatively with the other stakeholders regarding South Africa's development" (FN#11). And such mediation continues. Godsell also reports (FN#9) that "Evangelical Christianity continues to play a surprising role in providing a common road to modernity for black and white, left and right" (FN#10). It is the "common road," properly given a "realty testing," which provides its users with a peaceful outcome as well as opportunity to move toward a more just one. Perhaps the title of Michael Cassidy's book shows us why it worked in South Africa and why it can work in education in the United States: The Passing Summer : A South African's Response to White Fear, Black Anger, and the Politics of Love. Fear and anger clouded both the presentation of issues and judgment about them. Love, in the form of the Golden Rule, was used. Love, however defined, whether in terms of civility of discourse, civility in relational interaction, or both, can enable the Archimedian lever of mediation to enable the resolution of the problems to the satisfaction of all stakeholders.
FOURTH: The Oslo Accords Process being used in the Middle East to resolve the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Authority was begun in the woods of Norway. See The New Yorker article, Annals of Diplomacy section (Dec. 20, 1993, pp. 77-85): "THE PEACEMAKERS". Subhead: "In Norway, two Israeli academics [the initial mediators] worked for months to broker the secret peace--and succeeded where governments had failed." The initial success of what is being called "The Oslo Accords" has come about because both sides agreed to leave the most contentious issues until last (West bank, the final settlement of Jerusalem, and full sovereignty passed to the Palestinian Authority, or "PA", among others of the most thorniest issues), so as to work on the areas on which there either was agreement or clear room for negotiation. The theory: that the process of working together would enable both sides to become familiar with each other, break down the walls between them, and develop a kind of trust that would enable them, after resolving the "are negotiable" issues to finally tackle the major issues separating both sides, issues which were originally labeled "non-negotiable." Theory problem: unlike with West Germany and South Africa, a common faith bond between the two sides is missing. Rather than gradually reconciling with each other (made possible by the use of love, the basis of any faith community context), the process has been one sided, without reconciliation because of the continued propaganda of hate and fanatic Islamism, which has been the staple of the Palestinian culture since the creation of the Jewish state in 1948, and the demand from certain Israeli elements of a restoration of Israel as in Biblical times. The irony is that the Masada roles are now reversed. The Palestinian Authority is acting the role of Rome wanting the Israeli's to act the role of the 1st century Zealots and kill themselves. In its current state, this model is actually moving toward the Palestinian goal of a Masada-like conclusion.
To put it bluntly, the "Oslo Accords" need the "politics of love" (Model #5 below) if the negotiators are to avoid the Masada affect. The empirical reality is that the presence of the acknowledgement of love in Models 2 and 3 were successful, and that its absence led to the failure of #1 and is leading to the failure of #4. #5 organizes this principle for any macro-level conflict negotiation.
Cassidy proposed this model for South Africa, with the urging that it be incorporated in the country's constitution. As 78% of South Africans (Black and White) professed to be Christians, the politics of love followed their shared belief that "God is love." The model served as an inspiration to themselves regarding letting their better natures prevail as continues to serve as in inspiration to other peoples of the planet caught in the same kind of process. The model is also practical, in that "the golden rule is finally what life is all about" and is at the heart of every major world religion and most secular philosophies. But how does a nation or large institution incorporate the golden rule all claim to want to follow but find so difficult to follow? Through love, which turns revenge into treating perpetrators of prejudice with the respect and civility. Cassidy regarding meetings with the head of detentions: "I grasped afresh that South African blacks, and especially black Christians, are in many ways incredible. Their capacity to bear pain, to tolerate indignity, to dredge up new goodwill from who knows where and still be gracious, never ceases to amaze me" (p. 19).
Cassidy discusses his ten point model in detail in his book's Part Six, "The Politics of Love (The outworking of love as a valid political principle," in three chapters, Chapter 19 ("Winning in the World's Workshop" based on the Swiss Hans-Ruedi Weber referring to South Africa as "the laboratory of the world," in 1973, for how they did would greatly affect the world's belief in what is possible), Chapter 20 ("Love as a Political Virtue" which is to sing songs Cassidy doesn't mention but which relate, the Dianne Warwick song "What the world needs now, is love, love, love", or the song made popular world-wide by Michael Jackson and Pepsi Cola about the world needing love or Disney's "Its a Small, Small World After All"), and Chapter 21 ("Love in Structures", as in the constitution, etc.).
The 10 point model proposed in 1988 by Cassidy, p. 425, which is needed
by those involved in The Oslo Accords and any other global "hot spots"
needing conflict resolution, is:
The "politics of love" means
1. Dealing with one's own heart
2. Abandoning the negative because love is positive
3. Working out what we profess as a Christian nation
4. Rising to the demands of love and forgiveness
5. Accepting love as a political virtue
6. Working for structural reconciliation
7. Putting love into a constitutional framework
8. Working love into economic structures
9. Prayerfully thinking and acting ourselves into a new order and a new day
10. Taking the long view
In her book, The Human Condition, the Jewish scholar Hannah Arendt says we keep chaos at bay by keeping promises and that we deal with the irreversibility of our words and deeds through forgiveness, that forgiveness and reconciliation are not the provenance of Christians, although Jesus emphasizes it more than anyone, but rather that both are necessary because of the "human condition." To forgive in order to be reconciled requires loving. Love is what is missing in the Middle East with the Oslo Accords. Without love, it will ultimately fail. Love and reconciliation are a necessary part of the human condition.
Macro models 2, 3 and 5 show love as a key ingredient for macro conflict resolution. Models 1 and 4 suggest that its lack prevents resolution. There is the evidence of another contemporary, long term, unresolved, unreconciled, loveless conflict: Korea. The unsuccessful threatening Cold War rhetoric of Washington has not worked. The recent summit between North and South Korea was brought about by South Korea's Kim Dae Jung, using a mix of Christian compassion and Confucian sincerity. If this continues, this country could also be reconciled, using the "politics of love."
SIXTH, the 1975 Helsinki Accords, In terms of the Helsinki Accords, I would juxtapose them with the Oslo Accords as well as with Masada, both of which failed (interestingly enough, both failures were in the Middle East), as I predicted in the items I'm sending to you, as both Oslo and Masada were unable to either recognize and/deal with hate and mistrust, and neither was able to view with love. According to Natan Sharansky, the signing of the 1975 Helsinki Accords by the Soviet tyrants was when they "signed their own death warrant" ("Why Weren't the Helsinki Standards Also Used for Oslo? Wall Street Journal, May 14, 2001, p. A18). This "third basket" meant the Soviets and their puppets were agreeing "to uphold the basic human rights of their own subjects", although they had no intentions of doing so. But this was the "Achilles' heel of the totalitarian state" as all actions were then scrutinized by world opinion according to this agreement (that, plus going bankrupt trying to keep up the arms race, while also intervening militarily in Vietnam and Afghanistan). The "Kremlin eventually buckled under the strain," as, "forced to relax their tyranny, they released a spark of freedom that spread like a bush fire and burned down an empire", a reminder from the East to the West that "freedom has the power to change the world." Sharansky says the real lesson lost by the Oslo accord folks was that the Soviet "historic collapse was shaped by the moral authority of dissidents" in Russia and the moral authority of certain political leaders in the U.S. willing to use the phrase "evil empire," which brought near apoplexy from the left in this country. Sharanskys bottom line: "the Oslo accords failed to establish any connection between human rights and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process."
SEVENTH, the third track diplomacy contributions and structures of the Roman Catholic Church, especially in Mozambique, Central and South America, and South Korea. Berger reminds us that the U.S. population as a whole is as religious as India whereas the political and academic elites are as secular as Sweden. This explains to me why they can't deal with morality, as it would be a foot in the door for religion, and religion must be stamped out at every point (see comment on Voltaire below). And religion, more than any other, teaches morality and love. The recent (1999) book edited by Peter Berger, The Desecularization of the World: Resurgent Religion and World Politics, includes a piece by George Weigel, "Roman Catholicism in the Age of John Paul II." In it he discusses what John Paul II has done as well as the "third track diplomacy" of the Rome-based San' Egidio Community, which he says has played important roles in 3rd track, "most successfully in Mozambique."
