This week marked another year for “National Signing Day,” when high school student-athletes gather at various locations and ceremoniously announce where they plan to spend the next phase of their educational and athletic lives. For many high school students, this is known as COLLEGE.
Unfortunately, far too many of our nation’s cities and states have no such programs and their students have no such plans, dreams or aspirations. Instead of going to Ohio State, University at Buffalo or Howard U., they’re headed to the University of Undetermined or State Penitentiary.
To this I ask: “Where’s the outrage?:
For years, I perceived going to college as a given, even though statistics and my own eyes said otherwise. In too many households, college is not viewed as the viable option and beacon of opportunity that it is. I realize that it might not be the best move for everyone, but it still beats most alternatives.
Statistics report that high school dropout rates are soaring between 30-45 percent in many areas. After that, the numbers of students matriculating to junior college or four-year universities are frightening.
Again I ask: “Where’s the outrage?”
In many communities, the teachers, administrators and other faculty members are considered the culprits; however, this view should be re-examined. Teachers must operate within a basic lesson plan and then request that their students do the work. I understand that it’s their job (or should be) to make things interesting and applicable to students’ everyday lives.
But I’m outraged that parents in many cases don’t make it their job to send alert, well-mannered and prepared students to school WITH THEIR PANTS PULLED UP AND SNEAKER PRICES HELD DOWN!
On behalf of everyone who currently works (or used to work) in the education system, I would like readers to know: WE ARE NOT BABYSITTERS!
As I move through life and engage in conversations with people from various cultural, educational and socioeconomic backgrounds, I have found a disturbing consistency. Our country manages to find ways to point the finger in more directions than ever before. The parents blame the teachers, the teachers blame the students and the students blame everyone.
Unfortunately, very little is being done to throw life jackets to our children in this “sea of blame.”
If conditions existed which prohibited my child from the right to a quality education, a school’s athletic program would not interest me. Nothing that any coach, representative, booster or affiliate said could induce me or my child.
I would be so outraged, I’d submit an article every week to my local newspaper. If the paper got sick of me, I’d write all of the magazines I could think of, participate in my local, state and federal political arenas and then head off to the networks!
But first, I would checkmate things at home, where “the teacher doesn’t like me,” is an unacceptable excuse. Sometimes, it seems that this level of protest is only warranted when other rights are violated or when someone is a called derogatory name.
For too many of us, education – or the lack thereof – isn’t upsetting. We should be OUTRAGED that so many of our shining stars (athletic and otherwise) top out their journeys at high school. Tragic!
A native of Lackawanna, N.Y., outside of Buffalo, Lowe is a former public school teacher who was forced into retirement due to injuries sustained on the job during a student’s blindside attack. Now a freelance writer, he’s battling life-threatening heart failure while waiting for a transplant. Those who wish to assist – either monetarily or with encouraging words – may visit his page on Help HOPE Live. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.