The Plight Of The Inner School

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The real plight of the city schools in Chattanooga represents a failure of purpose. What I mean by that is that children in the other schools in the district receive an adequate education based on three important variables. One is a supportive parent or parents. Another is a neighborhood safe and the third and probably the most important, readiness for school. This child comes to school with some background in learning. He/she is provided with conversation with adults and extended families. The parents probably have a high school or better education. 

The inner city child has none of the three and starts school behind, stays behind and is often promoted, not for progress but for another, sometimes reasoning that borders on silly. He might be promoted because he has made two to three months of reading progress in first grade and real important, he is a behavior problem. Two questions for that decision. One is why so little progress in reading and secondly, why did he become a behavior problem?  The answer to both is quite simple. The child, often a boy, reacts to learning environments where he struggles without support and eventually may display oppositional behaviors that are disruptive to the class and the teacher. If one is privy to conversation in the faculty room during lunch one would leave wondering if teaching is really a calling or a curse. "Why he threw his papers on the floor, made me so angry..."  

The five zoned schools that might be taken over by the state will remain in a state of constant failure until and when the educators, all of them, decide that something is not working well and begin a program for the small child. Woodmore and Orchard Knob Elementary develop a program that is all inclusive. By that I mean the entire family is part of the learning process. Mom cannot help the child if she doesn't know how.

The solutions to the inner city dilemma requires different thinking and different people making those decisions. You know the old phrase, doing the same thing over and again expecting a different result is a definition of something wrong.  Where are those thinkers and doers?   

Robert Brooks



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