Confession: I’m a big fan of The Onion and an equally big fan of Game of Thrones. In light of those two facts, I’d like to introduce this week’s blog in the form of a movie preview I’m working on (with a trailer to come!). I had this “aha” the other night as I was settling in with the show and a glass of red zin, realizing that there are so many similarities between Game of Thrones and the current situation in public education. Probably not what George R. R. Martin’s fantasy series had in mind, but the metaphor emerged in my head and spoke to me.
Coming soon to a theater near you (and read in a very dramatic voice!):
Game of Desks: A Song of Money and Lives
Winter Is Coming
In a time of great political unravelling, there is a struggle for the Iron Throne of Education. Winter is coming, and the seven districts must prepare for the arrival of mythical non-democratic creatures from the North. This is a story of treachery, back-stabbing, and vying for the same goal. The seven districts should be collaborating to improve the state of schools and education for the sake of the little constituents they rule, but are instead engaging in senseless competition with one another.
Enter the key players in the Game.
The Lannisters are a family of non-profits, publishing and testing companies, and loaded businessmen and women who are trying to seize the Throne by using their money to influence policy and craft legislation that will destroy the sanctity of public education. They win friends through lobbyists and the buying of power, using that power to hold the Throne and privatize education.
The Starks are a family of educators working against the Lannisters, trying to remain just and honorable in a time where such characteristics may not be seen as valuable. They are trying to fight honestly for the Throne, but their efforts may be thwarted if they don’t realize their powers are stronger together than apart.
Enter the young dragon queen Deaneyrs Targaryen as the brave, young teacher advocate, speaking up for what she knows is right in the classrooms of the seven kingdoms. As she travels and speaks the truth, she finds others that advocate for their students as well, forming a large collective voice. But will this organic ground swelling be enough to place the classrooms and the Iron Throne back in the hands of public educators? Will it be enough to break down the Wall of Inequity, leading to an equal education for all, no matter what socioeconomic status? And will those involved in the tumultuous struggle realize in time that they should combine their efforts to prepare for the Long Winter, instead of breaking each other down? Will they realize that the lives of the students are too valuable to be used as pawns in the Game?
Available for your viewing pleasure, June 25, 2014: Game of Desks: A Song of Money and Lives. Directed by What R. R. Wedoing and written by the merry cast of teacher leaders, filmed onsite at a public school near you.
Prepare. Winter is coming.