EDUCATION NEWS' EDITOR'S NOTE: Can the Christian, Muslim and Jewish communities ever actually penetrate the vast cultural and social impediments that exist between one and all to establish a genuine framework of mutual respect grounded in honest communication? The events of September 11, 2001 unleashed an unabated wave of distrust and animosity among great religions of the world. What role if any will education play in the next five years or even the next five decades in creating new understandings that might foster the growth of mutual respect and acceptance among these powerful religious and cultural forces? publishes the following essay about a pivotal moment in human history. We hope it inspires both remembrance of the past and contemplation of the future.

Brave New Education in a Brave New World

By Delia Stafford, Haberman Foundation & Michael Shaughnessy, Eastern New Mexico University

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter ” MLK

Today, 9/11, 2006, all across the land, as old glory still waves, we pause to remember those who died 5 years ago on this date. We remember the brave policemen, firemen, EMT's, airline pilots, fathers, mothers, children, families, and we grieve. We relive the event each time it is flashed on the screen. Seems just like yesterday we watched it live, in absolute horror and disbelief as the smoke rose to the high heavens.

We are remembering today, those who were working at the Pentagon on that fateful blue sky morning, the terrorist of Al-Qaeda, and the 2,976 men and women and children who perished in the horrifying destruction on 9/11. To this day, it all seems unthinkable.. We must not forget those who attempted to recapture the airplane that was perhaps bound to fly into our Capital. Those whose loved ones perished in a field in Pennsylvania will recall the heroic valiant attempt of one brave American who said “Let's Roll”, as he attempted to recapture control of the airplane. Certainly, the movie will cause some living in New York City , and the surrounding areas to have nightmares and fears perhaps reliving memories of that day. Even though we cannot list them all, America honors each and every one of them.

The families that have been left behind know them and remember them well. They need no memorial or reminder. Their sacrificed lives, and those of their families remain a lasting tribute; America has forever been changed. We will never forget and as educators, we will ensure that children and youth remember as well.

Our world changed on 9/11 and our educational system has also changed .

In the years to come, with frightening memories, we will educate students about the World Trade Center disaster. Imagine, if you can, the daunting role of teachers who will be in the position of trying to explain the constant turmoil in which we live. Do we really care about the world of education, or will we remain silent. Speak up, or remain deaf and dumb! The writers here would venture to say, we have all remained a little silent. As educators and readers, we think we can safely say, “we don't want our lives to end in silence about children and youth, because children and their education certainly matter”!

In light of our opening statement here by Dr. King, “ Our lives begin to end the day we remain silent about things that matter ”, if we may be so bold and humbled to quote, understanding all of it's implications, educators who care deeply about our future have to be in AWE of what lies ahead for the children and youth of America and for the teachers who teach them.

Dr. King's statement is as valid today as when he first mentioned the dilemma. And his words are fitting today as we remember 9/11 .We are currently involved in a number of battles across the globe against terrorism.We are not alone. Our British allies, the mother country if you will, was struck last summer. They are fighting back. They and we are in a war against terrorism, while too many remain silent.

In a recent conversation with a high school student who was attempting to explain why kids have to fight in school, I said, “fighting is not the way to settle issues of differing opinions”. Sounded right to me. He promptly replied, “go tell that to President Bush”, America settles differences at the highest level by fighting”. UMMMMMM the boy has a point. So should we remain silent? I think not.

As teachers and school administrators, how do we confidently tell a students, while using gentle teaching measures, “if you fight there are major consequences”, namely isolation from other students, handcuffs, security guards, finger pointing, zeroes for missed classes, shame, strong arm of the principals office, guns, knives, Columbine, bullying!” If in our brave old world we are fighting wars while children watch our example, how do we expect teachers to simply, “take up the slack” if you can! What a challenge with disaster waiting to happen. Remaining silent, lives begin to end.

George Orwell wrote the book 1984 many years ago. That year has come and gone. Aldous Huxley wrote “Brave New World “ several years ago. We are currently confronted with that Brave New World, and the events of recent days have caused some of us to become brave new airline passengers. What does all this have to do with education? WE would say, plenty! Perhaps we could call it, The Brave New World of Education.

Alan Ornstein has written about Education Pre and Post 9/11. In his classic text, he drives home the point that education has radically changed since 9/11. We are sure in Great Britain that history books will be different taking into account July 7, 2005. The second author here was in England on his way to a conference in Durham , England and missed his flight due to the chaos around London at that time. We are living during a period in history that will have to be taught in the future. We are living through a period of “terrorism” in America , unparalleled in world history. Who of us is not afraid? Imagine what the children must think.

Children and youth must be taught about the world in which they live with all of its problems in order for them to survive. Adolescents will need to be taught about new safety precautions that are now in place. Students of social studies and government will have to learn about the steps that various governments have taken to thwart terrorism. There are times when we tend to forget the many disasters; the disaster in Spain . Bombings in various parts of the world. This period in history will receive a few paragraphs in the history books, but parents and teachers will have to ensure that children growing up in this environment understand the various plots that were thwarted such as the London bombings and the World Trade Center . Oliver Stone has perhaps done the world a favor, with his movie on the World Trade Center . We should “never forget“ what transpired on that day. Nor should we forget the threat that “terrorism” places on us every day; nor should we ever remain silent. America must remain diligent on all fronts, including the education front. Not to sound morbid at this point, but this is our world and that of the children today. Populations of children, parents, in every part of the world face these problems and more as we have witnessed international turmoil. Lest we forget!!Children are children, parents are parents.

Having said all of this,we are resolved that ,WE WILL NOT FORGET OR REMAIN SILENT! WE WILL NOT LET LIVES BEGIN TO END BY NOT CARING about things that matter! Our education community will not only bare the brunt of teaching and living Bravely in Our Brave New World , but added to what is already required, it does seem like a “very heavy load.”We have confidence that America 's teaching force can and will do the job, and every community will provide support!!! Further, we will never remain silent about: 9/11, all children, their education and the future of their lives, America, old people, babies, parents, money, the need for “star”teachers and principals, jobs, wars and rumors of wars, gangs, corporate corruption, religion, peace, courteous behavior, math, science, history, music, laughter, tears of sorrow, algebra, technology, global warming, international understanding, racism, medicine, child predators, and we must mention… recently the Adam Walsh Bill passed (probably due to the tireless efforts of his parents). All teachers, both present and future, will be compelled to discuss predators and child molestation as seen on Dateline. We are certain that our readers could add to this short list. Feel free.

In closing, thank you Dr. King for the reminder; “ Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter”

“forever etched in our soul,911” delia

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