Have you ever considered how a bureaucratic organization takes on an identity, a persona, when the organization itself is non-human? The energy, thoughts, and structure put into an organization are created by some power engineering. A “thing” becomes a representative and authoritative person and voice, the voice of an informal (or maybe formal) conspiracy of those power engineers.
Do you question that? Good. Think about this: How could there be such adamant opposition by such a large majority of education professionals to something like standardized testing and mass-produced education, yet such is the face and voice of the educational bureaucracy? The educational establishment, bureaucracy, is created by power players who are ego-driven and self-serving — making names for themselves, covering their political asses, making massive profits, or a dozen other reasons.
The rise of a representative grassroots movement that is heart-driven and inclusive enough to galvanize opposition voices to the establishment may be an effective answer. If you can’t deal with one “person,” find someone more reasonable. Speak to those who will listen and do things differently. Grassroots movements have this power to show the effectiveness of solid thought.
In my novel The Fellowship of the Heart, Alaun Cadeyrn from Cornwall, England, chooses to approach a redefinition of education in this way. Listen.
Cheryl: Mr. Cadeyrn, would you mind running that past me once again?
Alaun: No, I won’t run anything past you if you won’t call me Alaun.
Cheryl: Okay, Alaun, but why did you choose Missouri?
Alaun: Cheryl, I know problems abound here in the UK’s education system, but I have met with stubborn resistance that makes me believe that now is not the right time to introduce our curriculum here. I think we need some validity. “A prophet is not without honor save in his own country.”
Cheryl: So how did you choose Missouri and a specific lawyer there?
Alaun: In one of my education journals, Democracy for Education, I believe, I read that current proposed legislation there poses threats to a democratic experience and how if their law is passed, it may lead the way for a new national curriculum, a very prescribed, undemocratic mess.
Cheryl: If Missouri is leading the way, how are your ideas ever going to be considered either by educators or legislators there?
Alaun: Right, well the article I read mentioned that one vestige of democracy that the state of Missouri has left is the autonomy of school districts to choose an alternative curriculum to consider — not adopt, just consider.
Cheryl: But how in the world did they ever hear about yours?
Alaun (smiling): Oh, that. I wrote them, of course. I researched and discovered districts that had vocal administrators speaking out against the new state curriculum.
Cheryl: Of course you would do that! What about this legal counselor, though? How did you choose him?
Alaun: Well, Cheryl, how do you think that might have happened?
Cheryl: Let me guess: You researched…and discovered a lawyer who waged successful campaigns against established regulations.
Alaun: Very good, Cheryl. And that would be Eric Lafarnge, the best lawyer at a firm by the name of Actov and Colboard. Married to Anne Lafarnge, a structural engineer of some notoriety because she has been named as a senior associate at Paragon Structural Engineers, the first woman so named.
Cheryl: A power couple, for sure. But what about…
Alaun: Their hearts? Yes, that remains to be seen, but my heart is telling me to pursue this.
Cheryl: Isn’t this a long shot? To effect change in an institution like education…wouldn’t you need to work at a high level where policy is made?
Alaun: That would be one approach, but one that would fail. Have you ever thought about bureaucratic structures, how they take on their own persona and yet they are nothing but frameworks within which human beings work?
Cheryl: Don’t know if I quite understand.
Alaun: In my mind, I liken it to artificial intelligence — an inhuman construction that takes on human characteristics and qualities, one that starts exhibiting those qualities seemingly independent of any additional human input. But not quite that advanced in the bureaucracy of education.
Cheryl: Good analogy. So, what does that imply about your approach to the education system of Missouri?
Alaun: You see, if the persona of the bureaucracy is hostile towards students designing their own curriculum and redefining education — well, then, just deal with someone else rather than that persona of the institution. I think the only effective way to circumvent such a structure is to create a grassroots movement with our own goals and good hearts and avoid that system. If some school districts, citizens, and students of Missouri find joy in our redefinition of education, then the bureaucratic construct will crumble as the good spreads.
Cheryl: That’s a big if, Alaun.
Alaun: It is not only a big if, Cheryl, but also hugely idealistic. However, I think idealism is the very least we should do in reference to our youth and our future hope for enlightenment of souls.
Cheryl: Thanks for running that past me, Alaun!
Questions to consider:
How many times have you asked yourself or simply thought about the following questions?
Who am I, really?
What is my truth?
How do my actions reveal what I really feel and believe?
What would I do with my life if I could do anything?
What is my passion?
Why am I here?
How can I discover answers to any of these questions?
If you have considered any of these questions, I hope that my experiences and writing will give you some guidance. Please read my blog and comment and share your thoughts. I would love to hear from you!