Another major difference is the lack of a concept of sin on the political left, for if there is no sin, how can what one is doing be all that wrong? The moral strength of Gandhi in India was not his but England's self image as a moral nation, sinful though it may be, but one that didnt slaughter people, and thus had to withdraw on those moral grounds (a concept totally missing, of course in the Soviet Union and any past and present Marxist states). Ditto in South Africa: it was the vision of people, Black and White, both Christians, that enabled apartheid to be put back in its box. The key now is to prevent its reverse. And the civil rights movement in this country was also fought on a moral base. Martin Luther King could not have been as effective as he was, nor the supreme court able to rule as it did, if it wasnt for the moral sense that counted, the moral sense of everyday Americans, who were revulsed by such scenes as Bull Connors dogs and the beating of unarmed, peaceful marchers, not to mention the bombing of little girls and the lynching of innocent men, and who said, but that is not us, ushering in the change. What nation can survive without such a moral base as it relates to its citizens and to its fellow nations?
But even in moral nations, we need the "politics of love" (sin, and all that, one must recall, arent going away). Too many seem to have Voltaire's wish. Weigel writes that Voltaire "died with the wish that the last king be strangled with the guts of the last priest." For all of his defense to the death of ones right to speak their opinion, "the revolution he helped to inspire defined its goal as little less than the overthrow of the civilization the Church had helped nurture for centuries." When I was in graduate school, those of my fellow grad students who were Marxists told me I would be one of the first ones shot come the revolution (which they sincerely believed would come). I said yes, but you'll be beside me, as the first to go are the intellectuals. Graduate school in the classroom with Berger was exciting, but with fellow grads disappointing. The left is so lacking in balanced morals (and the concept of moral equivalency negates morals, making what is moral what one personally feels to be moral, i.e., anything anyone does). But how can you have a sense of morals that is all encompassing of all people if you don't have a concept of sin and therefore believe any action of ones own cant, by definition be wrong? If one thinks it OK it is by definition OK, as seen by those who are historically specific conservatives on both the left and right.
EIGHTH, putting top representatives of conflicting organizations in the anchoring environment of a Round Table, as was used by King Author for his Knights of the Round Table, in order to get them to act cooperatively together, and as was used by Katherine Graham, Publisher of The Washington Post, to foster open communications where suspicioned communications existed before (just as its counter part, #8 in micro, is on an informal basis).
THE 8 MICRO MODELS
Those interested in education in any town or city, are urged to think beyond the conflict resolution process at the institutional level (the 5 macro models above) and think also of the conflict resolution process within their own minds between their "better" and "worse" selves as well as between themselves and those they must resolve conflicts with face to face, at home, at work, or at school (the 5 micro models below). A recommended starting place is to consider either the adoption of one of the following models or the development of another model taking elements from any of the other models, whether approached in terms of outcomes or in terms of personal procedures to follow. These micro, face-to-face relationship models can enable people to approach different tasks using the terminology of the field of conflict resolution, enabling the kinds of effective inter-personal relationships that will foster, support and sustain task completion.
FIRST: a full spectrum model from lose-lose to win-win, to use as a guide in how well you are doing in developing a win-win model, with the outcome goal being that of collaboration, as seen on the following Chart of Win-Lose Strategies for Task Completion/Relationship Building.
Goal: Work diagonally toward collaboration to achieve tasks/goals in a win-win manner
The previous chart was adapted by Peter Jessen from the model presented by John Conhere who in tern presented his adaptation of the model of Ken Thomas, in Conhere's Peer Mediation presentation, Fridley Middle School, Fridley, MN, Jan. 19, 1993, and used by Peter Jessen in his presentation of THE MOTIVATION ZONE: Heroes at Work with Heroes in Training: Background, Rationale and Curriculum For Parents & Kids, before a meeting of the Wilson Cluster Parent Connection Meeting, Wilson High School, Portland, OR, March 11, 1996, and before the Wilson High School Leadership Group in December 1998.
Key to task success is to understand how to meld each stakeholder's and stakeholder group's plans, agendas and "to do lists" into a recipe which includes the concept of collaboration. Following Meichenbaum's Facilitating Treatment Adherence: A [medical] Practitioner's Guidebook, by Donald Meichenbaum and Dennis C. Turk; and Meichenbaum personal statement to Peter Jessen) "collaboration" is further defined as that which must be understood within the context that no collaboration can take place unless everything is negotiable. "Non-negotiable" means conflicts cannot be resolved and collaboration cannot be achieved. Without collaboration on negotiable items, there can be no Win-Win. Each group must drop its Wizard of Oz-ian curtains.
Referring to Chart: Left to right = ascending degree of task completion.
Bottom to top = ascending quality of relationships.
Avoidance (not face) = lose - lose.
Accommodates (giving in) = lose - win, as high level of task completion is sacrificed for the sense of relationship.
Controller = win-lose is at the other end of the spectrum is the (where high task completions are obtained by sacrificing relationships). And although compromise has some value, its half win, half lose (not very satisfying to either).
Collaboration is the one that is highest in both relationship building and task completion. Collaboration is the only one which is win-win and the best for long-term win-win. BUT, collaboration only works with that which is negotiable. Caveat: "consensus trumps collaboration" ("consensus leadership" allows one or two stop the rest in their tracks).
This model was adapted from Mary Pipher, Rescuing Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls, p. 83, by Peter Jessen, and used in his November 12, 1996 presentation before the Wilson Cluster Parent Connection: "From the 'Reviving of Ophelia' to 'The Shelter of Each Other': The Questions, Answers, and Tools Mary Pipher Offers For Use in 'Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls' and in 'Rebuilding our Families' and Communities into 'Tiospayes'."
This matrix outlines the outcomes that result with any of the four control strategies implemented by adults over their young, whether at home or at school. The favored outcome is a strategy which includes high affection and acceptance by the adults, meaning, in a word, love. This one is favored because the outcome is an independent, socially responsible, and confident young man or woman.
Indeed, Part III of her book The Shelter of Each Other is entitled: "Solutions: What will survive of us is love." In this she is in agreement with Cassidy (Macro model #3). The following matrix responds to Mary Pipher's question: "Under what conditions will young men and women flower and grow?"
A & A HIGH Affection & Acceptance HIGH A & A,
LOW Control HIGH Control
F C Indulgent Strict but loving
high impulsivity independent
F C low responsibility socially responsible
low independence confident
C P LOW Affection & Acceptance LOW A & A
LOW Control HIGH Control
Problem catalysts Authoritarian
I A variety of problems socially inadequate
delinquency lacking confidence
O N chemical dependence
THIRD: a set of personal self-talk or internal-dialogues, with the outcome goal being that of developing a sense of learned optimism, not learned helplessness, so as to raise one's Adversity Quotient, for the higher the AQ the easier and more successful one will be in overcoming adversity. The clue concept is that of self-talk, of which there are several models, which are discussed in Appendix C. All of them can be subsumed under Paul Stoltz's concept with the book title of the same name: Adversity Quotient: Turning Obstacles into Opportunities. Stoltz notes that the American Psychological Association considers the "learned helplessness" concept of Martin E.P. Seligman, as "the Landmark Theory of the Century." It explains why people give up or stop short when faced with life's challenges. This theory suggests that the shooters at Columbine felt helpless. The concept "Learned Helplessness" is the personal thought process of "simply internalizing the belief that what you do does not matter." The old wisdom statement is "As a man thinketh." Stoltz has created two ways of using self-talk (again, see Appendix C) to be positive, optimistic, and tackle any challenge. These two are CO2RE and LEAD.
To Stoltz, adversity is like a mountain to climb (a "vertical"
version of the "horizontal" version of running a marathon).
Three types attempt the climb: quitters, who either don't start
or who quit soon after starting; campers, who climb for a while and then
pitch their tents hoping for conditions to change that they prefer, and
just keep waiting, and climbers, who continue, no matter what, to the
top. Stoltz's goal for us: to each develop and nurture as
high an AQ behavior as possible, to grow a high AQ culture in every organization
or group in which one participates, and to thereby each is emailed tpunleash
each of our full potential. The key question (p. 281): "How
important is it for you to strengthen your AQ and your ability to climb
through adversity?" Like Stoltz, we all want to achieve Seligman's
"Learned optimism" as a way to change beliefs such that one
can see that it does matter what they try, and that they also matter.
