Help Me Out

There is no deed more altruistic than those who give selflessly of themselves. I’m just about finished reading The Bee Eater, and this is what I assess of Michelle Rhee, and a number of others, to include the author Richard Whitmire, who assuredly as well marshals over the neglect of poor children (through his writing) not exclusively attributed to the homes and communities they come from. Schools are a part of the problem too.

Having attended schools (K-12) where enrollment was 99.98% black, coupled by my experiences with schools my children attended—mostly suburban, a few military, and fewer urban—I noted the differences, making The Bee Eater quite relatable. Only here I’m privy to the political inferences behind my limited view as well. And putting it mildly, here and there, a few of my feathers have been ruffled.

Honest to goodness, there is not a book (recent to date) where I have taken more notes. I have no idea what I plan to do with the notes, much less why I’m even taking them, but I know one thing…there’s every likelihood I’ll be whipping up several of my own books on account of this one. So don’t be surprised to hear me announcing a surge of new novels expecting a November 2011 release! Now that’s got to be some serious inspiration.

When I first started reading The Bee Eater I immediately identified with Michelle’s motivation, and drive. Even still, and this is a big hang-up of mines, I kept asking, why? And that’s not why was Michelle driven to help. That why I already knew. My why goes like this…

If someone offered you a sum of money to build homes, where you in fact hold the certificates to build homes, but then sends you off to a desert to build these homes, and sends you off without so much as a pair of scissors, why accept the task? It’s understandable you do not have the tools to take on the task under these circumstances. Your certs do not certify you to create magic. And okay, so I’m using homes where many might jump at such an opportunity if presented. Maybe I might even be among the lot, though I doubt if I could do this for long. Eventually I would get around to asking myself why?

It’s only when the homes are symbolic of children that the why then grows feathers, and wings, and takes off to another semblance. I mean, come on… Although admittedly I’m still not quite finished reading, studiously jotting down notes, I genuinely hope to understand the opposing views that will help answer the WHY?

Comments

  1. How'd you do this!?! Before your comment I was telling myself I had to stop by your blog and then up pops your comment! Glad you liked this one & thanks for stopping by. ;-)

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  2. I read about Whee a few years ago in a magazine article, where it talked about how the kids adored her and the teachers hated her. I was very intrigued by the story, but then didn't hear about her for a very long while.

    Thanks for the review. This is such an important issue.

    Down in South Texas (where I was born), we had a 2% population of black kids. They didn't have an easy time of it when it came to social situations, but teacher/school wise, they were in good hands. Luckily, they had involved parents that made sure that they weren't treated any differently.

    Conversely, we had a small population of children of people from Mexico (Most people in my hometown are Hispanics who have lived there for several generations, and they always try to set themselves apart from "The Mexicans."). Because those children had parents who only spoke Spanish, and whose parents weren't involved in the school because of either fear of deportation or simply because they were uncomfortable in those social situations, these kids either fell through the cracks or were put in classes that were ESLn(and then never put back in reg. classes), or just didn't receive the education they should have. Our system should work better than this. My old local high school seems to be doing great at first glance: they have a new campus, a lot of money from the state, and some great athletic programs. But, every few years, they also get designated by the TEA as "unacceptable." So yeah...a new building isn't going to make that better. Aside from the GT students, everyone else is getting a subpar education and they're shocked when attending college that everyone else is so much more knowledgeable than them. They're completely unprepared.

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  3. Hi Jennifer & Thanks for your comment! You've laid out critical points addressed in Whitmire/Rhee's book...which at the end of it all, as you've also pointed out, is preparing our children (& I say) from our individual stations in life.

    One message that stayed w/me throughout the reading of this book is 'children deemed incorrigible can be taught!' I've been in this system, and really wanted to know (other than for self-interests) WHY so many teachers year after year continued to NOT teach.

    AGAIN, Great feedback! Thanks!!

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  4. Again Kathy, thanks for your comment and allowing me to post it... ;-)

    (Now get settled in & get that combo box fixed...I miss you!)

    From@BooksKidsLike:
    ...Regardless of how much progress this country claims to have made in the area of civil rights and equality...it's alot of double speak.  Don't get me wrong...there has been progress, but just not as much as people would like to believe.  Education is a broken system governed more by politics than by human decency and fairness.  Governments are based on elitism...and ours is no exception.  There's a hidden perception that middle-class to wealthy families produce more viable children... children who have a chance to reach their full potential.  Poor kids- they're just going to do drugs, get pregnant, and go on welfare so why waste the time and money on their education.  Oh, we have this thing called NCLB (No Child Left Behind) but it's mostly smoke and mirrors.  The only time poor school districts have a chance- when someone
    or some group of people care enough to spend their own money, blood, and sweat to make a real difference.  And that starts with love...love that helps kids break the cycle!  Okay, off the soap box!  I could go on and on!

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