At one time, providing a sound, quality education was possible despite the color of a child’s skin or the size of his parent’s wallet.
Prior to segregation, there were educators of color educating and guiding young people of color in environments that provided clear and excellent instruction with expectations of success. Our young people require a group of caring and well prepared adults willing to challenge and direct the power that is young impressionable minds.
Quality instruction is both possible and needed.
When encouraging quality instruction, it is essential that teachers be extremely well paid. How can we expect to attract and retain those whose lives are enriched and enrich the lives of others through their passion for stellar pedagogy if they can’t pay basic bills as a result of low pay ?
As I mentioned in the original OWS post, I burned through personal finances to make sure that I never heard the whine heard all over the U.S. once classwork has been assigned: Mr. Carter, I don’t have a pencil.
Recently, I read a great article regarding a group of teachers in the Pennsylvania school district.
After being informed that there was no money for teacher’s salaries they continued educating children. Rather than punish them because of misguided and myopic planning on the part of stupid, greedy, misguided adults, these brilliant individuals chose to continue instructing.
Would a Goldman Sachs honcho be so generous with her time and skill set ? If people are passionately committed to volunteering their expertise, it is clear that they are committed to something bigger and more important than themselves.
Another thing that would make a difference to instructors is affordable housing.
This is not impossible. We, as a country, have done this before. Does Habitat for Humanity sound familiar ? How about Sanctuaries for Instructors or Abodes to Replenish.
Doesn’t matter what you call it.
What matters is that it get done and that it can be done.
It matters that we find ways to make this important.
We can clone sheep and create ways to communicate with folks all over the world at the push of a button(for free) but can’t find $70,000 annually with severe tax breaks for people who spend on average 60 hours a week with our children ?
Let me quickly add that as a teacher our work is never done because there is a constant feeling that you could do more.
Moreover, any great teacher will tell you that there is always an opportunity to reach one more student in a different way. What if we bought the empty lots which are such a part of the landscape of Urban America and built housing and beautiful gardens.
Teaching could occur outdooors or in and raising vegetables could be lessons in responsibilty , basic math skills, planning for the future and entrepreunership.