Thursday, October 20, 2011

Regaining My Stride

I've recently proclaimed that I find Education Reform is like a dip in the floor that I can't help towards; that this is the thing I cannot NOT do.  Even if I have good reason to be on the other side of said floor, the dip invariably changes my course and I at least veer toward it.  Lately, though, I find that I'm just walking right into it, stopping right there in the middle and settin' a spell.

Perhaps - from the outside in - it appears that I am taking the most circuitous path to my destination - which at this time, feels like the actual path itself.  I'm OK with that though.  The oft-quoted ... er... quote that the journey is the destination is very clearly defined by my path "of" (rather than "to") Progressive Education.

That said, I'm breaking out at least one of my bells and ringing it because I really feel Back!

As soon as I became aware of the International Democratic Education Conference (IDEC) 2012 that will be taking place in Puerto Rico next March, I simultaneously became aware that I. Will. Be. There.    I've met the good people that facilitate at the host school, Nuestra Escuela, and when I say good people, I mean Good People who are essentially giant hearts giving newness and life to the young people in their community, and therefore, to the community itself.  I was incredibly fortunate to have attended the 8th Annual AERO (Alternative Education Resource Organization) Conference last year where I met so many like-minded people that I was on an education-reform-is-really-possible-and-kind-of-happening-right-now high for the duration of my time there.  (You can read all about it here to experience it with me.)  It was there that, among other very inspiring, fearless and passionate pioneers in education, I met Justo Méndez Arámburu, founder and director of Nuestra Escuela.  Justo is the kind of person whom upon spending some 10 or so seconds with him you are instantaneously invigorated by his passion and love for his life's work which are immediately evident and welcoming.

My attendance of the conference in Puerto Rico is about meeting and dialoging with people from all around the world who are living and working in progressive education in their own contexts; it's about getting a first hand look at what Nuestra Escuela are doing to change the lives of the people who come through their doors and into their hearts.  It is also about establishing a connection with a Caribbean counterpart in the journey.  On my too-long list of things I intend to co-create, is the Caribbean Alliance for Progressive Education.  I feel a pretty strong pull to help create any forward movement possible for education in the Caribbean.  Having been born and raised in Jamaica, now living in The Bahamas, and learning about progressive education in North America, I understand that Caribbean people are different.  Generally speaking, there are different ideals and, obviously, different cultural influences.  While it's true that politically, Puerto Rico is aligned with the U.S., it is also true that geographically and culturally, they are more similar to the very large and diverse group often labeled "Latin America & The Caribbean".   My hope is that this connection will act as a vehicle which will bring me that much closer to establishing the alliance.  It would, after all, serve as the very first one.

Also, I need to practice my spanish.

Here, in conclusion, I publicly offer my deepest thanks to Isaac Graves for helping me to sift all this out of the debris of my thoughts when he emailed me an invitation to act as an ambassador for IDEC 2012.   In some ways, the email was like a gentle but effective slap in the face of someone who was losing it.  Now, fully conscious, clear and gaining traction - I look forward to the regaining my stride on the journey.


  1. How exciting! Being an ambassador will be an amazing experience, I'm sure, and I'm so glad that you'll get to connect with so many other people there, too. I know how it feels to crave that in-person connection and to really feel the movement in person. Even so, your presence in The Bahamas alone establishes the energy there!

  2. u r AWESOME! cannot wait to see you again...

  3. Cian my heart feels so full after reading your blogs. I have this intense passion for education and using it as a tool to better the lives of all the people in this country. I think that you are amazing and brave and i have so much respect for what you are accomplishing. AMAZING.