00614 Transformational Triggers

My annual one month crunch of model airplane building-flying-competing at the Nationals in Muncie, IN is now behind me. I am settling back into a more “normal” routine. The challenge for 2010-2011 school year is upon us. The question is whether our associations with their advocacy will have any effect on transforming Arizona K-12 education. History has the answer, but to a different question – one of turning points leaping out of the blue. For example:

Forty years ago Yosef Mendelevich, a Soviet Jew, tried to hijack a plane in Leningrad to fly to Sweden, and then on to Israel. He was arrested with a number others by the KGB. The heavy handed trial cause a global protest and back lash against the Soviets. As a direct result, hundreds of thousands of Jews were allowed to emigrate over the next decade. A transformation in Soviet attitude toward human rights was triggered that resulted in the Berlin Wall falling and an empire collapsing.

A decade or two from now, an educational historian (yes, we have these folks at our universities) will do a study on what triggered the massive transformation of Arizona’s K-12 education into a 21st Century powerhouse. She will probably find one person that for her own reasons bucked the system and triggered the transformation. Instead of Yosef’s “unrequited longing for a homeland” her driving force will be “unrequited longing for equity to serve the learning needs of her child.”

The best we can do is keep plugging away. The tipping point may be soon or may have already happened. In a decade or two I hope to be reading the real story of what had triggered the turning point for Arizona.

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