Stoltz has three key terms:
CO2RE LEADing Vision
Learn CO2RE (p. 115) and LEADing (p. 154) to create a climbing culture, and develop the Vision (pp. 284-5) needed to sustain it. Teaching AQ to others gives them a great gift: the ability to confront challenge after challenge
C = Control: focus on what you can control, not what you cannot control
O2 = Origin and Ownership (how did it start; what is your part of the solution)
R = Reach (goal: don't allow catastrophising to spill over into other areas)
E = Endurance (to reduce how long the adversity will last)
L = Listen to your adversity response: high or low?
E = Explore all origins and your own ownership of the result
A = Analyze the evidence (regarding whether you have no control, regarding if it really must
reach other areas, and regarding whether it really has to last a long time)
D = Do something! (act).
p. 155: "The LEAD sequence is based on the notion that anyone can alter their success by changing their habits of thought. Change is created by disputing old patterns and consciously forming new ones."
Proverbs 29:18: "Where there is no vision, the people perish." Stoltz says that to overcome adversity in a sustained way, one must first dream the dream, then make the dream into a vision, and then sustain the vision, hold on to it, and not let it go. P. 287: "AQ is not a quick fix, but rather an enduring formula built on a fundamental truth that life is hard--but how you handle it determines your destiny." Recall the discussion above of Frankl: even though life is filled with suffering, guilt, and death, individuals can still derive meaning from their pain and suffering. Because of vision, people know the joy of "life is beautiful: "As long as one is alive, they can ascend."
FOURTH: the model "Managing Conflict for Individual & Team Success At Home and At School," presented to the Wilson Cluster Parent Connection, May 13, 1997, by Sam Imperati, Executive Director for The Institute for Conflict Management, Inc., and JoAnn Hjouck, Mediator, Solomon's Tree. This model begins with the reality that "conflict arises in all relationships," that conflict arises when someone insists they are right and you are wrong, and that the goal is to avoid the "standard" model, stated tongue in cheek, of "I'll listen to your unreasonable demands if you'll consider my unacceptable offer," and that to succeed in conflict resolution, even between two people, those involved must act as a team even when they come from different places/organizations/families/schools, etc. And although not a replacement for the traditional legal process, it can compliment it by providing a creative, economical and effective alternative to expensive law suits. This means that those in conflict but build relationships, not a case, and that they must understand that they are to fix a problem not fix blame. This model has four steps:
1. Identify the problem by getting both sides to understand what the other's position(s) and argument(s) is/are and to recognize that they can solve the problem.
2. Explore the problem by looking at the underlying values, needs, and interests of each party, identifying what each has in common, and then exploring the best case-worst case scenarios regarding the consequences of not reaching a resolution.
3. Develop solutions by listing all possible solutions, and then exploring the options in terms of which solutions satisfy common interests (O.P.T.I.O.N.S.: only proposals that include others' needs succeed).
4. Select and implement a solution by negotiating a winning solution that will generate full support now and in the future, and not ending without laying out procedures to follow if what is worked out worsens or, for whatever reason, the agreement reached is not working.
FIFTH: the Lists/Recipes for empowering both sides to achieve success model, compiled by Peter J. Jessen. As human beings have no instincts for social interaction (Berger's phrase), they "create instinct substitutes" (Gehlen's phrase). They create habits. These habits are said to follow the recipes needed for success. People seek "recipe knowledge" (Schutz's phrase).
It derives from three concepts: (1) the social fact that humans have no instincts for human interaction nor for keeping track of things, and that to survive, must create "instinct substitutes," which are call roles. Every situation in which any person finds themselves, is a stage, and each stage has its own called for role playing, behavior, costume, etc. No one can live a role free existence. (2), because of this, anyone can, individually and collectively, be a playwright and participate in creating the stages on which they play, and the plays in which they play their roles. (3), individuals are capable of not only living in multiple realities AND are capable of emigrating freely back and forth between them. Nothing, therefore, is inevitable. All can be negotiated, worked out (except in those cases where individuals or groups choose not to. This also means that role playing is more important than one's feelings, that no matter how one feels, the old theatre adage that "the show must go on" is far more prevalent as a reflection of the realities of life than "when I get energized and feel great" I will get going. This must be the attitude of any who would overcome adversity and anyone who would engage in the "school mission marathon" to answer the questions before us, let along the attitude that must be in the heads of both students and teachers/administrators, if all of them are to get the most out of the K-12 educational experience marathon. Lists/recipes for action are key to organizing the thoughts and actions one needs to achieve goals. Some of lists include those of Stephen Covey's "7 Habits Habits of Highly Effective People and Families," Benjamin Franklin's list of 13 areas for achieving personal and professional success, the list of Dale Carnegie's success principles, the list of success principles of Napoleon Hill and W. Clement Stone, 6 lists for goal setting by Zig Ziglar, Tony Robbins, Robert Schuller, Peter Daniels, Paul Stoltz, and Napoleon Hill, as well as a list of books of lists by Sam Deep and Lyle Sussman.
SIXTH: the Love each other model, as admonished by Jesus, the Buddha, and Mohammed. Hannah Arendt says the human condition requires forgiving others, as words and deeds are irreversible, and keeping promises, as that keeps chaos at bay. Christians celebrate the Jewish Passover as Maundy Thursday (Maundy having roots from three languages: derived from mandatum, Latin, "commandment"; also derived from the English, "Mandate"; and derived from the French, "Mande," meaning "command" or "mandate"). For some, it refers to Jesus foot washing of his disciples and His command to serve one another. To others it refers to his command to love one another (both of which are common to all peoples of the Book: Christians, Jews, Moslems). To me it refers to and includes both. Or, as the liturgy at http://www.rockies.net/~spirit/sermons/s-maundy-thursday.html states it:
MAUNDY is an English form of the Latin word for commandment. The overarching theme of Maundy Thursday is Jesus' new commandment, given on this the eve of his death, to "love one another even as I have loved you" (John 13:34) Maundy Thursday is the night of the final meal that Jesus had with his disciples. The night in which he washed his disciples feet, saying after he had done so: (John 13:12-17) "Do you understand what I have done for you? You call me 'Teacher' and 'Lord,' and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
What makes the events of 9/11/01 so mystifying for many, is that all three religions who share and are all three called The Peoples of The Book, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, have members with different interpretations and who thus have adopted roles not of loving and serving but of hating and killing.
SEVENTH: the Serve others model, as admonished by Jesus, the Buddha, and Mohammed. Albert Schweitzer said: I don know what you will do in life, but I do know you wont be happy until you learn to serve others.
EIGHTH: putting top individuals of conflicting organizations in the anchoring environment of a Round Table, as was used by King Author for his Knights of the Round Table, in order to get them to act cooperatively together, and as was used by Katherine Graham, Publisher of The Washington Post, to foster open communications where suspicioned communications existed before. (just as its counter part, in macro, is on a formal basis).
An excellent source of "lists/recipes" is any program based on six sigma, the concept behind the concept of TQM (total quality management), which is to minimize errors and, thus, defects. Although designed for organizations as a whole, it also designed for use individually, and can be used by such disparate organizations as manufacturing plants and public schools.
A P.S. to these 8 macro and 8 micro models for conflict resolution
Note that the 2 KEYS to all of these 16 models is their organization. It is recommended that their organizational principle be that of (1) L-I-S-T-S/R-E-C-I-P-E-S) (as part of goals, plans, contingencies, time lines), and (2) c-o-l-l-a-b-o-r-a-t-I-o-n (with all as negotiable).
As Berger further points out, social scientists talk about the reality that "every society has its own corpus of officially accredited wisdom, the beliefs and values that most people take for granted as self-evidently true." In terms of education, there are multiple realities involved, each viewing education differently, from the unique position of its own prism of reality. This was not the case "in the old days", when, as Berger writes: "Every human society has institutions and functionaries whose task it is to represent this putative truth, to transmit it to each new generation, to engage in rituals that reaffirm it, and sometimes to deal (at least in words) with those who are benighted or wicked enough to deny it." This used to be an easy task when there was a dominant set of beliefs and values that everyone took for granted. But modern society is pluralistic, with multiple realities or worldviews that change, hence the saying of W.R. Inage, that "he who would marry the spirit of the age soon becomes a widower."
