poetry for a change

read this contribution to the latest Penn GSE Perspectives on Urban Education:

No Cow Left Behind
by Alexandra Miletta and Katherine Morris

the question remains: "Will the politicians listen?"


summer wind

the new york heat is something out of fiction - who can believe it can be this hot? and it's not so much the weather as it is the millions of people who are moving at lightning speeds through it... and some who are moving not fast enough!

however, last week i was momentarily unaware of the searing heat as i sat in a subway car, which, thankfully had working a/c. but what captured my attention was a scene in which three teenage girls were laughing and enjoying themselves as they engaged in play around imagining futures with the help of a digital camera. one of the girls stood up and said, "what if i was a scientist?" and made a gesture like she was closely examining a test tube and adjusting her imaginary goggles. as she temporarily held this pose, she turned to her friend with the camera and asked excitedly, "did you take it?" her friend nodded and the three of them spent the next minute looking at the picture, zooming in on it, and talking about what it might mean to make the image into reality: what courses one would have to take? what kind of place a scientist would work? is this something either of them could or wants to do? who do they know who "does science?"

i wonder what we futures we imagine for youth... what futures do they imagine for themselves? and what are the tools, experiences, resources, supports... necessary to not only help them achieve these futures, but to keep imagination alive...?

on a related note, i learned the word "sankofa" today which is an Akan word that means "We must go back and reclaim our past so we can move forward; so we understand why and how we came to be who we are today." what does the past of youth and education tell us that we may do differently and move forward toward change?

the young men and women who participated in the dvd documentary Echoes of Brown are engaged in that work through spoken word, performance and poetry. in a review of this piece i quoted one of the elders who is featured who wonders:

"I was thinking about how expensive it is for one group of people - White or Black, rich or poor - to hold another group of people back. Because you can't dance if you got one foot on someone else's neck. The only way you can dance is with both feet and … I hope this society dances."

the teenage girl's imagined future of being a scientist can come to fruition only if past informs present, left (hand) works with right (hand)...


seeing through child-full and youth-full eyes

a couple sites i found when looking for recent projects that use the photographs produced by children and youth as sources of knowledge and information:

through the eyes of children: the rwanda project

images from the fatherhood project