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December 14, 2006

Design Matters

Something to think about...
I was listening in the background today to a recent speech by Jonathan Kozol to Carlton students. Jonathan Kozol is a former teacher that now writes about public education -- especially the inequality and segregation of today's schools.
In his speech, he describes the stark differences in the quality of school life of the all-black schools he visited compared to the suburban all-white schools of privalege he is familiar with. He describes in detail the differences in atmosphere -- the way the lunch rooms, classrooms, and study rooms compare in aesthetic -- and he makes this point:

"...Here's what I think: I happen to believe that aesthetic counts. Beautiful surroundings refine the souls of children. Filthy settings coursen their mentalities. It's one of the most absolute and dramatic ways by which we draw the line of race and caste within American society..."

The atmosphere we provide for people to learn, work, and live communicates to them how much we value them. What kind of difference do you think it would make just to have a beautiful or even just "nice looking" atmosphere to learn in?

I have more to write on this later...