Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Wednesday Link: Remembering The Reason For The Political Season

Last night was weird. We all sat around refreshing websites obsessively to find out how much a candidate would lose by. Some of us were rooting to lose only by six points in the same way that European soccer fans root for their team to get fourth place so they can play "in Europe".

And after hours of refreshing (and learning much about counties in PA), we found out nothing had changed and our long national nightmare, 2008 edition, would continue.

Okay, it's not a "nightmare". It's Democracy in Action and that's beautiful, and we still have history-making candidates. And yes I, too, saw that exit poll breakdown where African-Americans voted for Obama at a 92% clip. African-American men were 96%-4%.

Oh well, we'll keep working on that issues over color/gender thing.

Meanwhile, I want to shift the focus from overly long political campaigns to the reason many of us follow things political to begin with: civil disobedience.

Having lived in Seattle/Olympia during the late 80s/early 90s, I still drop-by the Seattle Times just about every day. I find reading it comes about as close to experiencing a parallel anti-'Burque universe as could be thought possible, especially considering the two cities are supposedly in the same country.

Anyway, I read today that a Seattle teacher was suspended for two weeks because he refused to administer Washington's standardized test, the "WASL". I find the story remarkable for several reasons.

One, the fact that teacher Carl Chew thought of the idea of simply refusing to administer the test before I did.

Two, instead of some whack-job rant about unfair oppressors, Chew simply said:
"When you do an act of civil disobedience, you gracefully accept what happens to you."
Three, instead of writing the typical Albuquerque Journal 137-word story about the incident, Times reporter Linda Shaw is allowed word count to get into Chew's philosophy, has quotes from teacher union representatives, includes comments from those on both sides of the issue and gives context for Chew's actions, stating that it is thought that only one other teacher nationwide has implemented the same very cool idea.

And lastly, fourth, the Seattle Public Schools just suspended the teacher for two weeks, didn't overly demonize the guy and had very professional references in the story about "understanding that there are debates over standardized testing...".

Like I said, a parallel anti-'Burque universe. Meanwhile, does anyone want to give me a hand making these "Carl Chew Fan Club" buttons and bumper stickers?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Scopes trial also had a teacher as the center piece. Teachers Rock!