September 16, 2021
from Dr. Bill Hudson, Head of School
I have to admit I am a big fan of dystopia books, film, and television. Favorite books include “The Stand” by Stephen King and “Swan Song” by Robert McCammon, movies such as “The Day After Tomorrow” and “I Am Legend”, and television shows like “The Leftovers” and “The Walking Dead.” It’s not that I like gloom and doom or enjoy blood and gore. Rather, I see dystopian literature, films, and television as windows into the human condition, what humans are capable of in the face of horrific conditions, great suffering, or terrible injustice, and the triumph of the human spirit.
Living through the last several weeks, let alone the last 18 months, has been all too much like a dystopian novel. Wildfires in the west, hurricanes in the south, the drought here in Minnesota combined with the lingering effects of the pandemic, all present a series of challenges that are testing the fabric of our society. Like characters in a dystopian movie, we are learning a great deal about ourselves, what we value, and what we are willing to do to endure.
Imagine my surprise last week when dystopia seemed to invade my professional life when I came across the article “Schooling in the ‘Fifth Season’” by Justin Reich in the latest edition of one of my favorite education journals, Educational Leadership. What caught my attention was a quote from a study conducted by the United States Change Research Program, “Humans are re-engineering the geo-chemistry of the planet to be inhospitable to our current civilization. As average temperatures rise and extreme weather events become more common, there will be more fires, more floods, more freezes, more novel disease events, and accompanying migration, civil unrest, and conflict.” (Reidmiller, et al., 2018) While I’m not sure I agree with this assessment, I believe that conducting school no just like we did 18 months ago would be a mistake. Educational systems must be inherently structured to pivot and change and to become more agile and proactively responsive. Read More