The state of Mississippi is a hot-topic this month. Today, it is education causing heated debates and removing the “smoke” the incumbents are blowing on the subject of School Choice. Mississippi Republican Legislators denounced the issue of School Choice, and this time it was more than just a parent pushing back, it was a voter pushing back. (Kellogg, 2015) These parents have been “educated” themselves on the advantages and disadvantages of the School Choice agenda, and the 2016 year appears as the one where students will have well-informed parents, who may lack opportunity to choose their school next time.
Most government officials will tell you education is in need of funding, and the problem is we need to put more money back into the school systems. We need to build and we need to bring more into what we have. We need to give back to the community, and by taking away from it, we have schools closing, we have dilapidated buildings, with empty halls, no longer filled with laughing, learning children. These same government officials will stand before you and say, “Our schools need more money, more computers, more supplies, and more time to make a difference!
The American Federation for Children will tell you, each school gets approximately $13,000 per student now. (Children, 2013-2014) Each school gets funding for other things they need through grants and educational donations, all of which stops when the head count goes down and your child stops going. The American Federation for Children tells you about a plan they have which offers you a choice of which school your child goes to. Every parent knows what “zoning” means. If you are a new parent, this means where you live dictates where you go to school; hence, your zone is for a school based on where you live. How many times has the phrase “I don’t want my kid going there, that’s a black school”? No, the school is not painted black. The school’s location is in a community, where the residents living there contain a pigment in their skin, which gives it brown to black appearance, or where one of the persons is of mixed race. It works both ways as well.
Issues with zoning has brought to the surface, the potential closeness of how zoning, influences segregation. Some people will move to an area where their child (ren) may attend a school zoned for that area. Some teachers will teach at a school considered “a better or the best school”, so their kids may attend there. In an effort to achieve the concept of having your child (ren) in the best schools, parents will move into a community zoned for that school. However, there is still the racial divide in the community and in the school systems.
All parents want their child (ren) to get the best education in a safe environment. School Choice would give them that. All child (ren) would be offered the opportunity to apply to a school regardless of race, location, or GPA. All of which have been factors used against applicants thus far when applying at Charters. These schools only take so many students, and once you apply limiting factors to the intake process? Think Progress recently ran a program called American Life – the Resegregation of American Public Schools. This resegregation, or desegregation focused on a predominantly white school district in Missouri, post Ferguson, after the death of Michael Brown. White residents had just learned that students from the mostly black district including some from Ferguson, Missouri would be joining their own children due to a law giving students in failing school systems the opportunity to attend classes elsewhere. It was in the light of this decision, the typical mindset of white parents, observed and documented,
“When one mother demanded metal detectors and drug sniffing dogs, because she falsely believed that the black district was struggling because of a record of ‘violent behavior’. “I shopped for a school district!” she proclaimed as the crowd of white parents erupted around her in cheers, “I deserve to not have to worry about my children getting stabbed, or taking a drug, or getting robbed.” (Millhiser, 2015)
I have spoken to some people who live in the inner cities and their fears are much the same as the woman mentioned above, since this is a very real situation for the people, the parents and the kids in her neighborhoods. Some parents wonder if there is more teaching from the other kids there, than the educators, just because of the potential for violence if their child (ren) are not responsive to those putting pressure on them. Politicians and legislators do not have this for their kids to worry about, and government is content to wait for funding, because they have time. However, if you live it, you don’t have the luxury of time. You want change now, since that is what you live in, you pray in, and it is all in real-time.
School Choice is spoken about a lot, and in the coming year of 2016, election coverage will focus on it, and the American Federation for Children will be pushing for a candidate who will focus on the needs of the parents and not the needs of the government. This year is an election year focused on change in the school system. Educators are begging for parental involvement and more responsibility for their children, so they are willing and able, let them. It would be a good time to start focusing on the best for the children. All of the Republican candidates are talking about School Choice, and I think Presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina said it best when she said, “Parents should be given choice, competition and accountability in the classroom.” The needs of the children, based on what the parents want. (FIorina, 2015) Maybe, this could be the year we see a push to get prayer, to get God back in our schools. We may start with our Charter schools. What a great start; although, next year those lines would get a bit longer, and bit more competitive. Then again, competitiveness is what the economists say education needs to make the system get better.
Our Two Cents:
Growth and Prayer, who knew? I think that pretty much says it. I think of my children every day and all day. I think of the children I have taught as students, and I pray they lead productive lives as adults, and I pray they find Jesus to do so. I ran across a prayer as a young teacher years ago, and I would read it when I would worry over my children, and I would read it when I worried over my students. When a child didn’t come to class every day, or was out sick, or had something going on in their life, and I was aware. I will share it with you now, as we turn to the Lord, shall we?
My Children, My Students, My Parents:
I pray there’s not a day you can remember when you don’t
That you understand your need for a SAVIOR
at an early age & experience the freedom that comes from
GIVING YOUR LIFE TO HIM.
I pray that praise would be in your heart,
AND ON YOUR LIPS CONTINUALLY.
I pray that you would know who you are in light of
THE GOSPEL. THAT YOU WOULD HAVE A
& CHRIST-CENTERED CHURCH WORTH.
I pray that you would hate sin & love holiness
THAT YOU WOULD KNOW THE
POWER OF THE BLOOD
TO DEFEAT ALL THE WORKS OF THE ONE WHO CAME
TO KILL, STEAL & DESTROY
That you develop relationships based on the drawing
OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.
I pray that you would love the work of God
that you would seek to understand it, & hide it in your heart,
& BASE YOUR LIFE ON IT
I pray you will love others well
That you would have a servant’s heart
& a desire for your life to be used for,
SOMETHING GREATER THAN YOURSELF.