1 comment at a panel

When I put myself up as a school board candidate – candidate for Berkeley (Ca.) School Board Director – I along with the others am asked to participate in – oh – maybe 6 or so local forums to answer in 2 or 3 minutes each – gone to one minute, sometimes – questions considered to be meaningful, useful, about why I’m a candidate, and how me being voted into the office would benefit the school district. It’s taken me a couple of times of running to rearrange my appearance so that I do what’s necessary, take up the points important to be made, discuss them for those few minutes, and acknowledge the irrelevance of the questions …relative to fixing the problem school is. The questions want to address the problems school has, problems unable to be corrected by school.
Schooling is all about rehabilitation; it is not about education (again, consider the root of the word – ). Even 71 years ago when I was in 3rd grade, it was about fixing us – to fit into the world – the U.S. – system, in the abusive way necessary to do that, to mistreat us the way our parents were abusively fit into their required niches by whatever schooling they could extract, recent immigrants that so many of them were. The niches – their job, their ‘homemaking’, their subjectivity to producing children through unwanted pregnancies, their job outside the home – especially for the poorer household where almost all adult occupants had to take an outside job…
– Most people, even as today, could not get a fancy degree. A parent’s parent, living in the home, took care of any children. You might ask at home, – who remembers when completing eighth grade was considered a significant achievement; or some or all of high school, or especially even a year of college…
These are comments that’ve happened to me that I wrote while I waited my turn to speak – to answer… and then, to not answer a question.
The elitism – school places the children outside the productive realm, makes a little coddled, super ‘cared for’ group – of children who were largely being abused in the school, if not by the teachers, or by the grading, or by the misery of having to sit and take being taught at – especially in spring, or when it’d begin to snow; being abused by a bully, by not running really fast, by not catching a ball well, by not ‘getting’ social studies, or arithmetic; by missing mother or father or grandma – or a sister or brother or close friend – remember you or another child addressing the teacher as momma by mistake? – and having those sensations, those longings disregarded. You had to suppress the yearnings; they didn’t count. So you couldn’t even say them.
As babies we feel those ways. We never get over those unsatisfied yearnings. Those drive us toward a lover so hard, so desperately. Our lover becomes all those, as well as a sex partner. They become that friend we got and lost over and over, that unsatisfied relationship with a mom or dad or sister. You can see how different is a lover relationship when children live together unisex, mixed ages, and closely with their parents, working alongside them, or roaming around the home together. The lover relationship is likely to be much more reasonable, much clearer. Not unusually, a child is treated the way I discovered I was, as a princess, a little privileged person, not having to have responsibilities except to be the child, do children’s things – go to school, and to after school things, play while adults worked. In my childhood a child having a job – delivering newspapers – was an anomaly – to get accustomed to – oh, here’s a 9year old with a job…. I didn’t get that it was because you could get money that way. I didn’t recognize the limitation not having money was for me. It was, though.
Talking about myself is effectively talking about a class of people; I was like many others, whether I thought about that or not. And probably, everybody else… all the other children… or most of them … saw themselves as exceptional, too. Usually when I make a contribution at a meeting, others say yeah, me too. That’s what started me doing this all – participating, making myself part of THE struggle – because I’m like so many others – they’re like me – people, we’re like each other more than not. I noticed that when I watched a squirrel in my yard. I thought, I can’t tell what kind of squirrel it is, or male or female, or its age, its relationship with other squirrels, if any. I have some idea of the details of its maintenance processes through ‘science’. I only thought, oh there goes a squirrel. And it’s got to have had the same generic thought of me – oh, there goes one of them. And a different categorization about my dog – oh, there goes one of them. …making people just people, a handy way to work for justice. This is 1… 1 of the comments I wrote waiting to answer a question on a panel

normaha@pacbell.net

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