Bill Whittle, you may have put the nation on the road to recovery of the Founders' enlightened vision of freedom singlehandedly. Longhandedly, that is, as in writing out the Declaration of Independence longhand. We've completed the first part (three 8 1/2 x 11 sheets, above) and found the exercise a revelation. Two examples: 1. it was the united (l.c. "u") States of America (emphasis on individual states), not the United States. 2. The goal was to "effect" rather than "affect" the people's "Safety and Happiness," a positive intention rather than a vague hope (yes you, Hopenchangers). Also, bonus revelation, we can still write longhand!
"Bill Whittle has given me a new idea for an art project for my sixth graders," writes blogbuddy and art teacher extraordinaire Laura Lee in the comments to our previous post. "I've just ordered new calligraphy pens and paper":
OBJECTIVE: The students will recover, evaluate, analyze and create an artwork by writing in longhand, with calligraphy pens, the Declaration of Independence.
I have a large copy of the Declaration hanging in a place of honor in my art room.
Detail of one of Laura Lee's student artworks. It looks to be a technique we remember from our own enchanted childhood, where you make a drawing with waxy crayons and then overwash with poster paint. The layered result evokes a pentimento, revealing something of the artist's thinking as the work progressed.
At her own blog in a must-read call to arms infused with the tea party spirit, Laura Lee expands on the theme of what's the matter with education today (see Gramscian march through the institutions) and her lonely fight to foster a richly-textured understanding and appreciation of the Shining City Upon a Hill that is at the heart of American exceptionalism:
Forget the NCAA tournament, the Iditarod, and the Academy Awards, it’s Art Season for me. Three art competitions in recent weeks have had me working day and night to prepare my “players” for their chance to shine.
"A must view" we wrote in our post Too Late to Apologize: Music video as history lesson. "Rousing music, sublime production values and compelling performances blend 18th- and 21st-century perspectives into the perfect historically-aware antidote to the 'ideas' of clueless North Carolina education 'leaders' who are proposing to revamp the state's 11th-grade curriculum by skipping the Revolution and Civil War and covering U.S.history only from 1877 onward.'"
"Why do I do it when most of the Arts establishment discourage competition in art? (and other areas)," she asks rhetorically:
The art establishment discourages competition in art just as educational elites frown upon any kind of competition in schools. Children are not being encouraged to compete or to strive to achieve in many schools in America, unfortunately.
Talent is the great equalizer; I’ve taught in high socio-economic schools as well as the low socio-economic school where I am teaching presently. I much prefer schools in poor neighborhoods. The children aren’t as distracted by ipods, video games and other prizes of the well off. Many of my students are immigrants and appreciate the education that our school is providing. Many, of course, not all, of the students who I taught who came from richer neighborhoods did not have aspirations to achieve.
"When life comes easy, achievements are few," observes Laura Lee:
What does the national art educational establishment consider important? Not achievement, nor excellence but social justice."
See what you've started, Bill Whittle? And while we're on the subject of re-enlightening that Shining City:
We are calling everyone that is able to come to Washington, DC on March 16th, 2010 for one last push against Obamacare. We will meet at the Cannon building at 9 am and speak with as many representatives as possible, encouraging them to vote NO on this version of health care reform.
Hey, Heather J. You'll be in the area. How's about representing the clan for us? Field reports sought. You take pictures, we'll post 'em here.