Sunday, March 23, 2014

Jennifer Finney Boylan, "A Common Core for All of Us"

In the March 23rd New York Times is an excellent opinion piece by Jennifer Finney Boylan, a professor at Colby College and author of She's Not There: A Life in Two Genders.

I recommend reading the entire article, but here are some key excerpts:
Jennifer Finney BoylanWhat we’re arguing about is what we want from our children’s education, and what, in fact, “getting an education” actually means.
For some parents, the primary desire is for our sons and daughters to wind up, more or less, like ourselves. Education, in this model, means handing down shared values of the community to the next generation. Sometimes it can also mean shielding children from aspects of the culture we do not approve of, or fear.
For others, education means enlightening our children’s minds with the uncensored scientific and artistic truth of the world. If that means making our own sons and daughters strangers to us, then so be it.
My friend Richard Russo...noted that “it is the vain hope of middle-class parents that their children will go off to college and later be returned to them economically viable but otherwise unchanged.”
But, he said, sending “kids off to college is a lot like putting them in the witness protection program. If the person who comes out is easily recognizable as the same person who went in, something has gone terribly, dangerously wrong....”
It occurs to me that what enemies of a Common Core...have come to fear is really loneliness. It’s the sadness that comes when we realize that our children have thoughts that we did not give them; needs and desires we do not understand; wisdom and insight that might surpass our own
Maybe what we need is a common core for families, in which mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, all read the same book, and sit down at the table to talk about it. Having a language in common doesn’t mean we have to agree with one another. It simply means that we — as a family, a college or a country — can engage in a meaningful conversation about the life of the mind.
And so it is.

Blessèd Be,

Jennifer Finney Boylan became a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times in 2013, and has written for the Times opinion pages since 2007 about education, parenthood, gender and more.
She is the author of 13 books, including Stuck in the Middle With You: Parenthood in Three Genders. A professor of English at Colby College, she is the national co-chairwoman of Glaad and serves on the board of trustees of the Kinsey Institute for Research on Sex, Gender and Reproduction.

1 comment:

John Stewart said...

As a non-NYT subscriber, I went looking for your new Common Core column.
My response to what I just read is that "heroes" are supposed to leave the nest, have an adventure that teaches them about who they are, and then return to their community -- or to a community -- where their self-knowledge and hard-won humility enables them to nurture others, including their own kids.
Parents will hope they have equipped their children to survive this adventure to maturity.