There are two other organizing principles which recommend for consideration by both the macro models and the micro models, both suggested by Peter Berger. The first is a "calculus of meaning" and a "calculus of pain," from his book Pyramids of Sacrifice: Political Ethics and Social Change, in which he suggests that policies should be those which provide the most meaning and the least pain, and that each calculus include a list of outcomes that are not desirable, in order to avoid the mistake of believing because the intent is pure, so will be the outcome.
Secondly, adapting from another analytical framework of Peter Berger, it is recommended that each of the stakeholders in the discussions that ensue review whether or not they are arguing from an ideological position or not, whether they are actually flexible with their thinking, and to ascertain whether or not they are being "historically specific conservatives" or "historically non-specific conservatives."
This eliminates the argument over content labels (liberal vs. conservative, Democrat vs. Republican), and instead focuses on the process. In this way, it can be state that both the radical left and the radical right are, hopelessly and romantically, historically specific conservatives. The radical left looks forward to a future putative utopia which, when reached, is to be frozen in place, never to change, because utopia has been achieved. The radical right looks backward to a putative golden age which it wishes to resurrect, after which it too is to be frozen in place, as the golden age has been retrieved. The historically NON-specific conservative recognizes yet resists the impulse to fine a "good place" and to then rest and keep it that way, but also recognizes that it is better to make haste slowly, and that as most historical actions have unintended consequences, one needs to be slow in assuming that a proposed policy or action is the solution. The Spanish Civil War, which, like all wars, was a conflict "full of moral ambiguities, with unspeakable brutality on both sides," in which a monument has been erected to the million who died, a monument placed inside a mountain not far from "The Valley of the Fallen". Berger's chilling words about this should give us all pause and inspire us to be "historically non-specific conservatives": And the Spain that is now emerging has nothing to do with what either side fought and died for. Or, as Cassidy put it in his book, "Apartheid and all its works will pass away. So will every answer which replaces it, whether better and nobler or yet more sinful and worse."
There are two other organizing principles which are recommended to be considered by both the macro models and the micro models, both suggested by Peter Berger. The first is a "calculus of meaning" and a "calculus of pain," from his book Pyramids of Sacrifice: Political Ethics and Social Change, in which he suggests that policies should be those which provide the most meaning and the least pain, and that each calculus include a list of outcomes that are not desirable, in order to avoid the mistake of believing because the intent is pure, so will be the outcome.
Secondly, adapting from another analytical framework of Peter Berger, it is recommend that each of the stakeholders in the discussions that ensue review whether or not they are arguing from an ideological position or not, whether they are actually flexible with their thinking, and to ascertain whether or not they are being "historically specific conservatives" or "historically non-specific conservatives. "
This eliminates the argument over content labels (liberal vs. conservative, Democrat vs. Republican), and instead focuses on the process. In this way, it is posited that both the radical left and the radical right are, hopelessly and romantically, historically specific conservatives. The radical left looks forward to a future putative utopia which, when reached, is to be frozen in place, never to change, because utopia has been achieved. The radical right looks backward to a putative golden age which it wishes to resurrect, after which it too is to be frozen in place, as the golden age has been retrieved. The historically non-specific conservative recognizes the impulse to fine a "good place" and to then rest and keep it that way, but also recognizes that it is better to make haste slowly, and that as most historical actions have unintended consequences, one needs to be slow in assuming that a proposed policy or action is the solution. The Spanish Civil War, which, like all wars, was a conflict "full of moral ambiguities, with unspeakable brutality on both sides," in which a monument has been erected to the million who died, a monument placed inside a mountain not far from "The Valley of the Fallen". Berger's chilling words about this should give us all pause and inspire us to be "historically non-specific conservatives": And the Spain that is now emerging has nothing to do with what either side fought and died for. Or, as Cassidy put it in his book, "Apartheid and all its works will pass away. So will every answer which replaces it, whether better and nobler or yet more sinful and worse. "
The "battle" over education is fierce because it is, in a real sense, a battle over everything. The sociologist Peter L. Berger has outlined why education is the key mechanism of the ladder of upward social mobility, in that it is available to everyone in a way other mechanisms are not, such as working hard at a trade (something often denied people because of gender, race, or other consideration), marriage (usually more open to women as a source of mobility), or through political connections or pressure. A 5th mechanism is that of one's "impression," what Goffman calls "impression management," meaning making an impression on those who have already made it up the ladder higher than one has themselves, enabling one to be accepted on a higher rung of the social ladder (a skill that determines how well one uses the other four mechanisms).
But it is education that is, theoretically, available to everyone (that is, to anyone who has learned to read). As Berger points out, education has become the most important mechanism for mobility, which is probably why everyone has an idea on how to either improve it or why it should be denied it to certain groups of the population one does not want to see climb, the three biggest examples in our history being (1) the forbidding of teaching slaves to read, and then, after the Civil War, preventing them from voting in the South by making being able to read a requirement for voting, even though there were white share croppers who also could not read, but who were allowed to vote, and (2) the forbidding of women to teach, own property, have influence of their kids, etc (the biographies of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony are source material enough, and (3) the making of children to work long hours in factories, mines, and sweat shops. It is because of the importance of education to one's ability to achieve social mobility that has made, understandably, the educational system the main target for political pressure on the parts of Blacks and other minorities (real and self-proclaimed) trying to improve their chances in society.
As social scientists are quick to point out, the only animals that make plans, undertake projects, and dream about the future, whether itôs the child imagining what it is like to be an adult or an adult imagining what it would be like to be whatever they are dreaming of. As the individual works this out in his or her mind, he or she does it with the "stereo" view of their own biography as well as their view of society as a whole. Historically, people saw dreams as just that, dreams. Modern individuals see them as achievable. They see education as the big difference in advancement in employment, politics, and learning how to present themselves so that they will be accepted in the circles they seek to enter. Today, people who want to achieve their dreams commit themselves to running whatever learning marathon that is appropriate for their particular dream. In sustaining their dreams they act, and in acting they become the heroes of their own lives, and become like other ordinary people who have done extraordinary things, which is as good a definition of the hero acting on his or dream as you can find.
Historically, people had ascribed status: status assigned them at birth, so that if they were born into the upper or privileged class, they stayed there, and if they were born into the poorer classes they stayed there as well. The modern child grows up knowing that regardless of his or her station at birth, it is possible to achieve one's dreams if one learns how, which means, get a good education (although studies show that the more affluent one's parents the greater the chance of acquiring a higher education).
Many self-improvement books continually repeat as almost a mantra: leaders are readers, which is also the key to good writing. Skills in both are acquired through the educational process. When General Douglas MacArthur was asked what the most important skill of a soldier was he answered "being able to write. " Biographers note that General Dwight D. Eisenhower's advancement came because he was able to write clear reports from wherever in the world he was sent. Biographers have likewise noted the sense that a key reason for promoting General Ulysses S. Grant was his ability to write (and his commander in chief, Abraham Lincoln is considered by his biographers the best writer to hold the office of President). All of these individuals read. And what is the key skill needed in any profession? The ability to present oneself in writing, in speaking, and in person (ladder of mobility steps #4 and #5: education and presentation of self). Napoleon insisted on clear writing. Outside his tent sat his Army's idiot. Any orders written for his Generals had to be shown to him first. If he didn't understand it the orders had to be re-written. General George Patton was not like the tall, deep voiced actor George C. Scott who played him in the movie. He was short, very slender, and had a high pitched voice. But he was a reader. He could write. And the depth of his education enabled him to lead as few others have.
At the bottom of all of this is education, whether it is Abraham Lincoln learning by reading by the fire place or public schools being made available to everyone or citizens with special views establishing private schools or generals being sent to the elite school of West Point. Education was and is the key. The GI Bill enabled thousands to get a college education after World War II, just as the great need opened up. An even greater need exists for the 21st Century to have students educated in the technological, and the academic, in order to meet society's needs for 21st Century workers for the Information/Internet/Bio-tech century.
Regardless of what one thinks of public education as an institution, education as a process is central to survival in the 21st century, both professionally and personally. It is also the key to social mobility in modern society. This is why education is too important to be left solely to educators or to those who fund education. A society wide discussion of stakeholders following one or more of the above models will enable us to keep this most precious and valuable foundation of society the benefit all sides of the debate want it to be.
