It’s been a long while since I sat down and blogged. I’ve been preoccupied with writing another edition of my Men, Djinn, and Angels series and regrettably have not written about the pressing things on my mind. I have waited far too long to share my thoughts and I am very much in shock and awe at how public-school systems throughout the US have such poor and similar cultures. So, I want to share- and I have a lot to share. This may take a few blogs, and I hope that I can entice others to share and start a nationwide, perhaps, a worldwide conversation regarding the educational system.
I would like to preface my blog by saying that the school systems are run and operated by some of the brightest minds in the nation. I’m talking about principals who have multiple degrees and make six figure incomes. With that, there are school boards with elected officials and superintendents who are also well decorated with degrees and accomplishments, and who also work with other elected officials to create policy for school systems. Then we have federal input; the president even appoints someone to his cabinet for education. The point is that the education system is a huge business that is run by some of the most intelligent people we have to offer. So, when I say that it is painfully obvious that the school systems and their cultures are designed to function as they do, I do not understand how anyone could reasonably refute my claim. I have come to believe that what we see as flaws in the educational system are not flaws at all; they are intentional and well-placed snares that create and sustain an American caste system.
Please take for an example this one school on the West Coast area called Graham-Central High School (This is a fictional name); where the population is 19% African American, 8% Asian, 33% Hispanic, 11% Pacific Islander, 22% white, and 7% other. The average family income is under $40,000. The African American principal is in his late forties; a flamboyant man who can be oddly animated and presents a decorum no different from his fraternity brothers two decades his youth.
I was at a football game in support of the school with a friend who teaches there, when I became annoyed with the principal’s frequent commercial breaks during the timeouts and sometimes between plays. In these commercial breaks, he boasted about the school’s accomplishments. “Did you know that Graham-Central High School has the lowest dropout rate in the state? Did you know that Graham-Central High School is ranked 19th in the state for attendance? Did you know that Graham-Central High School has the highest graduation rate in the entire city?”
I wanted to stand up and say, did you know that Graham-Central High School just yesterday lost one of their special education students who walked out of class and out of the building without anyone noticing? Did you know that student is dealing with autism? Did you know that the student should have had a one on one assistant, a teacher’s aide, or someone trained to work with children dealing with autism in class with the student, having an eye on that student during his entire school day? Considering that recent event, I was utterly annoyed that the principal, Mr. Golden (also a fictitious name) would spend so much time making these announcements at the Homecoming football game.
As the story surrounding the student who walked out of the classroom goes, for some reason, the student just decided to leave class. There was a teacher in the room with fifteen other students who also had special needs, but he was limited in what he could legally do. When the student left the room, the teacher could not go into the hallway to bring him back – such an act would have led to disciplinary actions for leaving the class unattended. He did, however, use his radio to call security – the four-man crew to protect the two-level building and its 18 hallways, 8 bathrooms, cafeteria and gymnasium; not to mention the ten unlocked doors that allow easy access in and out of the school. In the end, there were no working cameras and no one to stop the student from exiting the building. After four hours of looking through the school, the staff contacted the police who still could not find the student. The next day, it was discovered that the student was found six miles away from the school walking down the street. It was after 8 p.m. and the student had been missing for nearly nine hours.
I only wish this was the worst story I could tell about Graham-Central High School, but it is not. I am just baffled at how the public accepts what happens in the school system and I remain convinced that these are not flaws and the Dr. Goldens of the educational system are strategically placed where they are.