For first-time readers, this blog is set in the future (sometime after 2020).  This entry assumes the Revenge Revolution has occurred.  For more information about the anticipated 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution — and more background about the author, Entry #1.  One another note: almost all characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations.  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments. 

Scene: Continuation of Entry #153. Jordan and JC, a long-time friend (and frequent character) are having dinner. Time of year – just about when school starts.

JC: “So you think the way to improve education is double teachers’ salaries and show 010414_1635_16TeachingS1.jpgrespect for the teaching profession?”

Jordan: “If forced to a 10-second sound bite, ‘yes,’ double salaries and show respect. But you and I know the solution is more complicated.”

JC: “You mean like students wanting to learn?”

Jordan: “When talking about students wanting to learn, a bunch of clichés come to mind. ‘You can lead a horse to water…’ ‘You can’t move anything by pushing on a string.’ And some others.”

JC: “Understand what you mean. But how do you intend to change these kids minds…have them want to learn?”

TurtleneckJordan: “That’s where good teachers come in. The decision to learn starts at home but…”

JC: “…but in many cases, there is no encouragement at home. Plus, some kids don’t seem to understand the importance of learning, especially how it affects them long-term.”

Jordan: “No matter what we do, there will be some kids who resist education. Teachers can be inspirational for some and reinforce the inspiration for others. But there is some percentage that will resist learning…at least publicly.”

JC: “I know we talked about this earlier but I still remember how excited I used to get Black School Teacherbefore English and math classes. I loved those classes.”

Jordan: “I hear ya. Did I ever tell you what happened in 8th grade math?”

JC: “Mrs. D your teacher?”

Jordan: “Yes. Remember the Cootie Bug game?”

JC: “Had some sort of bug-like thing, didn’t it?”

Jordan: “Right. Mrs. D had an extra-credit program called the Cootie Club. The program was designed to last the entire year. When you finished a section of extra-cootie bugcredit work, you were given part of the Cootie Bug.”

JC: “Let me guess. You finished early.”

Jordan: “Finished all the coursework and all the extra credit material by mid-October.”

JC: “The whole year’s work and extra-credit stuff by mid-October? What’d she do with you then?”

Jordan: “Made me a teaching assistant, helping other kids and grading papers.”

JC: “That’s great. But you were inspired before class even started. You loved math.”

Jordan: “True and she let me run at my own pace…as fast as I wanted. She was a true teacherinspiration for me.”

JC: “OK, but what about kids whose parents are so encouraging or who live in lower-income areas?”

Jordan: “It’s not as if my parents were wealthy. You know we had a good mix of students in that school.”

JC: “The kids were not poor by anyone’s standards.”

Jordan: “Agreed.”

JC: “Then how do we establish respect for teachers?”

Jordan: “Two steps. #1 is the president, whoever it is, needs to reinforce…and I mean reinforce constantly…the importance of teachers in educating our children. He or she should use the bully pulpit and pound in the country’s collective head why we need to support teachers.”

JC: “JFK made volunteering OK for recent college grads by promoting the Peace Corps. We still have the Peace Corps all these years later. What’s the second point?”

Jordan: “All income groups need to focus on the importance of a quality public 122813_2140_15Education4.jpgeducation. I should add all ethnic groups.”

JC: “What do we do about poor performing schools, especially in lower-income neighborhoods? Shouldn’t those kids be transferred to other schools?”

Jordan: “I know that’s a popular idea…but it’s wrong. Moving the kids to another location does not address the real problem.”

JC: “Why not?”

Jordan: “Reminds me of how some companies deal with lower-performing employees. They move the employees to another department. What’s been accomplished? Nothing.”

School-Bus-ClipartJC: “Are you saying busing the kids to a better performing school isn’t a solution?”

Jordan: “You got it. Busing the kids treats the symptom, not the cause.”

JC: “You want to teach kids in their neighborhood, even if the school is under-performing.”

UnfairJordan: “We…another societal we…need to fix the problem at the location. To shuffle kids all around town is unfair to kids being bussed. Unfair to kids who should be going to a school in their neighborhood but are being bussed. It’s also unfair to taxpayers to spend money on a solution that does not address the problem. Take the money spent on busses and diesel fuel and hire better teachers!!”

JC: “I need to think about that idea — cut way back on busing and use the money for teachers.”  (To be continued)

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