RE-LIGHTING THE ENLIGHTENMENT
The classical sociologist Max Weber coined the term "The Iron Cage," his name for the routinized existence of modern times, a condition of necessity to deal in an orderly way with huge numbers of people and complicated technological equipment. He lamented the loss of enchantment in the world, and called for a re-enchantment of the modern world. Before modern times, most enchantment came through religion. The schools, forced to work on an almost totally secularized basis have no access to this avenue of enchantment, and the lack of funding has shut down many of the secular forms of enchantment, such as drama, music, physical education, and other electives.
Enchantment used to come through myth and religion. Enchantment became another casualty of the appalling slaughter and atrocities of World War I, which had another consequence parents have been fighting with ever since, and that is the swing from "follow the rules" to "let it all hang out. " The fundamentalism in both Christianity and Islam are not "traditional" or from "the old days," but are modern reactions to the loss of enchantment. The Star Wars films' hold on the imagination of the young of two generations speaks to this need for myths: "let the Force be with you. " Myths used to deal with timeless truths, where logic dealt with pragmatic realities. In her The Battle for God, Karen Armstrong shows how modern fundamentalism, whether it be that of Pat Robertson or the Ayatollah Khomeini, is very modern, in that it is a rationalist (modern) attempt to reassert myth (timeless truths and values). The trap for modern fundamentalists is that they are modern: in the past no one argued whether or not the monsters and descents into the underworld were literal or not, as the attempts of Fundamentalists to "prove" the truth of their Holy writ devalues both religion and science.
The terrible and tragic consequence of not having activities that enchant, such as a wide range of electives, art, PE, etc. , is that too often, in their search for enchantment, students seek enchantment in chemicals, violence fantasies, guns,or other forms of unacceptable behavior.
The arts, including music and drama. P. E. and all the rest, are needed not only to help give students a complete education, but also to enable them to mentally and emotionally attack the core academic courses refreshed, with a sense of knowing that after all of the hard work of repetitive studies, they have a place to go to re-enchant themselves and to make them happy to be there. It is not either/or but both/and.
Nonetheless, let us recognize that in a the real world of property tax limitations and the ongoing search to both find stable sources of funding and to settle the debate of what, finally constitutes the complete educational program, curricular and extra-curricular, that all need to help as much as possible. The proposed mediated discussion involving all concerned stakeholders will enable communities, states, and the nation to find common ground for all concerned.
Robert Landauer, in the Oregonian (September 1, 1998), has essentially contributed a wonder full summary of the problems raised by this discussion, in his article title and subhead:
Consider the fourth "R"
Evidence mounts that the arts aid student achievement,
should be in schools' center ring, not just sideshow".
"The 4th 'R'", the arts, refers to the fine and performing arts. As Landauer points out, students involved in the various fine and performing arts do better in school than those that don't. Indeed, they do better on the SAT's. This is right brain and left brain synergy at its best. As parents, we have heard students and parents and teachers talk about how if it wasn't for electives, some students would not stay in school.
Indeed, we have two types of students. Those who (1) come for the academics and discover the joys of the electives, and (2) those who come only for the electives and, in the process, are guided toward learning as well.
In another recent article in The Oregonian ("Arts Education Barely Visible," 10-29-98, p. C10), we read that many students have said, "The bonds that art and music can create within a school are special, perhaps unique," that, as stated about one school, "choirs bring pride and esprit de corps to a school that doesn't always triumph on the grid iron. . . . " Thus, there are those for whom it is choir (or other art or music) that "helps keep them on board. " And yet the article notes some schools don't have any.
In other words, eliminating electives and extracurricular activities undermines the very academic goal sought in the new requirements. Conversely, keeping them helps the schools' efforts to achieve learning by the students in a peaceful/orderly manner.
"The times they are a changin. " Generation Y has been identified as those between the ages of 13 and 19. They equal, in number, the baby boomers. It took 15 years to produce the baby boomers. It has taken only 6 to produce generation Y. Things are going to get very interesting, very complicated, and very messy. This is why developing a joint "school mission marathon" process to address these issues is urged upon all schools.
The boredom of the routine needs to be relieved. Electives relieve. Most adults get training time, conferences, etc. , all things away from their routine, hence, by any definition, enchanting. Building on that understanding, it is urged that motivational and uplift assemblies be developed or contracted for the kids, not fewer assemblies. Bottom line: alcohol, tobacco, other illegal drugs, undesired behavior, etc. , become defacto enchantment without other choices and electives.
Finally, how do we deal with the disenchantment of seemingly tolerated school teasing or hazing that some feel is part of the growing up process and not to be stopped? How do we deal with the statements of the fellow students of the Columbine killers: ["It Still Hurts: For Columbine Students, The Struggle isn't Over," Mindy Mink, Upfront, etc. , pp. 11-15] who admit "When we were freshmen, the senior class used to be able to get away with a lot of stuff„picking on kids. Just pushing them around, teasing them. „They did get teased. They did get persecuted a lot. " Now those activities get students expelled. " Fight or flight" still overrides "flow" for many kids. Just feeling insecure and afraid that one is going to be teased, let alone physically bothered, shuts down the cerebral cortex and prevents learning. This is why, empirically, biologically, brain wise, it is important that school all be "peace action" zones.
Despite the efforts to wire every school and classroom to the Internet, one is struck by the resistance towards it from some educators, saying "itôs a fad, it will go away," to a resistance to computers, with some saying "we don't have to learn them; its not in our contract," to those who hail computers and the Internet as the salvation of education. And yet there are a number of sites that have been developed for education (as witnessed when consulting to EdView, an educational web site with a catalog of sites for elementary, middle and high school (information, outlines, tutorials, background, lessons, etc. , which was subsequently sold to the Encyclopedia Britannica and then to Disney). Dispite this and other kindred sites, this resistence is still out there, creating a credibility gap between teachers who refuse to use it and their students who know it like the back of their hand.
This is due in part to the fact that many dealing with education, in and out of the classroom, confuse science with technology. As the physicist Sheldon Lee Ghashow (The End of Science? Attack and Defense, 1992, Nobel Conference XXV, Gustavus Adolphus College, p. 23-25) has noted, technology is not science although it is the "designer fruit" of science. Science is a "unified, universal, objective endeavor". The "laws of physical Science are objective: they are among the fewthings agreed upon by all of the family of man". The reason why we have such a struggle with education is that education is not a science; even its practicioners cannot agree.
Both technology and education are "certainly socially influenced and culture dependent. " Just as some wand a "kinder and gentler education," with an emphasis on self esteem, others suggest the same for science, wanting "a new kinder and gentler science be invented with Force replaced by Love, and Power by Tenderness. " The philosopher Sandra Harding, who seems to confuse science and culture, believes that science needs to be reinvented because it is "inextricably connected with specifically masculine needs and desires," and because science cannot serve to "make sense of women's social experience," it must be re-invented as "there is nothing morally and politically worth redeeming in the scientific world view. " However laudable her social goals may be in the service of the cause of feminism, they do not change the fact that the underlying truths of the fundamental laws of Nature do not vary from one culture to another, although the interpretation of what they mean or might not mean for human beings does vary.
Indeed, both Harding and Ghaslow were both addressing the XXV Nobel Conference at Gustavus Adolphus College in 1989. As the Nobel laureate Ghashow points out in his presentation, "Science enables Technology, which opens up enormous and rapidly growing ranges of human opportunities. " (p. 25)Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are just as possible as death, slavery, and the endurance of misery. Society, not science, determines its means and goals, and determines the uses to which science is placed. Society/culture can hobble science. Take two examples, Islam and China.
Prior to the doctrine of "Taqlid" being instituted in the Islamic world, that no truth exists beyond that revealed in the Koran, Arabic astronomy, chemistry and mathematics were unrivalled. With Taqlid, scholars were banished (p. 26). This is why they have such a hard time with the modern world and why "fundamentalism" has taken such a hold in those countries, and has probably contributed to the Oslow Middle East peace process is not working.
The Chinese invented gunpowder, the compass, and "were the greatest navigators on earth until they decided, in the 15th century, that nothing beyond their Celestial Empire was worthy of discovery" (p. 26). The result? They burnt their great ocean going ships, 50 years before Columbus set said for the East by sailing West. Only now are they playing catch-up, much to the detriment to the economic and social development of the largest population on the planet.
Ghashow believes that science as science "remains the one bold hope for the resolution of earthly problems such as pollution and illiteracy. " (p. xi), that science "offers the last great hope for a humane and lasting society. " (p. 23). . In other words, science can serve society and education to the extend we are willing to accept what is proven vs the extent to which we first want its findings to fit some preconceived notion or ideology or nationalist sentiment before such findings are considered.
