Now this is one anecdotal case where the student was arrested for being connected to drug and gangs. But over the years there have been a number of them. In some cases it is an innocent kid coming back to the neighborhood and being cut down in intentional or accidental violence. For those of us who taught for a long time in one school there have always been these heartbreaking stories.
I remember one of my kids in the 1975 top class - his name was Benjamin. He had a older brother in hie late teens or early 20's named Michael who was a real role model - I think he might have gone to a prep for prep. I don't remember if it was that year or a few years later but one night he went to a party, left the party and was never seen again. Benjy's dad was naturally devastated and I think the search went on for a long time but don't remember it ever being resolved. I have visions of that dad's face as I write this.
I've often written about my former student Ernie Silva's coming of age one man play and how even bright, academically successful students have to battle the street.
So when I get hot about the ed deform agenda that pushes the idea that all we need to do is get rid of the bad teachers we will go a long way to solving the problems. One could make the case that all we need to do is get rid of the bad cops - I mean if there is street crime and drugs it must be the fault of the cop on the beat, right? Or maybe get rid of the worst social workers who don't seem to be able to stop the street from getting so many kids. And I'll venture into the health field - the bad medical people who "allow" a higher degree of sickness amongst poor people. Did you see that one third of patients in hospitals get something bad happen to them while there and how there were screams they were not allowed to adjust for risk factors of the patients?
I guess I get particularly perturbed by E4E types - led by 2 or 3 year teachers - who put their energies into the kind of activities that have minuscule if any impact on the kids while proclaiming to care about kids. But they ignore the street. But of course the people backing them are purposely ignoring the street as a factor. But that is where the buck to open an office and hire staff to do no good works lie.
I was sufficiently worked up about these activities to put together a leaflet which I can send to anyone who is facing an E4E invasion of their school.
Also come see our response to the film "Waiting for Superman" also funded by billionaires. It is called "The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman" and will be premiering in May. This film has no funding and was made by educators in NYC schools working in NYC schools. We will be making DVDs available for showing in school and house parties. Check our blog for the premiere.
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