Education Then, Education Now, Education Forever

As the election draws near, many young people, such as myself, have to decide who is the best candidate for presidency. I realize that as November draws near, this will be my first presidential election to vote in. This is a big deal. The candidate chosen will effect my future for the next four years. I am a senior in college and plan on working for and with the people. I plan on helping people who usually do not have a voice for themselves. As I have grown as a person, I realized that i have taken my education for granted. I grew up always going to a private school and now a private college. It was not until my senior year that I realized that my education was different. I began working for a small non profit after school care program. I worked with 3rd grade students from a Jackson Public School. Within a few short minutes, I realized, these 3rd graders are not on a 3rd grade level. Some of the students I worked with could not even read or know simple addition. As I have continued to work in local non profits, dealing with JPS school system, I have noticed many things that are upsetting.

  • JPS is a predominantly black school system
  • The majority of students receive free or reduced lunch
  • Students are falling behind in their studies, which is making them drop outs or not entering college

The lack of education within the JPS system has many to blame. As I continue work at a local JPS middle school, I have seen environments that are not an ideal setting for learning…or breathing. Students are treated as criminals, walking through metal detectors as soon as they hit the door. Snacks that they have brought for themselves are confiscated, only to be eaten by the security guards as they watch, teachers curse and yell at students instead of using techniques of how to properly discipline students, teachers are teaching classes that they are not qualified to teach, and it shows. The list can go on for days… As many students within the JPS system have to leave a treacherous environment to only enter in another treacherous environment that should be a place of safety and higher learning, I can understand why students think school is a waste.

If students are reminded everyday that they are great… and are constantly encouraged to do great things, then it is proven  they will do great things, they will become great. If you constantly bring them down and pounce on their self esteem, it will only diminish it.

JPS has recently hired a new superintendent. He wears a bow-tie (cute). It has been over 3 weeks since the start of school, and some students are not even in the right classes, its been 3 weeks. He has called to order meetings that he has called “dialogues” but, he has yet to allow people to ask questions… that is called a monologue. I follow his twitter page, and as I scramble through the purposely posed pictures of students and the encouraging scripture, I can see… that there is potential. But everyone has pontential. What pisses me off the most is, these students have seen potential walk in of their life everyday, but that potential has also have used that same door to walk out.

When working with these students I have realized that when you take time with them, when you actually show that you care, they see it. They also see right through the B.S. Brains are sponges. Everyone has potential, positive and negative. There is a large population of JPS students with all the potential in the world, there is a large population of students everywhere with all the potential in the world. Who is going to help them center it into a positive manner?

So as the election draws near… we always hear, children are our future. The future that I see needs to change. I want every student to have a chance. Education shouldn’t have to be paid for. Education should be adequate everywhere and no student should be left behind.

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