August 22, 2003


Time to educate our children

Amidst the furor over the recall election and the horror of the ongoing war, summer vacation has rapidly come to an end for the thousands of children who attend traditional school. Parents are out buying school clothes and registering the young students. Administrators are already at work and teachers are busily preparing their classrooms in anticipation of greeting their young learners.

With the start of school season, as in years past, it has meant the renewed hostilities between school boards and administrators versus teachers and parents. This hostility at times has taken on outright viciousness, but mostly it has created an atmosphere of distrust and dysfunction. And the ones who suffer are the students, our children.

Students that are most affected by a dysfunctional system are minority and low-income students. In particular Hispanic students. It then comes as no surprise that the Hispanic dropout rates are the highest among the three major ethnic/racial groups. Fewer Hispanics complete a four-year college degree. And with San Diego city schools Latinos scored proficient as readers at less than half the rate as whites. Wealthier students were proficient at more than twice the rate than poor students were in reading and at nearly twice the rate in math.

Minorities not receiving the full benefits of a good education is not something new; it is an age-old problem. What is new, is that now more than ever, educating Hispanic and minority children has taken on utmost importance not only locally but also nationally. The effort is reflected in the “No Child Left Behind” program and locally “The Blueprint for Success”. This is not to say that these programs are a success, far from it, but it is evidence that concerted efforts are being explored to address the need to educate this community.

The Hispanic community, by virtue of its size, is the future of America and the level of education attained by this community will determine America’s future.

To educate Hispanics it will take the combined effort of administrators, teachers, unions, community groups, school boards, and the business community, with mutual respect, working towards achieving the ultimate goal of an equal education for all children.

For the educational community to divide itself into two opposing camps does a disservice to all parties involved. All the individuals involved with education all have the same ultimate goal. Administrators and teachers are in this chosen field, not for the money or glory, but because they have an inner motivation to guide our youth so that they may become the future leaders, the future workforce, the future writers, poets and artists, to become future teachers. The reward for the educational community comes in the form of seeing their students succeed at learning. On this point the educational community can agree on.

On how we educate this community is where the differences arise and infighting begins. Education is not a science but is an art, with the seemingly one constant, success begins at home!

Let us hope; no, let us work towards a more unified effort by the educational community to achieve the one common goal – to educate our children.

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