President Obama gave the commencement address at Barnard College yesterday and then taped a show with the ladies on The View, after which his motorcade drove past our building. ( I scared the kids, who were in their rooms, by screaming, “Get out here! The President is going by!!”) I haven’t seen The View segment yet, although of course I’m sure the issue of same sex marriage came up. I read today that people think his endorsement of same sex marriage was “a political move”. Hmm. Because pandering to the homosexual community is a sure election winner? Really? What country have you been living in for the past, oh, 200+ years? I’m thrilled the President endorsed same sex marriage, whatever the reason.
But I digress. During the Barnard commencement address, President Obama encouraged the 600 female graduates to go out and “fight for a seat at the head of the table.” He also said, “It’s up to you to hold the system accountable and sometimes upend it entirely.” Graduates from Barnard, according to collegedebt.org, have an average of just under $15,000 in debt, which is almost $10,000 below the national average, so maybe they will be in a better position to “upend [the system] entirely” than their more debt-ridden peers.
If we’re talking about upending the system, though, who better to do it than unschoolers, or the Uncollege Edu-hackers?
And that’s why I’d like to extend an invitation to the President. This invitation involves no commencement address, since unschoolers & homeschoolers do not officially ‘graduate’, but it does involve sitting down with the only people who are actually taking it upon themselves to upend the system. We’ll invite the unschoolers, the homeschoolers and the opt-out of testing proponents. Call it a “town meeting”, or better yet, a large round table Q&A. Distinguished guests will include Dale Stephens of the above-mentioned UnCollege, as well as Michael Ellsberg, author of “Education of Millionaires” and Blake Boles, author of “Better Than College.” Also invited? Peter Gray, Pat Farenga, Jerry Mintz, Sandra Dodd, Wendy Priesnitz (no matter that she’s Canadian, she’s invited) and Lisa Nielsen. The President is invited first to listen, then to speak, then to discuss. The theme, of course, will be “Upending the System”. We’ll talk about how learning outside of school is a viable option for many and not just for the priveleged. Our group will include single parent households and two-income families. Teenagers will be on hand to tell of their experiences at Not Back to School Camp. Others will tell how they landed an internship before most kids their age ever graduate high school.
And I know you’re busy, Mr. President, but we’ll need at least two hours of your time. Consider it a campaign stop. We’re a small but growing constituency and you can film the whole thing if you like.
See, Mr. President, when you mention “upending the system” to 600 women at Barnard, I know you are talking about women achieving positions as CEO’s or Senators. When I hear “upending the system” I think of what the people around me are doing every day, quietly and without much fuss. No pomp, no circumstance and hardly any debt.
You name the time and the place, we’ll bring the party.