Sunday, February 08, 2009

Thoughts on education

Well I saw that my alderman commented on a blog post over at The 6th Ward blog. Lately I've taken an interest in crime reports I find on EveryBlock Chicago that takes place in or near schools in the 6th Ward of Chicago. The crimes found aren't a big surprise because I've seen it done especially narcotics, theft, assault, battery or robbery.

Unfortunately kids are apt to get themselves into trouble during their teenaged years. Now I can't tell you why it is what it is. Perhaps a lot of them think they're bad and they always got something to prove. Perhaps their parents aren't able to reign some of them in. Who knows what it is.

All the same I want to share that comment with you. I have talked at times about the school system and sometimes I do mind sharing some harsh measures that I hope would make them better. This post may be cross-posted there, however, what will be said could be a little harsh. The main idea is to just consider what's wrong with our schools and what can be done to make them "right".
I note that the 7th Police District sends cars to all the high schools in that district at dismissal, just as the 6th District and 5th Districts do. They do that because at dismissal you have hundreds of young people coming out and lots of non students, many time gang bangers, hanging around to prey on/solicit/confront students who are just trying to get home. And we must not forget that some of those students are gangbangers themselves. It is a similar problem at the elementary schools as gang membership/involvement seems to be starting at a younger age.
In doing these posts over at the 6th, most of this statement isn't a surprise to me. Although to be honest I would have easily believed that the students were preying on each other while in school. Unfortunately this is what has been done in my experience. Of course that's not to say that there are young people who go to a rival school or indeed aren't in school at all who might pick on those who have just gotten out of school.

I always thought it was unfortunate that the police has to be present. On many days I hated to see Chicago Police use their sirens and their squad cars to essentially chase students away. I understand why it's done, because there are those who are looking to either make trouble or get into it. The sooner that they may go home, hopefully if there's one worth going to, the better.

Next point...
Also because the Chicago Public Schools must take every child, the children in our schools come to school suffering from all of the social and psychological conditions that exist in the general population. Unfortunately the schools don't have the resources to treat most of those conditions, thus the teachers and disciplinarians have their hands full.
Now this is where I get harsh. Does CPS have to take in every child? Think about it for a minute.

There is a reason why there are students who are suffering from social or psychological conditions. I would largely point my finger at the parents. I've probably mentioned this once before but I was on my way to class and saw the teacher arguing with a parent because she believe my teacher was picking on her daughter. The daughter was standing right there.

Granted I don't know the whole story, but ideally you might want to keep disagreements between adults behind closed doors. Especially if the daughter isn't exactly telling the complete truth about what's going on in class on any given day. Unfortunately there are parents out there who might want to believe that their children can do no wrong, even if that's right under their noses.

On the other hand, there are parents who generally don't care. On Friday, I posted a blog about some truant officers visiting a home in New Orleans where the parent has given up on her children. She talks like the state is going to take them and she's already decided that she doesn't want them anymore. What do we do about these parents that will neglect or otherwise just refuse to parent?

Final point...
For these reasons and many more, we celebrate the successes of the students and teachers whenever we can and encourage neighborhood organizations and churches to do the same. In each of the schools you have mentioned recently there are success stories. Robeson sent a young man to Northwestern with a 5 yr scholarship; there's a junior at Harlan who scored 23 on his ACT and has an internship at Northrup, etc., etc.
This is great! I like to hear success stories. In fact I do believe that we should hear success stories. Not all kids who attend many of these less successful neighborhood schools are headed towards jail or a life of working non-skilled jobs. There are more than a few who are going somewhere in their lives. I sincerely hope that we will be able to keep those kids and more on the track they need to be for their own success in their lives. For that reason I hope that the young man from Robeson or the junior from Harlan who scored a 23 on the ACT will not merely be the exception, but the rule.

I look forward to the day when the only news that comes from our high schools are that our students are successes doing very well in their lives and making the best marks in school. Hopefully I won't have to post these reports from EveryBlock Chicago that let us know that our students are either committing crimes or being the victims of crimes by their peers.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are now moderated because one random commenter chose to get comment happy. What doesn't get published is up to my discretion. Of course moderating policy is subject to change. Thanks!