Greetings zombie fans! Sorry for taking so long to finish this blog post. For the past couple months, I have been called back to the zombie factory (a.k.a. school) where I receive an average of three to four hours of homework every day that has been squeezing the creativity out of me. This includes mostly busy work such as worksheets and other work practically out of the textbook. My math teacher assigns the most mindless busy work. I think he was trained in the Arne Duncan School of Bureaucratic Education. Unfortunately, I haven’t received any stimulating work such as document based assignments like in Rob Gaudette’s, which was mentioned in my first blog. Homework based on worksheets is what’s killing my generation. I am afraid that there will never be another Steve Jobs as long as teachers keep assigning us mindless crap.
Although most students never get current events in class, several national events worth knowing about are happening since my last blog entry. One of the major events is the “Occupy Wall Street” movement where the “99%” of Americans are rising up against the extremely wealthy “1%”. Over the last almost 30 years, the incomes of the top 1% of Americans grew by an average of 275% or $700,000. During the same time period, for the bottom 90%, income has actually decreased by $900. Let’s see, if we continue that trend, my generation will probably move to Canada-but they will likely build a wall to keep us out. Last month, my dad and I went to Los Angeles to visit the occupiers and we were impressed with their numbers and perseverance.
Over the summer on Kelly Gallagher’s advice, I finished the classic novel, 1984 by George Orwell which talks about a futuristic dystopian world. Within the novel, Orwell uses a term called “doublespeak” meaning to have several meanings which can be used to manipulate others. According to Wikipedia, “Doublespeak is language that deliberately disguises, distorts, or reverses the meaning of words. Doublespeak may take the form of euphemisms (e.g., ‘downsizing’ for layoffs), making the truth less unpleasant, without denying its nature.” Unfortunately, Doublespeak is alive and well today. For example, I just heard the Congress, in an attempt to block Obama’s healthy school lunch initiative, has declared in a bill that pizza is a vegetable. Come on! I think they are doing that because junk food companies are probably making a ton of money from the schools. Next thing you know, they’ll be saying pepper spray is a vegetable. But what do I know? I am just a kid-and a zombie at that. Another example that really gets me angry is use of the term “Department of Defense.” Don’t we mean Department of War? War — you know, when we go into another country like Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. and kill a lot of civilians, children, and elderly people, all to protect our “democratic way of life.”
So now that we’re caught up with my life, I want to finish my series on great teachers. Last June, I interviewed Kelly Gallagher, an award winning teacher from Magnolia High School in Anaheim, California. Kelly is the author of several books including Readicide, which is about how schools are killing the love of reading because of all the testing. When I last left off, Kelly was telling me about the value of literature and writing and how I can learn about the world and myself through some of the greatest works of literature. “Great books have two purposes; they can be windows and they can be mirrors. Windows allow us to go anywhere and meet anybody in the world from Jesus to Adolf Hitler while mirrors let us look into ourselves to find out where we stand in the human chain.” It allows us to see how human we are. Zombies can’t do that.