The school I work in suffers from bullying like nothing I’ve ever seen. The kids don’t even realize or at least won’t admit that activities they engage in such as making of fun of each other is bullying.
But who am I to tell them? I am just a bully who ignores their needs and tries to stuff a prepackaged curriculum down their throats. What’s going on in the world or their own lives makes no difference, because if I’m not on the prescribed page on the prescribed day…..
The real bully is the federal government who has taken over the schools from what was considered a state obligation. Bureaucrats view our schools as entities and rate them by test scores. Gone are the days when schools were filled with individuals whose needs teachers would strive to meet. Now, instead of teachers and schools having value, it’s the child that has value, but only if their test scores can improve the entity.
What kind of society are we creating where children are valued based on what they can do for us?
Anyone smell something burning.
The widespread incident of neighborhood violence and drug usage in America’s inner cities has had and continues to have a devastating impact on her urban schools. There’s no denying it. The district in which I work is the nation’s 18th largest district. Our city has the state’s highest crime rate and the neighborhood in our city with the highest crime rate includes a middle school in which I was recently stationed for 6 intensive weeks as part of LEA Improvement (since our entire district of 180 schools is currently in Corrective Action, as per NCLB legislation). That is all to say, I get to see the impact of neighborhood crime, violence, and drug use first hand.
But these are all corollary to a more fundamental problem: poverty. The number of children in the US living in poverty – both urban and rural poverty - is staggering. The graph below depicts America’s children living in as compare to the poverty rate of other countries.
How can the most economically advantaged country in the world permit so many economically disadvantaged children?
I first saw this graph as I prepared a workshop for teachers on Urban Education. The more I researched this topic, and learned about the incident of students living in poverty, the more I became outraged. How could this state of affairs have happened in our America?
I don’t have a solution – there is no quick and easy solution. But as a citizen and especially as an educator who is routinely entrenched in the mess it has caused, I am outraged and think every citizen should be likewise.
The impact of poverty trumps the impact of drugs, crime, and violence. Indeed, the latter follow quite predictably from the former. dven.