[NOTE: This article was originally published in the blog of the Durham Association of Educators. Click HERE to read it and see the photographs.]
“There is no other job where I would get to know all of these amazing people.”
In my 12 years working in public schools, I’ve heard lots of descriptions of the work that educators do. Some people talk about the challenges and the inspiration to be a better person, and model better personhood for young people, every day. Other people talk about the exhilaration in the moment the “light comes on” for students, or the frustration of a lesson that doesn’t land quite right. Others still will point to the exhaustion from the long hours or the pressures from every angle. The work of educating young people, it seems, sparks feelings that run the entire range of the human emotional spectrum. But amidst all of it, the quote from a Southern School of Energy and Sustainability Teacher above remains one of the clearest expressions of what it means to be an educator that I’ve ever heard. Our public schools are filled with amazing people, and it was an absolute honor to get to spend some time with the amazing folks at Southern High recently.
This past Wednesday, the Russian delegation from Sister Cities of Durham, had breakfast with Mr. Daniel Miller’s Russian class students. I can’t say enough great things about how fantastic the students were in greeting, hosting and dialoging with the visitors. Students brought in home made breakfast items, many were Russian recipes and it made the Russian visitors feel so special.
[NOTE: The following post was originally published in the blog of the Durham Association of Educators. Click HERE to read it and see the photographs.]
For those who are new to this blog, its purpose is to tell a different version of the story of Durham’s public schools than you often hear in the media, in hopes that we can begin to tell a different story about public schools across the county. Ever since Ronald Reagan’s Secretary of Education issued the “A National At Risk” report in 1983, the dominant narrative about public schools in the U.S. is that they are failing. This argument is then used to break up our democratically-controlled public school systems with charters and private schools that can’t be held accountable by voters. There are a million and one different ways to approach this question, but after touring 35 of Durham’s 54 schools, I will continue to argue that our schools are teaching young people more, and earlier in their lives, than they ever have.
[NOTE: This article was originally posted in the blog of the Durham Association of Educators. Click HERE to read it and view the photographs.]
One of the biggest critiques that the proponents of privatization and charter-ization make of traditional public school systems is that they are unable to innovate, specialize, or create flexible options for students on non-traditional paths to be successful. They sell themselves as the only places where students can have autonomy and choice, and the only places where teachers can think and teach outside of the box. They rely on the widespread narrative about failing public schools and assume that most people won’t do the research of visiting schools themselves.
Jordan High School’s Rocketry Team was accepted into the NASA Student Launch program again this year. The team wrote a 100+ page proposal and it was one of 13 high schools accepted nationwide into the program this year. The team is designing and building a high powered rocket that will carry a scientific experiment to an altitude of 1 mile and safely return it to Earth.