The Swimming Pool: a parable on President Bush’s State of the Union Speech view of poor people and education

There was community of people that managed to have a beautiful swimming pool. They were all poor but when everyone put some money in the pot it grew big enough that they could have what they always wanted. But the pool grew old and economics had changed. The young people began to write on the walls and throw things in the water. They did not think anyone cared. The community needed help to keep the pool running safely and effectively.

The summers were dusty and hot. The children in the little community were angry. Poverty was breeding unrest in the minds of the young people and the community was crumbly at the edges. They were forgetting how to manage their own pool. The quality of their life was falling faster every day.

There had been several solutions proposed by the people in control of the money, the people that would supplement what the poor people had.

One man wanted to send the children to a religious swimming pool outside the community and take the money that would have been used for these children away too. The swimming pool fund would begin to shrink even more. Those children that remained behind would suffered and they knew that the pool the other children would go to would not be as good as the one they would built if they could all put their money together.

But then a Olympic swimmer came to town. There was a solution that they had not thought about. What if they all put their money in one purse and asked the people in control of their extra money to give them the money and let them decide what they wanted to do. They begn to take pride in their community because they knew that what makes them strong was not the size of their houses or the income of their people. What made then strong was that they stayed together and worked out problems for themselves.

Which would the people with the extra money choose? Did those people that wanted to take the money away see religious pool as an assault on community family values? Could they see that the public pool was for everyone, no matter what their religion or talent? Would they see that, when they scatter the community of children and withdraw support from any community for a few children, the whole suffers irreparably? Would the people of the small community go on to operate a substandard pool, too small with no life guards or swim teachers that knew what they were doing? How many children would drown in other pools because they had not learned to swim at home?

Would everyone see that their community was founded on public pools, integrated, blind to religion and beliefs, pools that allow everyone to swim successfully?

And in the final irony, would they see that a good swim teacher can teach children to swim successfully in a river? That it was not the pool that mattered but the money spent on wonderful life guards and swim instructors!

Just a thought.



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