The Internet comes under this heading, and how we view it will determine its utilization. The Internet has been called by teachers and educators everything from a passing fad to the greatest boon to education since Guttenberg's press. There are those who embrace it because of its ability to deliver enormous quantities of information quickly and cheaply, and there are those who reject it because it precisely for the same reason, that it so much information. There are those who embrace it as a technology that can replace colleges to those who believe that the issue is knowledge, not information, and that true knowledge cannot be attained without the give and take of a class room instructor interacting with students. But the Internet is not science. It is technology. It is a tool. How it can be and should be used should be a central point of discussion for the mediated marathon on education proposed in the Columbine postscript.
Let us suggest for discussion's sake that money is like trees and that the Internet is like money/trees. Centuries ago, trees were cut down to provide fire wood. In China, this meant destroying whole forests, with the result that China today does not have the aerable land needed to feed its population. Were it not for the discovery of coal, the same would have happened in England. And were it not for the discovery of oil, the same would have happened in the United States.
The question, in terms of fuel, now centers on atomic power. France, to avoid dependency on foreign oil has converted to atomic power. Nuclear physics provides a source of power free from the oil spills of ocean going tankers, acid rain from smoke stacks, black lung disease of the coal mine, environmental problems that accompany strip mining, and the greenhouse effect of emitted gasses. The question remains regarding its long term safety (Chernobyl and Three Mile Island immediately come to mind) and disposal of nuclear waste (of the latter, the U. S. does not reuse while France does. In reusing it, France has eliminated that problem and the contentiousness regarding moving such materials through various states to their depositories.
In this example, the Internet is what replaces firewood in education. The graphs on education show a steady increase in spending. As China's need for fuel absorbed her trees, so too does education absorb tax dollars, fostering tax revolts when the numbers get too high. There may even be a correlation in the drop of education spending with the subsequent rise in spending for prisons. The Internet means more bang for the buck, higher productivity, and a way of managing and distributing learning in a manner far cheaper that current methods.
The Internet provides a way of delivering information and knowledge, along with tutorials and other aids, that can be delivered nearly cost free in contrast to the current system.
Again, how the Internet can be and should be used should be a central point of discussion for the proposed mediated marathon on education. It is one of the great area to focus on to discuss institutional change. With all classes having their own web page, with the syllabus and homework easily available to check by students and parents alike, as well as assignments and due dates, and where the teacher can link to a dozen or so sites related to the topics and content of the class, an enormous amount of the time and expense over current methods can be eliminated. It is the "new fuel" to provide more with less. Many problems in education, from rich to poor districts, may well find that the Internet, used creatively and openly, can resolve many of the learning issues while also saving enormous costs.
Kids today are Internet and computer savvy where their parents are not, who in turn were TV savvy but their parents were not, who in their turn were radio savvy whose parents were not. Before that, change was slow. Now it is rapid. The Internet has the technology to harness entertainment and education (sometimes combined as "edutainment").
This information cracking plant for the future will feature hands-on and distant learning in a new kind of school house which will still, virtually, serve the old school houses as they transition to the new kind of information school house for the 21st century. This is why a societal wide dialogue is needed.
It is like turning the fable of the tortoise and the hare on its head. It is not so much competition as it is complementary collaboration and cooperation. The Internet is the hare. The school building is the tortoise. The key is to blend the speed of the information economy and the fast moving nature of high tech discoveries/inventions and development with the slower moving nature of the bricks and mortars of schools, in order to keep up with fast paced change with minimal disruption and maximum cost effectiveness. The hare is unstable but fast. The tortoise is too stable and can hardly move. Together they compliment each other, one bringing stability the other the dynamic of rapid changes in both technology and content.
As Pomerleau and McGuire point out in their white paper, "Merging Physical Plants and Virtual Plants: A Strategy for Business Success," the pre-Internet world of form and space/place is now gone, replaced by what the Internet brings to bear: "a complex virtual environment that exists parallel to the familiar physical environment with its own architectural possibilities. " They then ask, "How can we best use the unique opportunities of this new environment? "They state the dramatic change this way: "Leaders across fields, as architects of the models in which they work, must define their vision and intent in reference to the Internet. They must grasp the scope of the online environment and . . . undertake the reinvention of the institutional models through which their vision is to be realized. " We now live in a "real/virtual" world. This too is what our proposed educational mediated discussion marathon, must address. The complete Pomerleau and McGuire article can be read at www. ceoexpress. com/html/member/virtual. htm
The Internet brings to the table a new economics of information. Before the Internet, schools and businesses and governments constantly had to trade off between reach and richness, with affiliation up for grabs (see Blown to Bits: How the New Economics of Information Transforms Strategy). A 30 second TV commercial has great reach but little richness of information and, unless there is brand loyalty, little affiliation (ditto school posters, government posters). The salesman making a call has great richness of information but little reach, reducing the value of affiliation (ditto the classroom teacher and the government inspector). All of the stakeholders want the best in terms of reach, richness, and affiliation, can resolve this issue by holding a joint school mission marathon.
7. Clearing up the ìsix blind men elephant specters": contesting the facts, answering the question, interpreting the "mile markers" for winning a school mission marathon, in order to win the prize of reducing/eliminating future Columbines from the educational scene in America
In the old Jack Webb TV show, Dragnet, the famous question was "Just the facts, just the facts. " Columbine reminds us of the Hindu fable of the six blind men and the elephant, which reminds us of the excitement and terror of living in a world of multiple realities. Each of the blind men examined the elephant "that each by observation might satisfy his mind. " And so each one, investigating a part "knew" that the elephant was like as a whole. Each part yielded a different answer to what the elephant was like: side "like a wall," tusk "like spear," trunk "like a snake," knee "like a tree," ear "like a fan," tail "like a rope. " They brought their observations together and "disputed loud and long," as " each was partly in the right and all were in the wrong. " The fable ends with these chilling lines: "The disputants„rail on in utter ignorance of what each other mean and prate about an Elephant not one of them has seen!"
Hence, in the same way that the six different "truth" produced not more truth but more argument, so today all engaged in education have a part of the truth, a piece of the mosaic that makes up the whole. And is not this the spectre that haunts the 21st century: how to settle the competition between the competing visions and programs for the future without incurring the devastation and misery of the 20th century? The ten models discussed above in Section 3, for conflict resolution, enable, using Peter Berger's terms, allows the modesty of the "postulate of ignorance" about one's own view and a "cognitive respect" for the views of others, in order to exercise a "calculus of meaning" and a "calculus of pain" to reduce the negative unintended consequences and embrace the positive unintended consequences, so as not to be the "fanatic" convinced that he or she "has all the right answers" nor the "technician" who denies "that there are any deeper questions. " He urges "intellectual self-discipline" (pedantry) combine with "utopian imagination" to create "pedantic utopianism" through "research and teaching. " The word heresy comes from the Greek word "herein" which means choice. Education used to be determined by fiat of experts. This would enable, in his term, a positive and fruitful "contestation" between the different interpreters of the elephant, as each exercises his or own "heretical imperative? "Following the same method of rational induction, each came up with a different answer. In their arguing they turned to using reduction, reducing their arguments to what each felt. A proper contestation would instead use induction, so that instead of arguing the whole from a part, each part would be used to gain insights into the whole. The process will take time. It will be a marathon. But Columbine reminds us that not only is the effort worthwhile to undertake, it is necessary.
We have chosen to concentrate on education, as "Public-opinion poll after poll indicates that Americans' No. 1 concern is education" (Newsweek, May 15, 2000).
Herewith is a list of considerations and facts and questions for a collaborative school mission marathon, listing the various parts of this elephant called education, an elephant reflective of the rest of society, parts to be used in this pedantic, utopian, contestation.
1. How should the discussion factor in the fact that even though the rate of violence is down among teenagers and rising among their elders?
2. How do we compare ourselves to the past, when, for example, in 1997 Los Angeles experienced 33 homicides per 100,000 people, whereas in 1855 the number was 414 per 100,000 people?
