Education Must Be a Community Effort
Sunday, March 3, 2013 • 7:41pm
Over the past few months, you've seen a plethora of letters from individuals discussing issues ranging from escalating taxes to the lack of sufficient educational structure in Paterson. All the letters are, in my opinion, are spot on. I hope more citizens will begin speaking up for what they believe in. I would like to add to the conversation a bit. You know, add my "two cents" if you please. Now, I will not speak on taxes, but I will endeavor to speak to the issue of the compromised educational structure in this city.
I must begin by saying that I'm not a bystander. I'm not just sitting around and looking for things to harp on. I'm in the streets daily, listening to the concerns of parents and trying my level best to point them in the right direction. It doesn't take brain science to see that our schools are having multiple difficulties. From the administration on down, there's a lack of genuine leadership. The love of money has become the driving force instead of having a heartfelt passion to see all of Paterson's students succeed academically.
In my opinion, 90 Delaware has become too top heavy. Positions are being created on the fly while schools are literally falling apart. Students have to make due with far less than what they deserve. Teachers are required to work miracles with insufficient tools. It is a disservice to our children when we fail to provide them with an adequate learning environment that is conducive for them to obtain the level of education needed to succeed in this world.
Parents aren't showing up to board meetings on a semi regular basis to find out what's going on in their district. Teachers have an overall low morale that's been brought on by years of infighting with the district over contract negotiations. It's a mess, we can't deny that - we can't ignore it either. It's almost become an educational "standoff" between the district, parents and teachers. And the ones who become the most affected by all this commotion are the students, as their educational needs are held hostage.
All the best,
As in life, there are two sides to every story. On the one hand, we hear about how well the district is doing, but when you speak with parents it's a totally different issue. My question is this, when can we all sit around the same table and begin to hash out all of the differences? At some point, both sides will have to yield to the children. After all, that's why we're here, right? For the children. That must be our primary focal point and center of every decision we make whether parents, educators, clergy or administrators.
This letter is not intended to step on anyone's toes. Everything I've written is public knowledge. Parents have been complaining for years about these issues. As a parent, I see it. As a board member, I hear about it. I just want to solve it. I believe the only way to get past this situation is to bring the children to the forefront and let them talk about their findings and concerns that they have about what's going on in their schools. They are the ones who will be most affected by whatever decisions that are made.
It breaks my heart each time I hear someone make a disparaging remark about our schools. I can't stand it. Something must be done to change the general publics view of our schools. One person put it plainly, stating that we had the worst performing schools in the State of New Jersey. To me, that's appalling. That means all of the meetings, workshops are meaningless to those people and to the community at large. Before we can change the culture in the schools, a change must be realized at the helm.
When I travel to other cities and tell folks that I'm a board member from the Paterson School District, some of them begin to snicker and some even laugh under their breath. This type of response lets me know that other cities see us as a joke. Many people have the persuasion that nothing good will come about in this district other than various isolated incidents, but no consistently successful happenings. Again, this causes great concern for me and for all who want better for all of our children and for all of our schools.
In conclusion, I make an appeal to all of the citizens, parents, school administrators, clergy, advocates and activists. Lets do all we can to make our schools better. If that means putting our agendas on the back burner to do so, than so be it. We owe it to all of the students. I've heard high school students say that they were thinking of dropping out because they feel no one cares about them or their education. That's a serious problem. Against all odds we must do what we can to make this better for our students.
Corey L. Teague
NOTE: (This letter solely reflects my personal opinions and NOT those of the Paterson School District or Board Of Education.)
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