Archive for May, 2013

opportunity for all

I began composing this post prior to the May 4th vote on school tax in Terrebonne parish.  After serval trashed versions, here are my thoughts on the results of the vote and the state of public education in Louisiana.

You don’t own a home in Terrebonne, so your vote isn’t valid.

My family works and lives here, so my vote is.

You attended private school, so what do you know about public education?

I taught art in public schools (five schools in four years) and have administered arts education programming in schools for  about five years. I’ve seen the conditions of the schools (awful. buildings falling apart, murky paint, dim rooms, broken windows, rusted fences, no greenery, etc.) and the attitudes of the teachers (dedicated, inspired). A group of black third grade students once asked me, in the most serious way,  if “I own slaves” or if “I’m rich because I’m white”. I’ve seen tough little boys calm down and tear up while drawing (a breaking heart). I’ve met caring kids and caring parents.

Yes, some parents could care less about their child’s education, but when you consider the history (BROWN V. BOARD: Timeline of School Integration in the U.S.) and quality of Louisiana’s public education system, why would the majority of public school- parents/grandparents/great-grandparents value education? Obviously, some families care, but when so many have been the recipients of sub-standard education resources how do you expect them to value education in the same way as a person who has experienced quality education?

Consider the quality of the learning environment. Do k-12 learning facilities affect education outcomes? (of course they do.)

Consider what “we” expect from teachers. It seems that in so many places “we” expect them to excel and inspire students to excel using only the bare minimum of resources and public support.

The Effects of School Facility Quality on Teacher Retention in Urban School Districts

Consider that maybe the future would be brighter for EVERYONE in our region if we gave a little more support to those who need it most (disadvantaged CHILDREN).

summer 2009

I just don’t know anymore…

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