9/11 and Education

i read this today in the Wall Street Journal:

Ground Zero is a perfect storm of contemporary American politics. The report cites “19 different governmental entities from every level of government each laying claim to some component of the overall project.” And, “Each entity makes daily decisions about their individual projects, but no streamlined process or authority is in place to . . . ensure that each decision is in the best interest of the overall project.” This sounds eerily like the 9/11 Commission’s assessment of our dis-coordinated national security agencies.

Besides the public players, the report notes “dozens” of family groups representing the victims, plus various community groups. Bowing to another toxic value, the agency promises to still be “inclusive,” then complains no one has the authority to decide anything.

That is because productive decision making has fallen as a public value below “being heard.” Even being heard is no longer enough. The “stakeholders” have to prevail, somehow assuming that the process – or a complex project like this – will endure endless blows. Meanwhile, construction of the wholly private, 52-story 7 World Trade Center building was done in 2006.

That’s a lot to think about. I couldn’t help but think of all the parallels to public education – a system driven by the highest ideals at the bottom end but with a million stakeholders all of whom demand to be heard and rampant survivalism and cynicism at the top end.

No wonder the private schools do so much better.

This points also to the fundamental flaw in the specialization of our society. Nobody can see the whole, so at the top of the hierarchy there can be no accountability. Until we restore the integrity of local communities there can be no solutions.

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