Anzar High

NOTE: All articles on this archived site, all entries, are virtually unedited. They are posted in a rush, as a rule, partly as a function of my sense of deadlines, my particular sense of urgency being quite different from what I observe in other alternative quarters. Nothing should be read unless it is specifically recommended to you. Gracias. Each entry is posted for particular people and purposes at a given time. Not knowing context can prove to be puzzling and/or off-putting.

Anzar High
O bailan todos o no baile nadie
by Bueyhombre

High on my list, as they say.

Seriously, I am coming to help. That is my intention. To assist with the present primary priorities of the high school. [Pause.] I ask, humbly and respectfully, to enter your lives. But I will also be asking for you to consider approaching the challenges we all face following a fresh paradigm too. That would include discussion of unacknowledged collective crises. A request for leisurely — everyone’s so very rushed these days, yes? — talks regarding such matters with ample time for in-depth Q&A. [To be elaborated on upon request.]

I will not be coming to generate money for myself, though I do believe I can create a number of jobs for local youngsters and adults virtually overnight.

I will not be threatening anyone’s position. I am not interested in traditional employment.

And I am quite definitely NOT interested in any kind of public spotlight, this public posting notwithstanding. Quite seriously, my desire — for very good reasons — is to remain in the wings.

[Pause.]

I look forward to being invited to visit the school. To be taken on a singular tour. To meet the students and the professionals who care about them. And I very much want to encounter some of local parents, if possible.

Why? [Pause.] Why?

For so very many reasons. Reasons which I should delineate in person, not at an online distance. But… the italicized Spanish placed just below the “Anzar High” title above will give you some idea of what I’m about. It’s from a socially-conscious quarter in Uruguay… from the 60s.

I’ve been a professor and worldwide educator for about four decades, and I see changes which, apparently, are not registering with those who hold the reins of power in academia these days. For understandable reasons. [Pause.] My select background/credentials/agenda/family info can be accessed from what’s entered under the ‘About Us’ banner above.

Permit me to give you an example of what’s changed, asking for discussion in great detail at a later date.

The percentage of Americans who viewed college as a good financial investment in 2008 was 81%. Got that? It’s what the vast majority of people think is still the going public opinion. BUT… that’s not the case. Not by a longshot. Today, as per the latest figures in Harper’s Magazine Index (October, 2012) it’s 57%. That’s a huge, unprecedented transformation in public attitude in a very short time. What’s going on? Well, I can’t answer that important question in full, BUT… I can tell you that the well-meaning, well-educated souls in academia are NOT acknowledging the fact. More importantly, are not — for the most part — aware of what the basis is for such a downturn.

The professionals at Anzar High School and their counterparts across the country are engaged in preparing students en masse for entry onto the college track; that’s the ideal in most minds. Virtually no adjustments are being made anywhere in the nation. I can tell you that definitively, having checked in within academic circles since 2009 at educational institutions nationwide, spending endless heartbeats on this focus. To judge from classroom instruction and other behavior, you’d think nothing’s different from when you and I went to school. Nothing whatsoever on this score.

Why? For one, as Beckett said, “Habit is the great deadener.” Professional educators, like all of us, have their routines. Cookie cutter quality cuts it sufficiently for too many. And very few people in any realm really want to face up to the negative. On top of that point about human nature, Denial is a National Disease, yes?

This all begs the question of WHAT IS THE ALTERNATIVE?

Well, I think we can all agree that we don’t want the youngsters of Anzar High School to be on a fast track into the local Strawberry Fields under present conditions. And don’t want them to leave the community to work in the tobacco fields of North Carolina under any conditions. Regarding the latter, it brings us to an option that’s routinely offered up to our youth… what’s considered a legit alternative these days for dealing with economic desperation. That is, in three words, The Military Option. The opportunity to carve out a career by traveling way farther away from the community than North Carolina. Going abroad to contribute to our horrid momentum in lieu of staying at home… and starving… or succumbing to criminal options. [Please resist the temptation to prematurely categorize this as an anti-American rant. Gracias.]

These are NOT our children’s only choices! Neither parents nor educators nor youngsters need to put up with the narrow parameters which are imposed on them.

BUT… even if one wants to make the argument that Careers in Service to Our Country represent an admirable devotion of heartbeats at present… I ask the reader to consider the following. The chance that a death among U.S. service members is a suicide today is 1 in 5. Among military-age members of the general population it’s 1 in 20. [Pause.] I have other intriguing (related) figures and stories to share with you, upon request, replete with links to sources of information. Just ask me; it would be an honor… to serve.

BUT… I ask you whether or not it isn’t true that we owe our children — whilst they occupy our schools, depending upon adults to guide them and provide them with essential information — the exposure to such facts. [Pause.] One of the problems here is that educators coast to coast are unaware of the facts. And so, certain alternatives for our youngsters never get to be on the table for their kind consideration. Most educational realms are quite caught up with the routine of preparing for federally imposed exams. And the like. Certainly, the “military economic option” — UNDER PRESENT CONDITIONS — is not a viable/attractive option.

Well, part of the good news that I bring is that — with one hand tied behind my back — I could help the educators in place at Anzar High School to achieve the mandated scores on such examinations. I have a model for prep which is not being considered anywhere these days, nowhere that I know of. AND… I have a fresh paradigm for action in solidarity, including students, parents and educators, which has a shot at clarifying additional options for the youngsters’ futures.

Let me provide some sound bites here, in an effort to conclude ASAP.

From the top of my head, I give you a select list of what I might be able to offer AHS, all else being equal:

1. Donate a world class library of volumes, films, etc. collected over the past forty years in academia and during worldwide travels. I could curate the collection, possibly. It would, arguably, serve as a magnet for tourism for the community too, increasing the number of jobs locally. And revenue for San Juan Bautista.

2. Provide free instruction after hours, or anytime, including ESL for one and all on all levels.

3. Make recommendations for improving the school’s website. Implementation of such too.

4. Offer singular fare in dramatic art, staging unique productions, creating dramas using individuals in the community and their current circumstances as a point of departure for theatrical presentations.

5. Coordinate home stay visits in Europe (or elsewhere), making use of my family’s long standing contacts abroad.

6. Secure visits from celebrities and unsung talent in the Music Industry.

7. Teach classes covering various aspects of environmental issues. Focusing on challenges which immediately impact on the health of the students and their families.

8. Provide assistance in gaining entrance into certain institutions of higher education, keeping in touch with one and all for academic purposes even after admission.

9. Supervise an action in solidarity — involving parents, students, teachers et alia. — which would provide leadership training, deeper connections among those in the community, increase the likelihood of raising funds for educational activities, AND stand a chance at transforming the entire State of California in the process. This has to to, in part, with stirring up new forms of hope. This is would address apathy, resignation, ignorance, cynicism and atomization.

10. Edit a special publication centered on the creative writing of students and/or other arts-centered inspiration.

Yes, I am high on these select fantasies.

But the above is not just about my personal wishes, agenda. Rather, my gesture here — an honor to post — has very much to do with the obligation I feel deeply to others who have come before, to our ancestors who suffered greatly with us in mind, who felt blessed to simply be able to try to make a difference.

Thanks for your kind consideration,
Ricardo
aptosnews@gmail.com
P.S. One of the things I encounter repeatedly in academia and elsewhere is a distinct lack of a sense of urgency about pressing issues. Even when matters of extreme importance are being addressed, one usually finds — just about always — no acknowledgement of deadlines. Please contact me at your very earliest convenience via email, and I will provide my home phone number.