Invisible Children in the Society and Its Schools

By Sue Books | Go to book overview

1
Introduction: September 11,
Welfare ‘Reform, ’ Educational Opportunity,
and the Lives of Children
Sue Books
SUNY at New Paltz

We have yet to grapple with what knowledge does to teachers, particularly, the difficult knowledge of social catastrophe, evidence of woeful disregard, experiences of social violence, illness, and death, and most generally, with what it means to come to terms with various kinds of trauma, both individual and collective.

—Britzman (2000)

Since 1998, when this book was first published, the social and educational fabric of children's lives has both changed and not changed in important ways. While preparing this second edition, just months after September 11, 2001, I recalled Britzman's (2000) reflections on “teacher education in the confusion of our times. ” From the vantage point of 2002, her words seemed prophetic and urgent. September 11 was, of course, the day when members of the Al Qaeda organization flew hijacked planes into the World Trade Center towers in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, DC, crashed a plane in Pennsylvania, and killed more than 2,800 people. A few of those who died were able to place phone calls to share last words with loved ones; many were not. Ordinary people responded to the danger and chaos in extraordinary ways; some lost their own lives trying to save others. If not for such acts of courage and selflessness, even more people would have died.

Months later, the human toll of the devastation was still evident. A survey conducted for the New York City Board of Education 8 months after the at-

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