What is DEEP ?

Basically, it's a society of students at my local high school who want to look at the 'deep questions' about life, the universe and everything---the sort of thing that, for whatever reason, doesn't make it's way into the high school curriculum. I've been kicking this idea around with students for a few years, but the impetus to actually make it happen was due to two things:

1) A handful of students who were willing to help organize and publicize the initial effort;

2) The hints that were coming from my district that there were going to be monies to support new curriculum offerings, coming at the same time that the site was getting a new principal.

The former was a necessary condition in my mind to organize a student club, and the latter was a necessary condition for using the student organization as a basis for having a campus discussion about the 'deep questions' that were being left out of the curriculum. There's no point in trying something radically different if there isn't real student interest, and no point in sticking my neck out beyond that without the possibility of real change.

So, with those new things in place, I advertised (a flier, a few PA announcements) and did a stunt one lunch hour (I had a hat-full of little cards with 'deep' questions on them), and then on Club Day had signups. I told the kids that had helped that, unless we had at least 20 signups, that was as far as things would go.

Well, we had 31 signup, about 20 attend the first meeting and so far 16 have filled out the paperwork I generated for legal purposes in which they agreed to abide by the district's policies on freedom of expression (they received a copy of same). Well, this was a better response than I would've predicted, and enough to justify my involvement!

So we're up and running. At our second meeting I hinted broadly that, based upon what I knew about our site being designated a magnet school for 'law and social justice' (FUSD just got a federal grant), that perhaps in the future the DEEP organization could become the genesis of a regular course offering: a survey course of the 'Big Ideas' from philosophy, ethics, comparative religion, logic, etc.

To my great delight, this possibility seemed to strike a DEEP (sorry) chord with many of the DEEP members present. In fact, a handful were ready to storm the (administrative) barricades after my suggestion. I had to reel the firebrands back into my version of reality, which is that we would need to build a broad coalition of support from other teachers and community members as well as students.

In the meantime, many of these enthusiastic students have actually brought in materials for review and we approved a 'field trip' to our local college to hear one of those anthropic principle-style arguments to deity presentations favored by certain ID types---no doubt the first of a series of provocative DEEP events designed to stimulate thinking about same. Even if nothing comes from this other than a student club, I feel sufficiently encouraged to support these students---it just sounds like something that serves a legitimate educational purpose, meets certain kid's needs and (frankly) fun. We'll just have to see what happens next!

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