I think that the world would be a lot better off if more people were to define themselves in terms of their own standards and values and not what other people said or thought about them. -Hillary Clinton
In my neighborhood sits a 50-year old school that almost everyone in my town has attended. The school started as a junior high school then evolved into an elementary school in which I attended in the early 90’s. During my time as a student there, the school was awarded as a school of excellence and to me was a magical land of education. When I was younger, I imagined my children attending this educational institution so that they could experience the same joys that I once felt, but over the years the school’s reputation had taken a dramatic decline.
Nevertheless, I had the privilege to do so and I also became involved with the school’s PTA and School Council, until recently when I discovered that my 3rd grade daughter was close to being retained. Though I had many conferences with her teachers and kept her in tutoring programs, my daughter’s grade continued to take a dive.
After talking to my mother who had been an educator for more than 25 years, we decided that my daughter needed an ‘better’ environment and enrolled her into the school that my mother worked. I talked to the principal- who had been my mentor for years; and I relayed to him how much I didn’t want to send my daughter to another school.
“You have to do what’s best for your child Ms. Ladson.” was his only response.
In fact, every time I open up about this situation, I’m met with this same expression.
“You have to do what’s best for your child Ms. Ladson.”
What could be better than walking my daughter to school every morning? Or talking with her teachers face to face? Or being able to enjoy eating lunch with her and her friends? What could be better than my daughter taking pride in her school that is right in her community?
To these questions- I continue to draw a blank.
In my opinion, the school isn’t a bad school because of it’s location. The school is a bad school because of the bad thoughts that people think towards the facility and the inhabitants of the community. The neighborhood is bad because the residents think of it as a trash can or a ghetto.
There is no better place than where we are right now. There is no better school than the schools in our neighborhoods. There is no one better to clean up our communities than us. There is no love better that the love we have for ourselves.