October 25, 2023
These past two weeks of October have tried our ability to communicate. Free speech, either oral or written, has been tested. For educators, it is a poignant moment. Has our hard work yielded benefits for our students or are we playing second fiddle to social media, the press, and fragments of public opinion? Has the case been made that history is not just a collection of facts to memorize, but a set of narratives that, in the aggregate, help us to understand why we do what we do? Have we not learned that speaking and writing are the most essential tools of human existence, that without the ability to talk to each other, we have a divided culture that cannot grow, but only continue to fracture? Why, with our love of progress, have modern science and logic been officially challenged by some of the most influential voices in our society?
Let’s assume that the four questions posed are interconnected, particularly in the current context of the Israeli-Hamas conflict. Certainly, Frank Bruni thought so in his recent New York Times subscriber newsletter:
I wish I lived in a universe as politically reductive and morally stark…