Power of Story Worthy to Lead Education

22 10 2006

Now here’s a public figure I might actually follow . . .

Asked about his leadership, Mr. Bollinger said, “It’s really wrong to assume that there is an inconsistency between seeing complexity and taking a strong position.”

. . .“In a society committed to free speech . . . we are called on to maintain our courage to confront bad words with better words. That is the hallmark of a university and of our democratic society.

In the class that he teaches for undergraduates, “Freedom of Speech and Press,” Mr. Bollinger praised thoughtfulness.

When a student, asked whether a pornography ban would withstand legal scrutiny, responded, “It’s complicated,” the professor smiled.

“It is complicated,” he said. “It’s taken me two months to get you to say that.”

Home education is becoming a recognized institution. We’ve long debated how best to protect and preserve home education’s freedoms, its public image, its representation and leadership, who can speak for home education and with what words. Some of us are presently discussing how home education’s leadership can transition from veterans to the next generation, but we haven’t agreed on what home education leadership IS yet.

It’s complicated! So Bollinger says to start with the foundation, honor fundamental principles.

“You can’t represent an institution without being consistent with its fundamental character,” he said. “If you try to oversimplify, ultimately it will catch up with you.”

I wrote the following about honoring home education’s fundamental character nearly three years ago:

Another way of describing true freedom would be if no homeschooling family anywhere had to resist meddling do-gooders coming in uninvited to “help” them, whether down the block, in the local CPS office, the Statehouse, or especially across the Continent.

One thing we could do immediately, without any legal change anywhere,would be to refrain from meddling with each other!


. . .”It’s bad enough that Florida and Georgia and Washington and West Virginia and California homeschoolers must struggle to work these things out between their own groups, without having someone else’s political ‘shoulds’ imposed on them from nationally funded groups run by out-of-state lawyers!

How much honor and respect for local and self-determination can a national crusade really maintain, no matter how good its intentions? The only real hope I’ve seen is the NHEN model, not the HSLDA or NHELD or WSfH models.

More about the integrated Power of Story I see in home education leadership:
“There is nothing compulsory or controlling about affiliated independence. NHEN defends self-determination without undermining self-determination to do it. It is home education for grown-ups, organized connections without loss of control, a free public resource not subject to use restrictions or taxes or fees. Its influence is all the greater for never telling its members or clients or public what to say (or not), what to do (or not), what to believe (or not).”

With that understanding of the fundamental character of home education, what kinds of leadership fit? Surely not making it political and legalistic like public school, sending checks and phoning it in, for organized associations and unionized groups with petitions and platforms and legislative lobbyists playing politics as usual, to define and regulate and reduce to the lowest common denominator?

Would the best-integrated and most powerful leadership for home education look and feel much more like viral collective wisdom expressed by autonomous individuals, and less like cliques, gangs, law firms, Congress, the Vatican, media marketing, house organ pandering for profit, union protectionism or the sausage-making of paid political campaigns and federalized public schooling?

Wouldn’t it look an awful lot like all of us just being us, as confident, sovereign individual Thinking Parents, a whole creative class of families freely learning and thinking as we wish, choosing whatever connections with each other we wish and communicating about it all as we wish, to help people hear and understand and perhaps begin to crave the healthy, happy fundamental freedoms we enjoy?

“In education politics of any kind (home education or not), we always come down to: what DO we teach our children, so they can best preserve and protect their own freedoms?

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6 responses

22 10 2006
misedjj
23 10 2006
misedjj

Seems like the fundamental mission of universities is complicated too, and could greatly benefit from Bollinger’s approach to academic analysis. Then maybe finding the best-fitting kinds of leaders for its “character” wouldn’t be such unsatisfying public spectacle for higher education. . . and if the institutions can’t or won’t manage this for themselves, I think we’re gonna have to do it for them, and that means we’ll need some finely honed thinking and communicating skills to match our goals, principles and values.

25 10 2006
Six Degrees of Good, Good Vibrations « Cocking A Snook!

[…] Resonance comes from the Latin word resonare, to resound. Effective leaders are attuned to other people’s feelings and move them in a positive emotional direction. They speak authentically about their own values, direction and priorities and resonate with the emotions of surrounding people. Under the guidance of an effective leader, people feel a mutual comfort level. […]

4 01 2008
JJ to Unity-N-Diversity on Where Home Education is Heading « Cocking A Snook!

[…] justify their own supposedly individual advocacy “to protect homeschooling” — see Power of Story Worthy to Lead Education”: Home education is becoming a recognized institution. We’ve long debated how best to protect and […]

15 02 2009
“Dwarfing Pluto and Shrinking Ourselves” Redux « Cocking A Snook!

[…] “In education politics of any kind (home education or not), we always come down to: what DO we teach our children, so they can best preserve and protect their own freedoms?“ […]

1 10 2009
Education Freedom and Religious Freedom In Conflict? « Cocking A Snook!

[…] Freedom and Religious Freedom In Conflict? 1 10 2009 Power of story worthy to lead education: It’s really wrong to assume that there is an inconsistency between seeing complexity and taking […]

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