A long, crevice-filled road

Reading in the morning paper about what’s happening to the schools and community colleges in California made me feel a little sick:  high school libraries closed because the librarians’ positions have been cut, kindergarten classes with 40 or more five-year-olds; and my beloved City College closing its doors to all but students committed to a vocational program or to transferring to a four-year college.

I know literally dozens of people who’ve taken classes at City College over the years simply to enrich their lives, me included.  We’ve studied music, literature, art, history, learned computer skills, brushed up on a language.  How sad that won’t be there for subsequent generations.  How sad the children of today won’t be offered the high quality of public education that so many received before them.

And in other news, as they say on TV, as a follow-up to my earlier post about the Marikana miners in South Africa, the confrontation between the striking miners and the various forces arrayed against them seems to be coming to a head, with many thousands of angry miners defying a back-to-work order and marching with their families and supporters on the Lonmin platinum mine. Workers at other mines in the country are striking as well, there are calls for a national strike, and the miners’ struggle has now become a political hot potato for the government of President Jacob Zuma.  For the latest, see Al Jazeera News. And here’s another link to an excellent background article by Mike Hana. Friends in South Africa are in my thoughts in this unstable time, as are the miners fighting for economic justice.

Justice is the long, crevice-filled road
I’ve been stranded on all this time,
trying to reach a destination that climbs
uneasy over the horizon.
-from “Then Comes a Day,” by Luis J. Rodriguez

I take the news personally, near or far.

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5 Responses to A long, crevice-filled road

  1. Dawn says:

    I feel your pain – last Sunday along with another family for dinner, we became engaged in an indepth conversation about the decline CA is experiencing in its education system.

    On the note regarding daily news,, what tugged at my heart today was the teacher’s strike in Chicago. I will not elaborate; my sister is a teacher, of course I have freinds who are teachers. I wish our country valued teachers as they do in parts of Europe. Teachers in parts of Europe are held in high regard as their Physicians. Our philosophy and appreciation for teachers has been desensitized and tarnished by the “bad teachers” that are called out now and again.

    Look, here’s my MY perception. I view teaching as a service profession; it is a commitment, something these individuals agree to do – placing the needs of the children ahead of their own. At least, I view it that way. I view my own profession this way – I am serving my clients…
    So it doesn’t sit right with me when I see these outraged teachers pause at their picket line to share their position with such apparent anger. And think of all those parents who are missing work. Its wrong. I think its just wrong. These teachers should have remained locked within four walls the last day of summer until,, like grown adults,, they came to an agreement.
    But making the children and their families sacrifice – its wrong.

    • sswl says:

      Dawn, I’m not up-to-date on the Chicago teachers’ strike, but I can’t agree with you that they shouldn’t be striking because it’s a “service profession.” I’m a retired nurse, and we used to get the same reaction, but, believe me, nobody wanted to go on strike, it was a choice of last resort. The strikes I was involved in were always about improving patient care, as well as working conditions for nurses. Often the two overlapped, as they do for children when teachers demand smaller class sizes or more help in the classroom.

      For a parent’s view of public schools in Chicago, you might take a look at this link, and for a critical article about the Emanuel/Obama school reform agenda, at this.

      Don’t want to get in a prolonged discussion about this, just to respond to your comment. We can agree to disagree. :)

      • Dawn says:

        Agreeing to disagree is how we learn. Funny, I shared my sentiments with my husband last evening at dinner. His reaction was in complete alignment with yours. And so I had to think about it from his perspective and remarks. He used the nursing strike as well (here in Mpls a few years ago) . He knew I could relate better to this as I had worked in the medical field, laboratory for many years and have complete awareness of how understaffed and over-worked nurses can be – not even touching on the subject of how they know more than the dr’s quite often – but, I’m off topic. My point is that I get your point – lol! And I appreciate you taking the time to share links. I think I allowed the tv images of these seemingly lost gradeschool children to distory my discerning abilities. Still makes me angry that it has to affect their welfare.
        Thanks for the exchange!!!
        Heck, if I hang around here I may even undergo a pursuasion for political change – lol!!!!

      • sswl says:

        Thanks for such an open-minded response, Dawn. Hope I can do as well when it’s my turn.

  2. Mary LA says:

    Thanks for your thoughts on South Africa, Susan — such a need for reform and meaningful change. Mike Hanna is right too when he speaks about the lack of service delivery — that affects the provision of clean water and electricity to many communities including informal settlements. Then there is the government’s attempts to be both regulator and profiteering player in the mining industry in South Africa — and South African involvement in mining ventures (blood diamonds etc) elsewhere in Africa. And neoglobalism here and in neighbouring states, none of it easy or simple to understand.

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