Students cannot be compared to productsPublished 9:54pm Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Sometime last year, I went to a store in downtown Selma to pickup a couple of things. When it was my turn to pay, the young lady at the cash register who looked to be about 17 asked, “Dr. Ufomadu, card or cash.” Instead of answering her question, I got curious as to where she knew me. Church, I suggested and she said no; school board, no; friends of one of my children, she said no. Eventually she said, “I enjoy reading your articles in the newspaper.” I was stunned because that was not expected. Usually much older people that tell me about my column. This time it was a much younger person; consequently, I reassessed my writing strategy in terms of vocabulary.
Similarly, when I was first appointed to the school board, my original plan was to utilize my quality control and food safety experience in helping the overall school system’s goal, but as soon as I found out that the food safety aspects will work effectively, only, in the school cafeteria I adjusted for the better. Even as of this writing, I work with the superintendent to ensure that the act that created the new food safety standards for schools participating in the National School Lunch and Breakfast Program, which require each school system to develop and maintain a Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point, are maintained and followed strictly.
I have a folder of the sanitation and food safety performances of all the cafeterias in our district. While this fact may be unknown to fellow board members or insignificant to our overall goal, I adjusted knowing the importance of food safety to our students.
I also adjusted when I realized that in terms of products, my quality control input will not work with students who are considered the products of any public school.
For example, when products arrive at the facility that we inspect, we utilize every scientific or even non-scientific method to ensure that the incoming product meets the state and federal government standard in terms of safety. If it does not meet the standard, the product is retained and we refuse the entry of such a product. But with the school, all students are God’s children and should never be rejected. We must take them and make them better whether they are big, small, wealthy, poor, are exceptional, mistreated, terrified, secure or have special needs.
Don’t get me wrong, business backgrounds can be a plus in the educational leadership forum.
Worthy of note or adjustment, for many, is the fact that businesses are financed differently from public schools.
My points in this piece are that adjustments are not weakness and every experience in life counts. Don’t give up on what you’re positively doing and know that students are incomparable to other products.