Monday, July 03, 2006


I'm in Norman, Oklahoma, for the next two weeks at a debate camp. I'm one of the instructors, and for now I'm working mostly with Sean and James of KC. I'm pumped because this is the best debate topic ever, and our case is completely kick ass.
The resolution:
Resolved: The United States federal government should establish a policy substantially increasing the number of persons serving in one or more of the following national service programs: AmeriCorps, Citizen Corps, Senior Corps, Peace Corps, Learn and Serve America, Armed Forces.

Our plan:

We're going to write an actual grant proposal for a Learn and Serve America program to be established in Kansas City which will take on Martin Luther King, Jr.'s, plan to abolish poverty. It's what he was working on when he was assassinated. Our initiative will focus on the poorest Census blocks in the 64128 zip code.

I love this idea for so many reasons. For one, a successful Learn and Serve America grant proposal is a lot like a debate case. But it's tougher to attack because it's so tightly focused and inherently good. But I also think it's cool because it helps kids learn that there are ways they can actually access power and resources and make a difference in their communities. Ande the fact that we're basic it all on MLK is just over-the-top cool, because King has been mythologized over the past several decades. He's detached from the kids we teach, he seems to no longer be human being just like them, someone whose shoes they can strive to fill. With this, the students can not only claim his words as their own, they can learn the many ways that students made the Civil Rights Movement possible. Indeed, they'll learn that King wouldn't have been able to do it without kids.

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