Meet the Wonks

Note: This isn’t my story. It actually belongs to a colleague and friend of mine but it’s too rich not to share. I’ve paraphrased a bit and I’m sure it’s more my voice than hers, but the sentiment and the story are all hers.

I was student teaching- we all were- and we were required to go hear some speaker. I don’t remember who it was but it was REQUIRED so we schlepped our way back to the lecture hall after teaching all day. We were wiped out and you could tell- all wrinkled khaki pants and untucked shirts, loosened ties and comfortable shoes. We had papers sticking out of our bags and backpacks and go mugs filled with lukewarm coffee. We were a motley crew, to say the least.

So we make our way in and there we discover another group. Freshly pressed, rested, coats and ties, carefully coiffed hair and pearls. They were quite simply- Not Us. We eyed them, they eyed us, we circled each other like some kind of absurd Graduate Level Jets and Sharks. Finally someone asked the question we were all thinking:

What program are you in, exactly?

“Educational Policy,” came the answer. Ah. These were the future policymakers. They would become advisors to senators, governors and presidents. They were rested and ready and filled with theory and data and ideas. And they hadn’t set foot in a classroom. They would never set foot in a classroom as part of their degree program.

So does anyone really wonder why we’re in this mess?


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