Friday, May 30, 2014

Remembering Maxine Greene

Our beloved Maxine Greene died peacefully in her home yesterday. I was blessed to have had Maxine in my life for many years as she was my mother's teacher and close friend. This black and white photo
was taken on my aunt's front porch in Tuscany, and the photo  below of the three of us at a dinner in our home in Great Neck. Besides her warmth, her generosity, her sharp wit and capacity for fascinating conversation, Maxine was the major influence in my thinking about teaching, about the arts and literature, about life really. She leaves an impressive legacy in her extensive writing, in the countless lives she touched through her work, in her friendship, and in her love. Here is just a taste of her wisdom, from her 2007 preface to the new edition of The Public School and the Private Vision: A Search for America in Education and Literature in which she wrote:
The opening of untapped possibilities through the exercise of imagination still seems important to me, even as I realize how necessary it is today to disclose the terrors so often suppressed in human consciousness. I would affirm my confidence as never before in the new beginnings implicit in the educational undertaking. So long as we remember that education has to do with the young in their unpredictable becoming, so long as we can free ourselves from today's "iron cage" of technicist manipulations and control, we may be able to illuminate the public school with a vision arising from the "community in the making" John Dewey called "democracy."

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