Monday, December 20, 2010
Come on up for the rising
There is an old spiritual my mother loved to sing
“Were You There” Oh how my mother loved those old Negro spirituals. The ones they never sang in our all white church. She would picked them up off the radio, and sing them over and over. They gave her strength, moved her spirit, but most of all they left her with purpose and hope.
This is less about the an old spiritual, and more about finding a sense of purpose and hope for the spirit of public education in America.
A sample verse:
“Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?
Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, and tremble.
Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?”
My mother understood what it meant to tremble, she understood struggle, she knew that if she were really there her heart would be broken, darkness would have filled her soul at that moment, but above all else she knew she would have been outside that tomb on her knees praying with Mary and those other women…remaining silent, staying home, feeling hopeless were not options in her vocabulary. Silence and apathy were not acceptable in the Margaret Turner's home.
The last verse goes:
“Were you there when God raised him from the tomb?
Were you there when God raised him from the tomb?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when God raised him from the tomb?”
Now that verse held it all for momma, to be there at that moment, that verse said it all, that verse was my mother’s saving grace. That verse to this day leaves me trembling.
We too in America are at a tomb, and instead of a body being laid to rest what we have is a group of leaders who want to bury our public schools. Those very places that for nearly 150 years have left us with a sense of purpose and hope.
My point is not a religious one, but one about silence and apathy. Fifty years from now when someone ask “were you there” as NCLB/RTTT tried to bury public education, tried to shift the focus from educating citizens to producing good test takers… When our schools became trading commodities on Wall Street, and our children pawns for profits.
What will you say?
At the age of 55, I doubt I’ll be there, however my students will say,
Jesse prayed to save our schools,
Jesse spoke up to save our schools,
Jesse wrote to save our schools,
Jesse carried signs to save our schools,
Jesse walked to save our schools,
Jesse had faith in our public schools.
He refused to accept that NCLB/RTTT tomb.
He fought for the rising.
Silence and apathy were not in his vocabulary.
Come on friends take the next step join our Save Our Schools March?
As Bruce Springsteen sings come on up for the rising.
Come on up for the rising this July 28-31 in DC, and from every nook and corner in America.