Archive - Nov 23, 2008

Why we need more inept bureaucrats in our schools.

Unfortunately, learning how to deal with inept bureaucrats is a lesson in life that too many of us have to face. We spend too much of our time on permahold waiting for the chance to talk with someone who at best does not know how to address the problem we are facing and will provide us with yet another number to wait on hold at. Sometimes we have to face these bureaucrats at offices or at schools and the face to face confrontations can be even more distressing.

We may find ourselves, after such encounters frustrated beyond belief and venting to our friends, in our online journals, or to anyone that will listen, using words that some might find offensive. Yet if our venting is done online and the son of an inept bureaucrat reads it and passes it on to his mother, it is reasonable to expect that the inept bureaucrat will act in a spiteful and petty manner and perhaps even violate our civil rights only to see the whole thing end up in the Federal courts.

What may seem worse is if the inept bureaucrat is part of the education system who in their narcissistic injury ignores the pedagogical imperative. Examples of this from the State of Connecticut may come to mind for some of the regular readers of this blog.

Yet there is something valuable that can be learned from such inept bureaucrats and providing students a chance to learn from them while they are in high school may serve the students well later on in their life.

One student, after experiencing a scenario very similar to the one I described above, decided not to head straight to college, but to spend a year of her life as a volunteer with AmeriCorps. In a recent blog post, she writes about her frustrations as she answers the phonecalls of people who have been trying and trying to get in touch with FEMA, of people in unimaginably helpless situations that “you can just feel the pain, stress, exhaustion, and just sadness in their voices.”

She writes about having “a reputation in the JFO PPI section for being the one always badgering my supervisors or just people who really know what they are doing”. It is this spirit of fighting for what is right that can get a high school student in a lot of trouble, but if they escape, without having their spirit crushed, and having learned lessons of how to deal with inept bureaucrats, the potential for doing good that they hold can be awesome.

So, take a few moments, and read what Avery Doninger wrote about her experiences when she was asked, “this time tomorrow where will we be?” Then, ask yourself, what have you learned from inept bureaucrats. Has your spirit been crushed, or have you learned how to more effectively challenge what is wrong?

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