Those of you who have read this space for a while know that Lawrence Lessig is one of my heroes. I know…it’s somewhat of a geeky choice. But he’s without question been one of my greatest teachers in the last six years. I’ve seen him speak on about half a dozen occasions, and each time I am just inspired by his passion and dedication to challenging the traditional thinking about intellectual property and copyright. In many ways, I’ve tried to emulate him in my own presentations, albeit badly.
The news is that Lessig is moving on to different challenges, leaving the focus of the last 10 years to take on political corruption for the next 10. In his recent blog post about the subject, he talks about how he has come to believe that while we will eventually come to our senses about IP and copyright issues, real lasting change is incumbent on changing the system that makes the laws first. “Our government can’t understand basic facts when strong interests have an interest in its misunderstanding,” he writes, noting that this is at the heart of the corruption of the process. And later, “I’m convinced we will not solve the IP related issues until these “corruption” related issues are resolved.”
As I read the post, I heard all sorts of echoes to the school reform conversation we’ve been having in this network, much of which I’ve articulated here already from time to time. It’s no secret that I have not been optimistic of late that systemic changes can be made to this thing we call public school education through grassroots understanding of why change needs to occur, a position that in itself has not been made exceptionally clear to date. And that while I still really believe that helping to start conversations around these ideas and these changes can have a positive effect (in terms of in some way helping to generate some thinking and discussion around where we need to go,) I’ve been feeling myself moving away from the school reform conversation of late. I’m not so much interested in figuring out what School 2.0 means or is right now as I am just looking at my own kids and asking what are the skills and literacies that they are going to need when they their life’s work and what’s the best way to help them acquire them. I know this: it’s not their school in it’s current state (again, nothing new if you’ve been reading for a while.)
And so, as I write this (and post it) while barreling down I-95 somewhere in North Carolina, about three hours behind schedule, I’m heading to NECC with some real questions on my brain. My hope is to do a lot of listening and thinking, and less talking. I’ve gotta figure some stuff out…
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