It is time to take back our schools

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 20, 2007

To the Editor:

In an effort to save America’s youth from the destruction that is corrupting and devaluing the public education system throughout the nation, I call on every member of Selma’s community to take an active role in the education of all students within the community. It is beneficial to all of us. Research has clearly associated an uneducated youth with a menace to society.

They have not been taught how to be a productive member of society. In a sense, society becomes his/her blame for not doing well in the world. I wish the public would hear the cries of educators as we solicit help from all stakeholders who will give of himself or herself to help some little boy or girl in a very small way. It could help bring a child out of the evil pits of becoming statistically known as “at risk.”

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As Gerald Shirley stated in an article I read, the high school exit exam may need to be reevaluated, if this indeed will increase student achievement and bridge the gap between all children. I would like to add to Mr. Shirley’s endeavor to enlighten the community that assessments are just one of the many resources teachers have to test the abilities of the youth that we serve. Testing does not assess the many obstacles that educators deal with on a daily basis such as the emotional, social, physical and reflective components of each child.

Educators must first find a way to help students deal with the barriers that sometimes hinder their desire to learn.

Testing does not assess how educators work to repair the social ills that many children come to school with because maybe they have not been taught how to work with others or how to solve problems.

Sometimes the public can become so critical of those who work with our youth daily because we become so concerned with the student’s cognitive abilities, but we fail to recognize the other components that build the “whole child.”

Once everyone takes responsibility for our role in building our communities, then we can raise the standards of high stake testing.

Selma still seems to be so far behind when it comes to community involvement. Citizens should demand to have input as to where your tax dollars go.

Selma does not invest in the children, the schools or the educators. It is hard to employ the best qualified leaders and teachers when the community offers very little.

In addition, some city officials bicker over things that will never change, but fail to see how our children are suffering at our hands. Officials pretend that they want to see a change, but offer lip service and no real people service.

After I left five years ago, I expected to come back and give to my community what I expected to be given to me prior to my leaving – a healthy dose of opportunity.

Instead, I realize the educational system has not gotten much better, city officials are still shouting about nothing and parental involvement is at an all-time low.

Citizens, I encourage you to stand tall and take a stand in your community. Develop your community and show pride by encouraging your neighbors to get involved. Selma could be a great place to raise children, live and work. I am proud to call it home, but ashamed of the situation that we have placed our children in.

Lawanna M. Lewis