A quick look at the news these days can get a little upsetting. Civil Wars. Natural disasters. Climate change. Political rancor. Things can get to feeling a little bit bleak.
One of the great things about being an educator, though, is that, in the midst of, all of the troubles in the world, you get to walk into work every day with beaming young people brimming with possibility. When I’m not having a good day, I figure out a way to get to an elementary school for a quick visit, and I usually leave filled with something that much of the rest of the world rarely offers–hope. Those young folks, with their missing teeth and oversized backpacks, are going to lead us out of all of these messes, and sometimes it’s enough to just to be around for a bit.
[Note: The following post is taken from the blog of the Durham Association of Educators. Click HERE to read the post and see the photographs.]
It’s been a long time.
For those who don’t know, the Durham Association of Educators set out on a mission last year. The goal was this: 53 public schools in Durham, 53 blog posts about what is good in each of them. Every day, the people trying to privatize our schools tell us lies about them, even though few of those folks have ever stepped into one. They say that they are failing. They say that teachers are lazy. They say that certain kids (Black, Brown, poor, kids with disabilities, etc.) can’t learn and should just get the minimum required. Anyone who has ever been in a school knows that none of this is true, but we need more people saying it in more places. So we set out to tell our stories and create more tools in the fight to DEFEND and TRANSFORM public schools.
We visited 50 of 53 schools, and wrote blog posts about 40 of them. This year, then, we are out to highlight the rest. And we start that process with the Pearsontown Magnet Elementary Pandas.
The whole point of the Durham Association of Educators’ “What’s Good?” campaign, readers may recall, is to highlight all of the amazing and miraculous things taking place in Durham’s public schools every day, in contrast to the well-coordinated-and-funded narrative that “public schools are failing.” That narrative, of course, is the “air war” component of the strategy to privatize schooling in the U.S. and introduce a profit motive into a part of society that had mostly been off limits to the stock market. The strategy to dismantle our schools is multi-pronged, but is winning largely based on the widespread public acceptance of the “failing” story. Once people believe the narrative, a whole host of problems, from de-funding and under resourcing to “white flight” and the reinforcing of layers of privilege and “choice”, follow. If our schools are failing, after all, why should we send our kids or our money there?
[NOTE: The following post is from the blog of the Durham Association of Educators. Click HERE to read the original post and see the photographs.]
It’s the new year, and as DAE digs back in to its exploration of all of the best that Durham’s public schools have to offer, I’m delighted to start with a school that nurtures and highlights its students’ creativity. Sandy Ridge Visual and Performing Arts Elementary School is a relatively new addition to the Durham landscape, but its spirit feels solid, and the coherence of its culture is immediately evident.
Our family has had a great experience at Hope Valley Elementary – it has not only been a positive educational experience – they have all been challenged at the appropriate level and all have had wonderful teachers – but I have also found that our involvement with Hope Valley has also been a great community builder for our family. We feel significantly more connected to our neighborhood, the kids have made friends in the neighborhood who ride the bus with them and attend their school but, other than that, our kids are exposed to kids from families like theirs and ones dramatically different from theirs and they have made friends with kids all across that spectrum.