Reprinted by permission from letter circulated by Melissa Perot, Amherst.
I do not have children or grandchildren in the Amherst school system and so could easily say this is not my issue. However I would be guilty of lying. Like the climate, how children are educated and to what end, affects us all, now and in the future. It creates our expectations, dashes our hopes, and above all challenges us to fundamental change.
I will not vote for the proposed innovative school building because my priority in education is to teach through example the short term difficulty and long term benefits of building not just your self but community; how to deal with conflict resulting from differing priorities or socio-economic circumstances, how to adapt to financial and energy (material and human) restraints and whether to risk creative ideas in unpredictable times.
To me education is like a compost heap that recycles old information to create new soil and the potential for growth and adaptation. It is a messy, complicated process that requires the integration of multiple factors to ‘work’. Attention and adaptation are key in the presence of uncontrollable circumstances. Composting can be achieved in an expensive, purpose built, attractive green plastic, smoothly rotating container, often with ‘additives’ or in an open semi-confined space exposed to various natural influences, including potentially harmful ones that could, through a form of alchemy, create something no-one had yet thought of, moving mankind a step forward … or backward in the dance of life. Either works, but for me Buildings are Bling without U and S holding up either end and with D (for $) closely guarded in the middle.