This is the online stream for sharing conversations that happened throughout the Greater Bay Area from March through June 2012 around the question:

How can we collectively transform public education through the arts to create a better future for everyone?

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Empty desks in DC

Empty desks in DC

photo from NY Times, Adeshina Emmanuel 6.20.2012  click for direct link to the article

875 desks represent the number of students who drop out of HS every hour. This installation was organized by the College Board, part of their Don’t Forget Ed! campaign. Although I have problems with the power the College Board holds I think they have it right with this flash mob of furniture. Certain group actions that result in a visual tell a frustrating story very well – much better than a talking head and more tempting to share, like, link etc.

With this installation were folks gathering comments and 22,000 signatures to be sent to our presidential candidates: “If you want my support, I need to hear more from you about how you plan to fix the problems with education. And not just the same old platitudes. I want to know that you have real, tangible solutions, and that once in office, you’re ready to take serious action. I’ll be watching your acceptance speech at your party’s convention.”

What is the image that fits with the work we are doing and the catagories being mapped and prioritized ?


One Comment on “Empty desks in DC”

  1. lmusic says:

    Dear Susan ~

    This is such a powerful statement – bringing it concretely to how many children we are failing as a nation every hour. Installations like this contribute to answering the question, “What is the role of the artist in public life?” It is so obvious and so ”Suzanne Lacy”. I love how artists think.

    I always tell people that each year in California 1 million 250 thousand young people drop out of school and too often fall into the streets, poverty, the prisons or the morgues. It is such an unnecessary waste of humanity and a lifelong cost to the people of California. What is crazy is that this is all avoidable. Children that are dropping out of school could just as easily be solving the very problems they have such intimate understanding of through their personal experience.

    I question why we are asking politicians to tell us what they are going to do to change this failing paradigm. I think we may need to amplify the leadership voice of students, teachers, parents and community members to advocate for policies that promote professional practice and decision-making, and that allocate the necessary resources so that teaching artists are fully utilized in our public schools, and so that the shameful, annual pink-slipping of teachers comes to an end.

    What do you think?