Monday, December 27, 2010

Everything That Could Go Wrong Didn't

On Christmas Eve my husband and I were involved in a minor accident on Interstate 84, one mile west of Glenns Ferry, Idaho. The driver of another automobile fell asleep, and his vehicle veered into the passanger side of our car as we were passing. I, too, was napping with my head against the window; I thought my husband had hit a wall.

We were lucky. Everything that could go wrong didn't. Timing of the wreck prevented the cars' wheels from locking. Rather than hitting while cruising down a steep hill, we collided on a relatively flat part of the road, which was bone dry, a rarity this winter. All in both vehicles wore seatbelts. The other driver readily admitted responsibility to the officer who investigated the accident. We had contemplated traveling with our dogs but decided at the last minute to leave them home.

The wreck has become a metaphor for me as I contemplate all that went right. Our classrooms are full of teachers and students doing the right things to ensure quality learning experiences. I wish those who want to blame and blame and blame would consider the right in education before decrying the wrong, before characterizing public education as one collosal wreck.

My car sustained a few thousand dollars in reparable damages. I'll get the body work done by an expert who knows his craft and from whom I had a door ding removed on another occasion. Reparing the damage done to things is much easier than fixing what the business model of education is doing to our schools will be.

When my husband and I were discussing our wreck later that evening, he said, "It's really a lucky thing we were there when that guy fell asleep. Otherwise he probably would have rolled his car and might have died." It's really a lucky thing for students from coast to coast to have dedicated teachers protecting them from everything that could go wrong but hasn't in education.