In Baltimore, a disproportionate number of schools are failing our kids, both academically and functionally. I understand that its not only the schools that are at fault…I get that, but its the love (or lack of) and guidance that our kids are getting from home. I am of middle class decent, raise a middle class family myself but the values that I give my family are bred, past on to me from my mother and my mother’s mother. And listen to me when I say, even though I work hard to instill the proper values in my family, the external influences that are encountered the minute they are away from home are irreversible. Its like everyday, I have to deprogram my kid when she gets home from school and remind her of how to think with an open mind, or how to say no and walk away or simply how to keep your mouth closed at the right time. In so much as I have to deprogram my own kid, I have to arm other kids with the power to make good conscious decisions because quite frankly, they don’t have anyone that will. Hence my problem.
Being brought up middle-class, I have always had (or at least felt) a certain responsibility to help those around me that were not in positions to help themselves. I have always done that. I have worked just about my entire adult working career in some sort of public service position…its just what I do. I love it, and will never stop putting myself in positions that will ultimately help to pull another person into a position in life where they are able to help themselves. But my problem lies within our schools and the guidance that our kids get from those people who call themselves teachers. See, I’m from a time when teachers taught children. I come from a family of educators, and each and everyone of them were teachers because they WANTED to be, and not one of them (and we are talking at least 5 of my immediate family members were educators), EVER did it for the money. We all know that teachers are the most underpaid profession there is, and most people are not teachers for the money. Got it! That I know. I’m talking about the number of teachers that teach because they want to give their kids an educational advantage and because they love doing what they do verses the number of PEOPLE (notice I didn’t say teachers) that are in the schools simply because they could not find a job anywhere else. Not everyone is cut out to be a teacher. Not everyone has that special ‘mojo’ that teachers have or the patience that teachers have. Let’s face it, this job is not for everyone. BUT, if you find yourself in the front of a classroom ‘teaching’ kids math, reading, history, or science, then you had better know WHAT you are doing, because when you don’t, you are hurting our kids. You are committing a crime on society because you are NOT arming these kids with the proper skills they need to be academically challenged, or to be competitive in the worldwide workforce. There are so many talented, bright kids. They are so advanced especially technologically, and for someone claiming to be a teacher not being able to challenge these brilliant kids is a shame.
Now, I understand that if our school systems weren’t so antiquated (and I’m talking structurally and the curriculum), and if the schools were more technically advanced (with computer labs and smart boards), that maybe our kids would be better positioned to accelerate in the classroom, and maybe if teachers were able to talk to kids on ‘their level’ of understanding, that we wouldn’t have kids that are bored out of their minds and dropping out of school at an alarming rate. There is a disconnect between the lessons our kids learn in school and what they ‘want’ to do or what they see as relevant in their lives. According to a static published by the World Socialist Web Site a 2008 report states that Baltimore City schools are graduating less than 35% of our high school seniors. How critical is this news.
We are failing our kids.
Our parents, our schools, our society…we are failing them. We should be the ones getting report cards and being held to higher standards – not our kids. We are giving them the bear minimum of what they deserve. Last time I checked, none of them asked to come into this world, and we shouldn’t expect that they ‘get it’ if we are not giving it to them. There is something called learned behavior, and if our parents are the model, then we CAN’T EXPECT anything else from them. We can’t expect them to bring home good grades if when they get there, mom and dad are nowhere in sight – not expected to be home – as a matter of fact haven’t seen them in 3 days. WHAT are we doing, we are committing community genocide and we are using our kids as ammunition. We are setting them up for failure on every level.
We have got to stop, we HAVE to get it together for their sakes. God knows that it’s going to take some work and sacrifices on so many levels, but we have to start somewhere and we have to do it because its the right thing to do.
So with that said, welcome to my Girl Talk Blog Spot. Girl Talk will be my way of reaching out to middle school and high school girls that need a way out sometimes, if only for an hour, to allow themselves to be girls to allow themselves to laugh, to talk, to be care-free – if only for an hour.
Girl Talk – Baltimore Chapter is a peer to peer mentoring group that pairs middle school girls with high school girls who serve as mentors and in turn, high school girls are paired with college girls who then serve as mentors to them. Our meetings are held weekly and the high school leaders conduct valuable lessons that address issues that middle school girls face everyday including bullying, drinking and drug use, cliques, gangs as well as other more positive issues like etiquette, dress, and school. The ultimate goal is to help middle school girls build self-esteem and to build relationships with older high school girls.
Girl Talk encourages involvement in community service projects and our girls are currently involved in a number of community projects that allow them to earn service hours required for graduating from Baltimore Public Schools. On average, the girls earn about 10 hours a month in service hours, and we are constantly connecting with community organizations about how our girls can earn additional hours.
If you are interested in volunteering, or have girls that may want to be a part of this organization, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Thanks for listening,