02 November 2011

Guest blogger

I've stumbled upon a couple of very popular blogs, think A-list type blogs that from time to time host guest bloggers.  I decided to be courageous and send in a couple of my blog entry's from the archives.  I figured I have nothing to lose and it might be fun to see my blog post on a high traffic blog as opposed to the 3 or so readers from my blog- one of which is my mom! (Hi Mom)

This one is about my feelings on education and it was written right after I had Mallory, it's called A Town With Clean Water.
The second one is called RIP Mr. Davis and Big Wheels and I have included it as a separate blog entry right before this one.

A Town With Clean Water

As I enter into this new stage of my life called parenthood, inevitably I cross paths with more and more new parents and young families. Along with a million other decisions that come with being a new parent is the decision of where to ultimately reside and raise a family. Time and time again I hear “Oh we just want a town with good school districts”. For as many times as I’ve heard this the absurdity of this statement really sets in. I mean doesn’t everyone want that? Doesn’t the single mom living in the inner city want that for her kids? Doesn’t the working class family living off a truck driver’s income want that? It’s like saying “We just want a town with clean water.” As if this were some unique criteria specific to their family. Wanting a good school district is a wish I believe every parent has for their children. Although it’s a bit premature Tony and I will one day think about schools for our daughter. We as public school teachers have no grand illusions about education in our country. We consider ourselves good teachers yet have taught in schools that many families would consider not “good enough” for their kids. We are aware of the unfair barometer used to measure what constitutes a good school district. For example, schools that have numerous bilingual students typically don’t have good test scores due to the racially biased nature of standardized tests. Therefore many of these schools fail to make AYP (Adequate yearly progress) a term the elite administrators throw out when boasting about the greatness of their district. Since we are or have been teachers in these schools that don’t measure up does that mean we aren’t good teachers? Heck I was the same pre-k teacher in the prestigious private school as I was in the inner city public school. Minus a few technological perks the kids received much of the same experiences. For the parents who dished out 16 grand to send their kid to the “better” preschool, it’s probably not what they would want to hear. Having said that, I’m well aware that the opportunities for both groups of children will be very different as the educational injustices unfold in their respective school lives. Even with good teachers the inner city children may have to overcome the challenges of learning in an environment with over sized classrooms, no text books, rundown buildings, dated technology, etc. Don’t both of these groups of children deserve the greatest advantages, the best opportunities? Of course I understand wanting better for our children but shouldn’t we want better for all children? I will try to remember with every decision we make for our daughters education (public or private, this neighborhood that neighborhood) there’s a family out there that doesn’t have the luxury of decisions when it comes to their child’s education. We live in a society where the unfortunate reality is that the quality of a child’s education is directly related to the paycheck mom and dads bring home. So I don’t worry so much about what type of school she’ll go to as I do about what type of world it’ll be for her when she grows up. My hope is she will one day live in a country where all schools are created equal. And where the saying “We just want to live in a town with good school districts” will sound just as outlandish as saying “We just want a town with clean water.”!

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