I scrolled through Facebook this morning only to stop at a post from a dear friend of mine who has been an educator in our local school district for more that 30 years. It was obvious she was heartbroken, frustrated and angry. The school district was set to fall under state control. In her comments was a quote from an article about the issue. "East Detroit Public Schools has a poverty level of 86 percent, and more than 30 percent of its students come from Detroit Public Schools, according to Judy Pritchett, MISD’s chief academic officer. Many times, students who transfer to the district do not have the grade-level skills and require intense remediation, which takes time and resources, she added."
I sat at the table with so many feelings about this. Almost 19 years ago my husband and I purcased a home to raise our three children in. We were happy with our neighbors and the schools. Our kids were thriving at the elementary school and then at the middle school. After several years we noticed many changes in the families moving in and out of our district. Before anyone gets upset, this has nothing to do with race and everything to do with taking responsibility. I'll explain as I go so I hope you will read this with an open heart and listen to my heart.
There seems to be a culture of no accountability & disrespect that has found it's way into our (I'm sure many others) community. Please understand I am not stating that EVERYONE in our community is disrspectful or unaccountable for their actions. I am saying however that too many people have assumed this lifestyle.
Let me continue the story. We really didn't encounter many issues with the schools or students until our son entered the high school. We had noticed that there were some "rougher" kids in the middle school. However the staff seemed to have a good handle on it and didn't allow behaviors to disrupt the class rooms. High school was a whole other story. It seemed that a large amount of class time was being consumed by disruptive students. Teachers and administration were limited in their abilities to enforce consequences. By the end of our son's freshman year we made a very difficult decision to pull our kids from the district and enroll them in a different district.
So you may be wondering why I am so angry, frustrated and heartbroken. I asked myself the same thing this morning. I began to question how our district ended up in such poor shape. Who is to blame. After all, we always like to point fingers when things go wrong.
We were not the only family to leave the district. In fact, we tried to move from the area. Unfortunately when the recession hit our community our house values fell so low that many cost less than a new car. So we stayed and made the sacrifice to drive our kids 25 minutes away in an effort to ensure a solid education. Our kids were happy, thrived and involved in school. So again I ask myself, why does the district being run by the state upset me? I'm not sure I can answer that with just a simple answer.
I believe that our leaving the district along with many others, made an impact in the funding our district recieved. So I do feel like I had some responsibility in this fall.
Teachers are unable to effectivily teach their classes when they spend the majority of their time dealing with distruptive students. Then add to that parents who don't support the teachers and administration. When there are little to no consquences at home, a punishment at school is not a big deal to many of the students. Parents, get it together and parent your children. Teach them to be kind. Teach your children to be respectful. Teach your children the value of education. Teach your children responsibility.
The next big challenge teachers are faced with is students who are so far behind from their peers that they require extensive help. Costing time and resources.
Again, my kids are grown so why do i care? My heart is broken for the educators who have given their hearts, time and energy to teaching children. I'm frustrated because they are not able to do the job they have worked so hard to do. I'm angry because we sit around and blame the administration, the teachers, the parents, the kids, the poverty level etc. This list could go on and on.
I'm angry again because just as the property values in my neighborhood were rising slowly, I am concerned they may fall again. If the school district isn't healthy, why would anyone see value to the neighborhood?
I work in community outreach and see hundreds of people every week that lack resources and income to make ends meet without help. What I don't see is how poverty is an excuse to be disrespectful or to avoid being held accountable for decisions and actions.
I don't have a solution that will solve all of these issues. I am however praying for the families in our community, our teachers and administration. My prayer is for families to be strengthened. I'm praying for parents to teach their children how to be honorable, responsible and kind people. I'm
praying for parents to parnter with educators to ensure the success of their student. Praying for our community to support it's local school district.
So tonight I will lay all this anger, frustration and heartache at the feet of Jesus. Prayer is powerful and can cause a situation to be changed. My prayer as always is for anyone who has taken time to read my heart, is that you are moved to do something for someone who can not possibly repay you.