Yesterday I met an impressive young lady from Walden High School. We had a conversation about Walden, my blog, my interactions with Walden students, political activism, etc... Our conversation was a bit disjointed because I was simultaneously trying to help other customers. But I realize that I need to clarify my thoughts on all things Walden, so here goes.
Walden students who read this should know that generalizations about Walden students are just that, generalizations, and therefore may or may not apply to a particular individual. Additionally, my opinions about Walden students have been influenced primarily by those most active in environmental politics. As such, I realize that my opinions have been influenced by a skewed sampling. Indeed, perhaps it is only a handful of Walden students who have influenced my views.
Moving on, I recognize that Walden students have the highest test scores among Racine's public schools. Given the dismal state of RUSD, this should be, and is, accomplished year after year.
Frequent readers of this blog have probably picked up on a general attitude towards elites. Generally I am not impressed. I find young elites to be among the most insufferable people on earth. By elites I mean people who behave as though they are so smart or accomplished and that because of their superiority they ought to have control over society's riff raff. I don't think that the most accomplished adult in the world should hold such an attitude, so naturally, children or young adults, with even fewer accomplishments, ought not to think they are bright enough to rule over others. Sadly, it seems Walden is something of a breeding ground for this type of elitism.
The only reason Walden students have come to my attention is because they have entered into the political fray. And they have entered it in such a way that I am concerned about the education that they are receiving. Invariably, young activists will claim that their activism has in no way been influenced by adults. I find this claim highly implausible. Inevitably, when weighing in on issues that divide us politically, our local youth activists always advocate for the leftist causes. If there was no influence by adults, the activism would more likely reflect the actual divide in our country, ie a more even split along liberal/conservative lines. My conclusion is that these students are unwitting victims of indoctrination. I don't blame them for this sad state of affairs, I blame the adults who are indoctrinating them.
So my mission is to help these students. I do so by challenging them concerning their activism. I understand that this does not always sit well with students, and that my approach or style might be a bit too combative at times. I have no interest in coddling students, nor do I want to provide an unwarrated boost to their self esteem. I will leave that to others. Rather, I think I can provide a service by challenging some of their beliefs. This is what good teachers should do.
The young lady I spoke to yesterday mentioned that the Walden student activists considered inviting me to one of their meetings. I would most definitely accept such an invitation if offered. I don't consider Walden students enemies in any way, shape, or form. I would thoroughly enjoy an opportunity to discuss differences of opinion on environmentalism, global warming, education, activism etc... with Walden students.