3. What about the headlines that although "Columbine is forever changed by rampage", no resolution exists, as "despite the tragedy at the high school a year ago this week, then rational debate about violence remains as unresolved as ever. "
4. How do we deal with what students say, as reported by them to state attorney generals that violence is mostly influenced by their homes? The 2000 National Association of Attorneys General report, reported on the anniversary of Columbine, concludes that, "overwhelmingly, students told the Attorneys General during our listening conference that the primary cause o youth violence lies in the home. "
5. How do we deal with the situation that "with the prevalence of single parents, two-career families and 60 hour workweeks, much of the 'raising'" of children is done outside the home?
6. How do we answer the comment by the Kabit-Zinns, in their book Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting, when they say (p. 20) that today's problems "are staggering and all-pervasive, and are creating a society in which it is increasingly difficult for families to raise healthy children. "
7. How do we factor #3 in with the reality that many have thrown in the towel with kids, that, as Molly Ivins reported that Public Agenda, a public policy research group, in a 1997 poll, discovered that "we don' like our own children. " And: "80% of us think it is uncommon to find parents who are good role models for their children. " How does this square with the constant comment of many that either the schools should provide parenting or who accuse the schools of producing behavior in students which was actually produced at home?
8. In the same article, Ivins reports on documents of a meeting of the American Correctional Chaplains Association that "may help us" understand the preceding three paragraphs: "Among the words of wisdom at the gathering were these from Carol Vance of Texas: 'What causes crime is not drugs, alcohol, unemployment or low educational levels. It is caused by persons who grew up in chaotic home situations, abused as children, without any appropriate guidance or direction, deep in pain through the lives they lead, who are trying to escape their circumstances. '"
9. With the tight restrictions clamped down on many schools after Columbine, how do we deal with the cover story of U. S. News and World Report, April 17, 2000: "The Good News About Teens: A year after Columbine, kids are doing a lot better than anyone thought," and the inside article "Teens Get Real" and its sub-heading, "Adolescents get a bad rap today, but many are choosing an unfamiliar route: Doing good"
10. How should reports that schools are not teaching kids how to read and write be factored in?
11. How shall those involved come to realize and act on the truth of one of the central tenants of W. Edwards Deming, which is that the problem is not people but the system in which they have to work. Change the system and you will solve the problems. In this light, Mary Walton's The Deming Management Method 3 . is recommend. This is echoed by the best selling business author Ken Blanchard, who says that "People are not the problem," as "most performance problems are not the fault of people, but of systems. " What does this say about how serious we ought to be at looking at the working of the "system" of education? This is also echoed by Robert Watts, as seen in the title of his book, People Are Never the Problem; People HaveProblems.
12. Would looking at the system, and not the people, create effective change? In Peter's home state of Oregon, a Washington, D. C. based child advocacy group, "The Children's Rights Council, ranked Oregon 40th among states in a survey on the best places to raise a child. In addition, Oregon performed most poorly in the area of juvenile crime, high school dropouts, divorce, prenatal care and child immunization. All of this is reported under the headline of "State's low rank for kids takes few by surprise. "
13. How is the debate between academic achievement standards vs. self-esteem standards to be handled: both/and or either/or, and why?
14. How is the overall educational system to be dealt with when there are so many conflicting "solutions" proposed (ranging from (1) the some who would do nothing to (2) the some who would lock them down with metal detectors, locked doors, armed guards, to (3) the some who want to profile every student regarding risk potential and either counseling them or putting them in special schools, to (4) the some who want to increase self-esteem training, to (5) the some who want to re-evaluate and restructure education, either within the system or outside the system (independent charter schools, vouchers, for-profit education alternatives, etc. ), to (6) the some who would focus on the teachers unions, to either eliminate them or increase their authority and responsibilities, to (7) the some who either do or don't believe in our country (in the 60's there was little faith expressed by the left; in the 90's it was the right; where will either fall in the 2000's? ), to (8) the many who would like to see a dialogue started to find a middle ground on which all can stand, students and adults alike as well as public and private institutions and any and all regardless of where they stand on the various political and cultural ideological spectrums)?
15. How shall Jeff Greenfield's comment and question to the Democratic presidential candidates' debate at the Apollo Theater on February 21, 2000 be factor, in which he asked: ìin light of the different proposals, from revolutionary improvement to gradual improvement to public choice and private alternatives, how do you respond to this question: if, after 35 years and $100 billion in Title I money, with SAT scores gap not narrowing, why not conclude that the opposition to choice is an example of the support of special interests and not the interests of students? How do you defend and account for this incredible potential unfulfilled? "
16. He also asked what should be done about the fact that 800,000 times last year some student took a gun to school, more education or more incarceration.
17. How can business help? What role should business play? There are those who don't see how business can be a part of the discussion. Those still of that mind are urged to read the article by Bernard Avishai, "What Does Business Owe Society? "Avishai demonstrates that all of us are stakeholders. Avishai, a retired CEO, calls for business and corporations to step up to the plate in this game we call education. His article answers his title question, "What Does Business Owe Society? " (4th qt. 1997 issue of Booz Allen's "Strategy & Business"). His article speaks directly to our shared concerns. His piece can be read in fullat http: //www. strategy-business. com/policy/97407/page1. html
18. A favorite line in the article is this, as it addresses most of our concerns succinctly:
Is it possible that what most conventional educators mean by the evaporation of their students' self-discipline is that, given the experience of television, students no longer have the capacity to be bored to death? "(p. 7)
To this one could add movie theatres, movie videos and DVD's, music CD's, MTV and its videos, and scores of TV stations, whether broadcast, cable and/or satellite, from which to choose. One could also look to what Mary Pipher calls "the toxins" of our culture.
The following reflect just a few Avishai's points (emphasis added) which underscore the reality of both/and of numerous options, as opposed to either/or approach. The both/and could be achieved by engaging in a joint school mission marathon. More points by Bernard Avishai:
ç "25% of the current American work force is not sufficiently educated to be qualified for jobs that would pay enough to sustain the middle-class life" p. 4
ç "this means that 10 or 20 or 30 million people -- people with children, people hobbled by dullness and self-doubt, people who played by rules that simply evaporated from the time they were 15 to the time they were 35 -- are hard pressed to see a future. " p. 4
ç "companies contribute to democratic solutions by remaining capable of creating the wealth shareholders and governments appropriate, not by taking on the responsibility of governments. " p. 5
ç China's education program contributed to its economic takeoff, making them a place foreign corporations could build factories and have educated labor waiting for them. Ditto Israel and Singapore. . p. 6
ç Taxes for education should be seen as a "necessary investment pool, not a redistributive levy on profits", that they should not be seen as some anti-business tax, as companies can't teach the basics, seeing public schools as being more like "specialized graduate schools than elementary schools. " p. 6
ç "Governments currently spend upward of a quarter of a trillion dollars nationwide on schools of all kinds. " He calls for more [spending], especially for dealing with those falling through the cracks, the underclass, the abused, etc. , as he calls for everything from wellness facilities to "thousands of Outward Bound-like programs," etc. p. 6
ç Motorola spends $5 million yearly "in cooperative programs with K-12 systems for schools and community colleges". p. 7[Note: Motorola University has programs showing superintendents and principals, FREE, how to apply in TQM to education]
ç Companies should "get into the education business". If a company is a learning organization it is also a teaching organization. " He urges companies to "offer services to children and teen-agers and profit from the enormous education market that is taking shape before our eyes. " p. 7
ç Part of what companies can do: "develop teaching materials -- theoretical articles, multimedia software, instructional films, on-line simulations and so forth -- that reflect their peculiar competitive experiences and advantages. There is no reason why companies cannot market these products to school boards and universities, to new entrepreneurial teaching enterprises and to families. " p. 7
ç About his prescriptions, Avishai says "I wish I could say that I expect other business leaders to adopt these attitudes before things get much worse. But I can tell you that many more will adopt them as things get worse. " p. 8
19. From David G. Myers, The American Paradox: Spiritual Hunger in an Age of Plenty, we find that the words Charles Dickens used to open A Tale of Two Cities apply to us today: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. " In Myers first chapter he lists what is "best" about and what is "worst" about us, and in his last chapter he offers a list of guideposts for interpreting our elephant. How shall we use them?
20. From a different perspective, how do we deal with the reality of the contradiction that we, as Americans, are weddedsimultaneously to materialism and spirituality, resulting in recurring struggles between morality and economics (Robert Fogel, The Fourth Great Awakening & The Future of Egalitarianism).
