I spend a great deal of time being ashamed in the schools here in Nashville and hence I call them dumpsters as they are simply trashing the idea that education is a value and should be one for all. I perhaps cling to an outdated model of public education and in turn the irony being that I was privately school educated up until college where I went to the University of Washington. There I realized how unprepared I was for most academia and I finally found my footing when I entered the Sociology program there where many of the Professors were leading the way in the field that for decades was the University of Chicago's province. But without true mentorship and guidance I floundered into my eventual profession of Teaching which surprisingly I was and am good at. The poor student became a better teacher and likely it was because I had many poor an inadequate Teachers whom I never would emulate. That was Catholic School then and I suspect Catholic School now. Just I was unaware of the raping and molesting. And the abuse and exploitation of young girls in laundries, whose children were taken from then and other things that Nuns did to equally demonstrate that the Church is toxic when it comes to their leadership. And hence you have what you have today, the concept of collusion in that faith. But it exists in public education and nowhere have I seen this quite like I have in Nashville. Good times.
Now at 60 and wanting to write and explain and in turn teach through my writing what is like to live in the South, to be a Teacher in America and be a woman of a "certain age" I realize I need to get busy and just write. Finding the time and energy seems always to be the Push Me Pull You of life. But I follow education rigorously despite my no longer wanting to work in the field as it is essential to finding new ways to explain the endless churn of the field and the current trends in what is now about reformation. Funny how that worked out for the Catholic Church and again only shows how intertwined Church and Schools are when it comes to structure, discipline and even curriculum.
I think of education more like food but if in all fairness it is modeled after Churches down to the hierarchy and the concept of how the interaction and relationships are formed and modeled. Think of your Teacher and how they are like a Minister or Pastor. No one demonstrated this more than Fred Rogers who was an ordained Minister but his congregation was much larger and broader than any church or school as he found the best medium in which to preach and he opened that door for more conventional churches to follow. Well if one thinks of the crop of TV Ministers conventional.
When I read the article about this individuals "school" I was not sure what to say or how to respond as right away the trigger concepts of race and class dominate the issue. It is what I say repeatedly here when I discuss the odd co-dependence and strange projection which I now have come to learn is Emeshment. The disturbing disconnect, the lack of boundaries and the way discipline is disbursed and I do mean that, it is selective it is confusing and utterly without any definitive resolution. This absurd push for restorative justice is clearly not administered correctly and the concept of Social Emotional learning is one that requires a team of individuals and family engagement otherwise it is all for naught. I am not for mass suspensions and I do think that has become an easy catchall but the reality of having proper discipline programs again comes to one thing money and there is no demand for that when it comes to this issue.
One of the many concepts or trends is learning by those of one's own color and the other is by computers. Either/Or Neither/Nor seem to be the reality is not matched with the ideal. I am all for using tech but it is not the replacement for qualified, trained educators who are receiving quality, well established and tested dogma. Things learned in the field and taught in the field and in turn from that we see what works, what doesn't and what needs to be tweaked, tossed or blessed. In all honesty that is a ever changing necessity that funding does not allow. So we get something of this mishmash that sits on our plates that are not only leftover but on the verge of rotting.
I am frequently asked about Charters and they are littering the landscape here but they are hardly the panacea one believes and if private schools were so great then the post secondary rates of graduation would be higher so I am not sure Education is quite as important as led to believe by the outgoing Governor.
Race, ethnicity and in turn regional attitudes do affect how education is perceived and in turn administered. Until the push under G.W. Bush there was little national focus on the curriculum then came No Child Left Behind with benchmarks that States were to achieve regarding testing in which to receive federal funds. Then came Every Child Succeeds under Obama and with that the same and a bigger push towards Charters as his Ed Secretary, Arnie Duncan, had links to them. Now with Trump and the Devos idiot it is religious domain time with a push towards that and vouchers. But again when it comes to clearly trying to understand why some children succeed and so do not there is no imperative despite all the acronyms and much of the heavy lifting has come from the Oligarch community. First: Eli Broad and his Residency Program /Superintendent Academy which I want to point out is largely attended by faces of color and he is not and what it was and is purpose seems to go without any attention other than parental and school activism communities. From there many of those grads have had mixed to poor success and in turn been marginalized by their communities for their role in an institute that seems to want to privatize education not actually improve it. Second: Bill Gates whose mishandling of the Common Core guidelines made States kill each other for something no one knew definitively that this curriculum and testing would work but it had a check attached and anything for money said the Prostitute. And while our current Director was not a grad of this academy he had as a mentor a former one and many of his decisions and programs are lifted right out playbook. And his former district was riddled with sexual scandals, grade inflation and test doctoring. And here we are and the cards are tossed.
But few stories compare to this one of the schools of T.M. Landry. When I read this my hair stood on end. The odd discipline, the abuse, the focus on testing, the fraudulent transcripts, the manipulation and extortion. Then lastly the tossing of race cards wrapped in religion. Well I have seen versions of this in my time here, and down to the choking, the verbal abuse and even sexual relationships. The fraudulent test data, the grade changing and graduation records are also issues that have plagued schools that serve largely poor and minority students. I am not sure how to explain it without finding ways to somehow prevent me from seeming racist to accuse other faces of color as failing to do their job, treat children equally and without bias and projection and I don't think it is possible as our racial divisions are just too deep and long. But when one exploits their own I am not sure what to make of it or what to say. And I also have to remind myself the South's roots are intertwined and buried deep. I don't think anything will change. Shame shame shame.