May 2022 on the set of Real Time with Bill Maher

 

“He’s a teacher from a small town in Northern California and his new book is causing some upset in education circles mostly for it’s raw view of what goes on in classrooms but also for his radical prescription for fixing the problem please welcome Walt Williams.”

 

“Thanks Bill, been a fan of your show for years.”

 

“Now Walt, you’ve been a teacher for 25 years and I get the feeling after reading your book that you have some disagreements with how the system works.”

 

“Yes, we’ve basically been using the same model since education began and while that model still works for many, life has changed a bit in the last 70 years. Education should be leading societal change not reacting to it.”

 

“You propose a four-day school week, later start dates, a thing you call problem solving Fridays, individual learning plans and more vocational training. How is that going to get my video game addicted pothead son out of the basement?”

 

“Great question and there’s a simple answer. Your son needs to stop living in the virtual world and discover the real one. That new Occulus system you bought him for Christmas, trade it in for a set of golf clubs. That pot that all you crazy Californians think is helping him sleep better or deal with life better is actually justifying and perpetuating an uninspired lifestyle.”

 

“So you think pot is at the root of the problem.”

 

“No, we all need to figure out how to live in this brave new world where screens and pot and White Claws and microdosing all have a place but you have to figure out how to function at top form with these potential addictions. You, Bill, are a perfect example of using and promoting weed while maintaining an active and full lifestyle. If you were down in the basement instead of writing and performing around the country then you might want to look at your pot use but your homeostasis seems to be pretty good.”

 

“Homeowhatsis?”

 

“Homeostasis, it’s another word for balance which is the key to life.”

 

“So, let’s get back to education reform, you write that you should have been Finnish? Why is that.”

 

“Schools in Finland just do it better. A holistic approach to teaching and learning, starting school later, connecting more with students, free meals, less homework, cooperation not competition, and teachers who love being teachers because they love and value the profession.”

 

“And you write that you’ve been secretly doing this in your little alternative environment in Sonoma.”

 

“Well, yes as much as possible, but as you know it can be hard to rage against the machine. Because, when there are plenty of people benefitting from the machine, they have little interest in changing the system.”

 

“I love your Finding Solutions Friday proposal. Explain what you would want the new education week to look like.”

 

“First off, make Mondays part of the weekend, next, extend the school day and make participation in sports teams and clubs a requirement. Then make Fridays a day when schools work on real world problems. We learned a couple of key things during COVID, the most important of which was that work and school can happen anywhere and do happen anywhere.  Also, we aren’t so good at solving the big problems like climate change but it should start in the schools. And that means also leading by example, abolish plastic and fossil fuels and processed food and too many screens.”

 

“OK, now you’re just getting crazy, how can kids solve climate change?”

 

“Look at Greta (Thunberg) and Boyen (Slat), they’re no different than any other kid who is fed up and ready to find solutions. And they see through all the bullshit, like adults who say and don’t do, or don’t do enough. We have an entire generation who are questioning traditions like never before-will the earth be around in 50 years? Do I want to bring kids into it? Do I want to work hard for 40 years just so I can retire and die of Prostate cancer or is there another, better  way?”

 

“But haven’t kids been asking those questions forever?”

 

“Yes, but never with these kinds of consequences. There’s an immediacy to the problems but not enough attention being paid, that’s another thing about Finland, they study the connections between people and problems.”

 

“Sounds like there’s a move in your future.”

 

“No, my goal is to get the rest of the world on board so we can all start working in the right direction.”

 

“Tough to do right now, what’s your plan?”

 

“We are more alike than we are different. Plus, we should embrace our differences because they make life interesting. I would love to sit down to dinner with Tucker Carlson and talk about the state of the world, talk about issues rather than labels. A friend told me last summer that we should become “A la carte” voters, ignoring the noise and vote on how we feel about

issues. I like that.”

 

“You couldn’t get me to sit down with Tucker Carlson for all the weed in California.”

 

“And that’s a problem, we are so convinced that we are right and the other side is wrong that we can’t even fathom common ground. I bet you and Tucker could find something to agree on.”

 

“We’ll agree to disagree. Is that common ground?”

 

“It’s a start, which is another message in the book, we have to just start. We have to reach out and connect and communicate, even if we have different opinions. The problem is that we have become increasingly insular, mainly from COVID but also from the TwitterInstaMeta virtual world which produces people who are really good at presenting virtually but not so good in person. The real world needs real people doing real things in real time.”

 

“Sounds like a good name for a TV program.”

 

“Change starts when one person gets fed up and starts screaming in the darkness, you’ve been that person for too long and I think people are slowly coming around, I just hope it’s not too late and we can change course in time. I see the anger and frustration of this generation every day but I also see optimism and hope. I know we’ll be fine, there will be some bumps and hurdles to overcome, but eventually we’ll be fine.”

 

“I hope you’re right. His book is called, “School is Bool, Education in the Real World” thanks for coming Walt and good luck.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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