This very last image is work by First Graders. The rest is of mixed age students.
The Pringle cans are a stroke of genius and absolutely LOVE the DO NOT TOUCH sign.
They mean it!
Isn’t that Egyptian Cat just the BEST?!
Historian Lawrence Goodwyn taught and wrote for decades on the promise of Democracy. Will the children of 2017 ever hear of a social arrangement called democracy?
Are they learning in a school system that subscribes to democratic values? Of course not! Entire districts across the USA are robbing young ones of their life potential, just as the 1903 child laborers pictured above were stripped of theirs.
This seems to be okay with us because the only protests we hear are from affluent parents in NY state or Montclair NJ or Douglas County, CO where the Robber Barons, in their greed, have mistakenly marched into neighborhoods that are not fully socialized into the complex power politics of deference, submission or passivity.
Mother Jones used to say that “God made women and Rockefeller made the ladies.”
Mary Jones was no lady and she was smart enough to recognize in the faces of mill and mine children the absence of progress. For them, the present was not better than the past and the future bore no signs of betterment.
So Mrs. Jones marched onto the public stage with kids in tow, an impoverished spectacle, banners aloft, trekking from PA to NY in the hopes of gaining Teddy Roosevelt’s attention and the Guilded Age’s cooperation. Do we stand with her today?
Shall we walk a mile in her shoes? Or hand our public schools over to Amway?
Yes. These are all school chairs. Or they should be.
Have a look.
No institutional, plastic, mass-produced, poorly-welded rubbish.
Japanese Company Hiromatsu Children’s Furniture
Fiber Art Chair
Yoruba People Beaded Chair Africa
The simple act of acquiring non-traditional school chairs can serve as a first step in de-institutionalized thinking about schools.
As long as it is acceptable for chairs to be insignificant, garish and poorly constructed, then everyone’s imagination and appreciation is diminished.
One way out of our current catastrophe is to consider beautifully, lovingly constructed chairs. The adults change and the children change and it is all for the better inside an enhanced Circle of Children.
But for too many adults working in today’s USA classrooms, be they public or charter, these chairs would get you fired. Good luck finding an employee who attached significance to a chair, its artistry, composition or appeal to children.
But if you did locate such a humane individual, you would probably find them subject to the equivalent of a modern day witch hunt. Imagination and Initiative are lethal. Anything that lives outside the realm of metrics and data massaging must be extinguished. The cult of counters know how to look after their own and chair enthusiasts don’t belong.
It begins and ends with what Giroux calls “normalized ignorance”. The fog of crude, callow and empty gobbles up all available space. Chairs are ugly on purpose. No one cares about them and that’s exactly the point. In such schools, uncouth regimes remain as authoritarian sciolists. There is money to be made and beautiful chairs obstruct the cash flow.
A Bunny Chair will get you booted. You can bet on it.
And then there is the problem of going off message. Curriculum becomes a series of commercials on how to care for and preserve artful chairs.
Next, the Yoruba people arrive bringing with them a vibrant history of beading, braiding, tattooing, clay and ceramic molding, bronze casting, weaving, dyeing and sculpting.
When would there be time for War Room confabs, choking on bulging, black binders bursting with benchmark analytics?
Syracuse Cultural Workers
From The Blue Fairy Book.
Gorgeous, Intense Colors For Readers Young & Old
Frank Godwin was an illustrator, commercial artist and comic strip artist who worked from around 1915 through 1959.
Between 1920 and 1931, he illustrated a number of books for publisher including King Arthur and His Knights, Tales of Shakespeare, Treasure Island, Kidnapped, Robin Hood, The Blue Fairy Book, and The Book of Courage.