Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Our NeighborHood is Strong: We must Grow our own High Achievers!

It has been suggested that we should have as a goal to bring back those who have deserted our troubled public schools. The idea is that we will work hard on improving ourselves so they will want to return to town and committ themselves to learning in their own community with the rest of us.
We worry ourselves over the 23 new Charter Schools in NJ.
If you visit the NJ State Department of Education website you will note that we are basically encouraged to open a Charter. Why? Divide and conquer is not a new concept to us. There is one reality that may have slipped our notice. To quote from a letter to the editor in the Suburbanite, "Charter Schools are simply private schools funded by public money."  The taxpaying public pays for Charter Schools. Who governs them in NJ? In some states, it is the local board of educaiton.  Take the highest scoring students from a district and put them in a Charter School and notice higher test scores. Abra Kadabra! Where is the hidden magic? Of course the test scores will be  higher. Anyone can teach those students. Something is at work here that has nothing to do with children. Look deeply and learn. Some athletes leave the public schools, because low achieving athletes are showing them up on the football field, on the basketball court and the list goes on. Face it, many times the great athletes are not the best students. Start earlier in the life of the athlete. Make sure he/she learns to READ and WRITE IN ENGLISH. THE TESTS THAT THESE ATHLETES AND OTHERS DO POORLY ON ARE ADMINISTERED IN ENGLISH, NOT MANDARIN AND NOT SPANISH.
Use the links here. Read and stay informed on what our Governor and his cohorts are doing to public education. This did not just begin. It is a plan that has been gestating in the womb of deception for quite a while now. We do not need anymore surprises.
 (Will Charters always be free for students?)
How did we allow this to happen? When did we go back in time? Did we not pass this way before?
This is the most perfect example of how history may teach us some very valuable lessons. When my home county of Warren, North Carolina was integrated circa 1968-69, after I left, little Christian Schools sprang up all over the place. Did we just learn that these little schools now have the support of the NJ Department of Education?  I say forget about Charter Schools. We have a lot of work to do in our own backyards. Make sure our boards of educations are knowlegeable. Our attention must be turned within. 

We must concentrate our energies on the students in front of us? When we consider this, grow your own takes on a whole new meaning. Start  in nursery school. Start at home. We have few choices left. Do we want a college education to become something available to only the rich? Public schools have the hardest job, because they embrace all students. This is the RIGHT thing to do. We must turn our weaknesses into strengths and rededicate ourselves to growing our own high achieving students, teachers, principals, even boards of educations. A good artist uses whatever medium available. So let's get going my people. It is time to stomp the yard to the rhythm of some found sounds. We have all the tools we need to grow our own. All we need do is keep our hearts and our options open for change. Roll up your  sleeves NJ residents. We have only begun to realize that the battle started while we were napping.

We must stop thinking the negative about our own neighborhood schools. Somewhere down the line we lost our way. It is not too late. We still have control. Our children recognize our confusion and our apathy. We need more faith in the strength and resilience of our own characters. We must become better models. There are many positive things going on in our communities.

On Saturday, March 19, 2011 we watched a line of young ladies grades 6 and up proudly dressed in their red and white accept awards at a Delta Luncheon. They were well dressed, well spoken and well on their way to preparing themselves for a college education. We must not cease having high expectations for our children.

On my honor, I will do better. Will you make the same committment?

"It takes a village to raise and educate a child. Welcome to the village."

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