Thursday, June 05, 2014

The Law of Unintended Consequences

We received the following letter dated September 11, 2013:

Dear Parents,

In 2002, citizens approved an amendment to the state Constitution that set limits on the number of students in core classes… blah, blah, blah… Our current blah blah bla..  Therefore, blah blah blah…along with student data… balanced group blah blah blah. Your child has been chosen to move…blah blah bl…

The fast moving train of my speed-reading suddenly lurches to a halt. I shake off the relevance lens that helps me process mountains of data that deluge my life every day. and pick out the few valuable nuggets.

Words like move or your child along with few select others have a way of re-framing my perceptions. They give me hawk-like focus I ordinarily lack as a matter of sheer survival in the information-overloaded yet increasingly impersonal and generic world.

Your child has been chosen to move suddenly turned a boring form letter into something deeply personal which explained inconsolable wailing coming out of our 5th grader’s room.

This was not the kind of choosing, the kind of singling out we anticipated or wanted. 

And this certainly was not what I, aforementioned nameless citizen wanted or anticipated when casting my vote in favor of the amendment of the state Constitution that limits the class size.

With this letter my distinct voter’s intentions and our suddenly dismal reality collided carrying a vague yet very real sense that it is my responsibility – indeed, my fault – that my child - along with the entire 5th grade - is experiencing current turmoil.

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