the inequity of legos

A study was conducted, and Legos were subsequently banned.

When the children discovered the decimated Legotown, they reacted with shock and grief. Children moaned and fell to their knees to inspect the damage; many were near tears. The builders were devastated, and the other children were deeply sympathetic. We gathered as a full group to talk about what had happened; at one point in the conversation, Kendra suggested a big cleanup of the loose Legos on the floor. The Legotown builders were fierce in their opposition. They explained that particular children “owned” those pieces and it would be unfair to put them back in the bins where other children might use them. As we talked, the issues of ownership and power that had been hidden became explicit to the whole group.

We met as a teaching staff later that day. We saw the decimation of Lego-town as an opportunity to launch a critical evaluation of Legotown and the inequities of private ownership and hierarchical authority on which it was founded. Our intention was to promote a contrasting set of values: collectivity, collaboration, resource-sharing, and full democratic participation. We knew that the examination would have the most impact if it was based in engaged exploration and reflection rather than in lots of talking. We didn’t want simply to step in as teachers with a new set of rules about how the children could use Legos, exchanging one set of authoritarian rules with another. Ann suggested removing the Legos from the classroom. This bold decision would demonstrate our discomfort with the issues we saw at play in Legotown. And it posed a challenge to the children: How might we create a “community of fairness” about Legos?

These educators seem more focused on enforcing fairness (in an unfair world) than encouraging creativity, a depressing cliche within academia.

as seen on “the wire”

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Catching up on Season Four of “The Wire,” I’m struck by the similarities between Obama, Clinton, Carcetti and Royce. Obama is Tommy Carcetti, the young white councilman big on inspiration but short on resume. In Baltimore, he’s in the minority.

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Clinton is Clarence V. Royce, the incumbent hack with dubious ethics. I doubt I’m the first to notice this, as I’m a year behind on “The Wire, but the comparison is most apt.