This week’s prompt from my wonderful Super Fly Writing Group (or SFWG to the cognoscenti) is “write something about ‘school.'” Now, one might think that this would be easy to me, as (in the dreaded day job) I am in fact an employee of the local school board. Not only that, my DH is an educator at the college level, and I have two daughters, both of whom are in school. ]
But the sad fact is, that if one thinks that, one would be wrong. Dead wrong. Wrong in a major way. Please note above that I didn’t say I work for the “school district” or the “school system.” I am something of a rara avis in terra (Ooooh wee! Look at Romancemama slinging the foreign phrases here!) Unlike the teachers, the bus drivers, the cafeteria workers and the numerous other dedicated workers who make the schools run, I am actually, legally, an employee directly supervised by the five member School Board. I don’t work for the Superintendent of Schools. I report directly to, and work at the sole pleasure of, a five-member elected board.
Which means, boys and girls, that I don’t like to make public statements about the schools. Anything I say can — and often is — mistakenly laid at the feet of my bosses. As a general rule, I try to let somebody else give sound bites while I take care of business.
So it has been a struggle to come up with something I felt I could say about schools. But, as y’all know, I have been known to have an opinion or two, and I’d like to express one of them. One that I don’t think anyone associated with my day job will disagree with. (Yes, I know! “With which they will disagree.” Thank you, Strunk and White.)
There are a lot of people spouting off about “what’s wrong with our schools” these days. And yeah, there is stuff wrong. So if you — or any of the politicians du jour — think you know what to do to fix ’em, bring it. But one request of you, before you tell me all about your plans to overhaul the whole system.
WORK IN IT.
We here in my local school district are begging for people to help us. We have kids who need mentors, who need tutors, who just need a friendly word from someone. God knows, our teachers are overworked just trying to keep up with the paperwork and teaching the standardized test prep. There are some kids who need a whole lot more individualized attention than any teacher can give.
So tell me all about your charter schools, your standards and policies and rules. I’m all ears. But –and I’m looking at y’all, candidates for public office — spend a few hours in a classroom and then tell me your plans.
We need people who care, not just more plans and policies.