21. In looking at the debates regarding religion in the school, how dies Peter Berger's notion that Americans are as religious as the people of India, whereas much of education is presided over by an elite as secular as Sweden's?
22. How can the enormous regulatory burden of the Federal Department of Education be reduced, a burden which can account for 6% or more of a school budget just to keep up to date with the paper work?
23. Lisa Graham Keegan, Arizona's superintendent of Public Instruction: "Everyone is complicit in trying to make the education system look good without merit. " "This country is so content not to know the truth about its children, its horrifying. " [Arizona: the self-proclaimed "chicks in charge state," where the Governor, Secretary of State, Treasurer, Attorney General and president of the State Senate are all women]
24. Now that Internet access is almost universal (homes, schools, libraries, community centers), combined with much cheaper computers and electronic "appliances," how do we structure the use of existing facilities such that the so-called "digital divide" is narrowed, not widened?
25. In a world more and more turning to English as the lingua franca, how do we change bilingual education from a defacto permanent end to a program of transition to a common language for all?
26. How do we close "the significant opportunity gap" identified by the May 2000 White House Conference on Teenagers?
27. How do we deal with Ellen Goodman's question of how to deal with post Dr. Seuss books like Honey Bunny, Funnybunny, used in pre-school training, in which the message is that any kind of attention is good, even if it is the torment of teasing (meanness? ) or more serious verbal or physical abuse?
28. How does the "A Vision for Education" cover story of the May-June 2000 The Futurist, which calls for a "radical" change allowing students and teachers more flexibility and control fit into the equation?
29. How does the contents of the book Interpreting Education: Science, Ideology, and Value, by Abraham Edel, fit into the contestation discussion, as he discusses education and education institutions within the context of the education structures put in place as permanent when education operates in a world that is impermanent?
30. How do we deal with the statistics of 1 in 4 High School freshman not completing their high school degrees, and two in three college freshmen? What is the impact of what the December 1999 Ladies Home Journal has called "The Binge Generation," of students going on wild drinking sprees and putting their lives at risk? On the other hand, could we say that these represent that segment of youth who are going to drop out anyway, such as discussed in the book "Riding the Rails: Teenagers on the Move During the Great Depression"? On the other hand, states the author, many were told to leave: "I can't afford to have you around any longer. " Are our current drop outs merely a new version of these boxcar boys and girls and the desperation that drove them away from home?
31. Another contest: school vouchers v. regular public schools vs. charter schools.
32. What about Douglas Carnine's book, Why Education Experts Resist Effective Practices, in which he shows that despite the evidence that "Direct Instruction and similar highly scripted approaches to teaching" are the most effective approaches (what used to be called lectures), they are resisted. The evidence: the federal Project Follow Through, which may be "the most thoroughgoing investigation in the history of educaton research, involving 70,000 students in 180 schools using a variety of teaching techniques. " The other techniques, discovery learning, language experience, developmentally appropiratepractices, and open education, "often performed worse. " Why isn't it promoted? Carnine: because the closed circle of true believers -- educators and educationists -- for whom evidence is less important than faith, believe in it.
33. How do we resolve the contest over how the brain develops, and the debate which, on one hand, give great value to parental impact (The Developing Mind, Daniel J. Siegel), and the opposing view that the parents' role is minimal because the real influence is one's genes (The Nurture Assumption, Judith Rich Harris, and The Myth of the First Three Years, John Bruer?
34. How do we deal with research over 20 years showing that "large schools„don't work for many children, or at least don't allow them to reach their full potential," so that we should build "more small schools, not fewer large ones, and„turn large schools into smaller ones"?
35. How about the standards movement and the accompanying scandals of cheating by students (to get higher grades) and teachers (to get higher achievement marks)?
36. How do we continue to reverse the bashing of the U. S. begun by the politics of the left in the 1960's and continued by the politics of the right in the 1990's, and get kids to feel proud about and determined to contribute to what Georgie Anne Geyer calls "the real legacy of the 20th century," which is the "many freedoms" we have, and that the U. S. has spent the "American Century spreading liberty", so as to bring the schools on board what Peter Berger calls carrying an agenda of "The Culture of Liberty"?
37. How do we deal with the August 30, 1999 Business Week article entitled "Kids were right all along: High school is obsolete," advocating ending it at 10th grade? (p. 146)
38. How do we deal with the figure in the 1st quarter 2000 issue of Strategy & Business, that bring the schools up to speed with E-education, school improvements, more training, and information technology, is a transformation which will cost $740 billion?
39. With some teachers still refusing to learn to use computers and to learn how to surf the Internet, how do we deal with that reluctance and the belief of some teachers that the Internet is a fad (as has been told to the authors of this piece), how do we reconcile their reluctance (the July 1998 Atlantic Monthly article on teaching machines noted that all machines prior to the Internet were blocked by teachers; they have been unable to block the Internet) with these comments from the March 2000 issue of Red Herring: The Business of Technology magazine: "Can the Web Fix Education? ""Some see the Internet and private enterprise as saviors of public education. Others view them as unwelcome intruders. " "The big move toward using the Internet and things like home schooling is happening because people are dissatisfied with our failed public schools. " And: even so, the article quotes Nicholas Lemon, who praises public schools: "Rather than being irrelevant or unnecessary, public schools are more relevant than ever" and "It should be as hard to get a bad public school education as it is to buy spoiled meat in the supermarket. " Finally, we have these two statements: in terms of "higher webucation": "you can't replace the experience of going to college. A university is not defined by technology; it's defined by its students, teachers, and culture"AND "There are a bunch of startups out there taking a Web-based approach, putting content on the Net where everyone can reach it and teachers can manage it. "
40. How do we factor in the cover story, "The Choices for Children" of the March 6, 2000 The Nation magazine, from their three lead stories, "Education and the Election," "Leveling the Playing Field," and "Myths of 'Social Promotion'"?
41. How do we factor in these "contemporary theses" of Dr. Carl E. W. L. Dahlstrom into the school mission marathon advocated as an excellent method for resolving the macro and micro conflicts:
1. The American young are ours (and yet so many adults don't like them and many felt it was OK to kill them at Kent State during the demonstrations against the Vietnam War).
2. Responsibility is multiple (even though many adults say they have no responsibility for the young).
3. Two or more monologues do not make a dialogue (which is why the kind of school mission marathon, following the insights of Section 3 on the Macro and Micro models of conflict resolution), is advocated.
4. The American young will have to understand that education is a privilege. In other words, responsibility is for all.
7. Without a moral consensus, a society will waver more or less disastrously between anarchy and despotism.
42. Who will usher in a school mission marathon? And if the reader participates, which of the six blind men examining the elephant does he or she represent? Can we not, in a school mission marathon, regain our sight, and see not only the parts but the whole, and in doing so, have a "contestation" that is win-win for all of the contestants?
1. Berger, Peter L. , "The Culture of Liberty: An Agenda (1998)," Society, 35th Anniversary Issue, January-February 1998, pp. 407-415.
2. Dahlstrom, Carl E. W. L. , "Contemporary Theses", 1972
3. Newsweek, March 27, 2000, cover story "Visions of Jesus: How Jews, Muslims and Buddhists View Him," and the Martin Marty essay "The Long Road to Reconciliation," p. 61.
4. Walton, Mary, The Deming Management Method, Perigee Books of The Putnam Publishing Group, New York, 1986
5. Frankl, Victor, Man's Search For Meaning: An Introduction to Logotherapy, 1946, Beacon Press, Boston, fourth edition, 1992
6. Muller, Eberhard, ìThe Church and Dialogue After Hitler: The Case of the Evangelical Academies, Wm B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. , Grand Rapids, Mich, 1986, pp. 25-42.
See "The concept of Mediating Action" by Peter L. Berger and "The Church and Dialogue After Hitler: The Case of the Evangelical Academies" by Eberhard Muller, both in Confession, Conflict & Community, 1986. The little book actually has four articles, all dealing with various aspects of "the evangelical academies. "
Berger, Peter, and Bobby Godsell, Editors, A Future South Africa: Visions, Strategies, and Realities, Westview Press, San Francisco, 1988.
© 2000, Peter J. Jessen
Six page edited version to appear in Driven: A Story of Heroes, Dreams & 5-Million Steps, by Terry Hitchcock and Peter Jessen, forthcoming in 2001.