[/box]When I first sat down to write this, I quickly realized I was writing a treatise I couldn’t possibly finish. Even if I could, no one would want to read it – not even my mother and that’s saying something. There is so much to discuss on this issue, so many factors to consider that just writing about it can be overwhelming. Imagine actually trying to fix it.
So let me begin with something simple. Let me begin with this; I wholeheartedly agree with Sarah’s directive from last week. Get involved and stay involved in your child’s academic life. Parents who are involved in their school community and in their child’s life in general are the solution to many of our educational system woes. Having worked as a teacher and administrator at two different independent schools where this was a requirement of attendance, I know this to be true.
But that solution alone will not solve our city’s crisis because it leaves the students who need the system the most too vulnerable. Do we punish a child for their parent’s lack of involvement? Do we tell that child, if your parent can’t be bothered to help you then neither can we? How do we break a cycle of poverty and lack of education when we put the onus on parents who are part of the cycle themselves? Sarah wrote that the issue in Huntsville wasn’t racial but in that I disagree, at least partly. The issue is economic and in Huntsville, in the South, in most of the country for that matter, the reality is that the poor in this country are overwhelmingly and disproportionately non-white.
For today, I am not offering a solution but rather asking more questions. I posit that by asking hard questions, of ourselves and each other, we can come to a more complete answer to the myriad problems our schools face.
- Is it acceptable to you that the “best public schools” in Huntsville exist only in the whitest and most expensive parts of town?
- Do you feel it is important for teachers to reflect the diversity that exists in the classroom?
- Are you prepared to play an active role in the academic life of not only your own child but his/her peers as well?
- What does a “good school” look like?
- What is a “great teacher” worth?
- Is standardized testing a true measure of a great education?
I know you care about this issue or you wouldn’t take the time to read this. If you haven’t already, take some time to watch a few of the documentaries listed below or read some of the articles or listen to the radio interviews. It can be heartbreaking to watch and read about what children and parents are going through in an effort to get a good education, but it can be motivating as well. I’ve tried to include people with varying perspectives and ideas about what can solve our educational system in this short list and the list is by no means comprehensive but it’s a start.
Since my daughter is still too young to be involved in the public school system here (but will be very shortly), I’m curious to hear first hand from parents who have experienced the good and bad of our school system. What do you think the REAL questions and concerns should be? I invite you to join our discussion in the comment section, on our Facebook page or by contacting me through the site and writing your own article. I don’t pretend I have ANY answers but I’d like to try and find some and I believe with the help of this community, I can.[list type=”pointerlist3″]
Jennifer is the creator and co-editor of Rocket City Mom. She is also a compulsive writer, avid reader, occasional singer and former communications wizard turned toddler wrangler. You can often spot her and her little ones cruising the kiddie hot-spots in their "Rocket Van".