Notes and comments on recent columns

Friday, June 18, 2010

Kathy Ridge had an interesting piece in the Observer this morning. A copy is here.

Steve Johnston’s piece in the Observer (here) prompted this reminder from A.M.:

“I don’t know if complacency is a hurdle, as much as capacity. Much that works during and outside of school hours is well known – by students, families, national improvement efforts, and it seems CMS is trying to adopt some of them; how many, how successfully, could be part of a comprehensive review. A question that remains is what does it take for a community – specifically, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg community – to champion change such that those practices are adopted.”

A.K.M. reports that a cross-CMS group of high school students is focusing on how to raise morale of teachers – because they believe that low teacher morale is getting in the way of their learning.

A.M., a retired teacher in Gaston County, recalls a third-grader of hers. “He couldn’t read but he had a mind that was unbelievable.” He parlayed a photographic memory into great success in the business world. Many gifts.

L.D. in another county says one assignment change that ought to be pursued is to create K-12 schools. Most North Carolinians went to such schools through the 1940s. And L.D. insists that young children who went to school with the older children in their family and the nearby families had a key advantage of strong mentors who looked after them. The Thomasboro Elementary School gym is one physical reminder of the years when CMS had all-grade schools, mostly ending at 11th grade.

“The overwhelming majority of children born out of wedlock do not stand a chance of succeeding in school,” scolds L.S. “The single parent is probably uneducated and lacks parenting skills. The child’s most formative years take place in this environment and we expect the schools to educate these children.”

Well, yes, because it’s not very kind to blame the victim (that is, the child) and none of us want to pay the much higher costs of the incarceration that is likely to follow from a failure to educate this child. L.S. also is irritable about incarceration costs – so what does it take to break into this cycle?