I am tired
I am tired.
I am tired of all the meetings, commissions, focus groups, committees and boards whose only purpose is to have discussions and create reports about the achievement gap in this community but never put any of those words into action.
I am tired of politicians who show up for events and stay for ten minutes before leaving. They grandstand and make negative comments about what’s being said.
Or the ones who think they know all the answers, so they proceed to dictate to the parents whose children are on the wrong side of the achievement gap what they need to do without seeking input from those families.
I am tired of the bloggers and the education know-it-alls who criticize anyone who might have a different opinion about how to address this issue. They point fingers and concoct conspiracy theories, but they won’t lift a finger to work with the kids in peril.
I am tired of superintendents, union leaders and school board members who talk to hear themselves but won’t listen because of their “we know what’s best for you” attitude. They pontificate about what the problem is but barely take any action to deal with it, and they won’t think outside the box or create innovative ways to deal with the achievement gap.
I’m tired of the so-called leaders in this community whose egos make it difficult to work with. They speak to people in a way that’s demeaning and insulting. It doesn’t matter if you’re right - it’s how you handle being right. If you’re rude to people they won’t listen - no matter how right you might be.
I’m tired of the parents who don’t prepare their children for school. They don’t teach them how to behave in class, and they aren’t invested in their children’s educational growth. Yet they never hesitate to blame the teachers or the schools when their child falls behind or worse.
I’m tired of not being able to have an open and honest conversation about the achievement gap in this community without someone calling you a teacher basher, union hater, bigot or racist. It’s petty and juvenile, and it needs to stop. Grow up.
I’m tired of the reporters in this city who are supposed to write stories in a balanced manner, but instead choose to go the salacious and confrontational route. They create more division. Whatever happened to unbiased reporting?
I’m tired of hearing people tell me the achievement gap exists in places all over the country. So what? That doesn’t mean there aren’t places that haven’t addressed it successfully, or that Madison couldn’t be one of them. With all the smart people and resources we have here, there’s no reason we can’t wrap our arms around this issue.
I’m tired of hearing that teachers and schools aren’t doing anything to address this issue. It’s not true. There are teachers and principals in the Madison Metropolitan School District who are innovative and who care about all of their students regardless of race, background or special needs.
These are the people we should be hearing from, and whose ideas we should be implementing.
I’m tired of people who either pay little attention to the achievement gap or ignore it altogether, because it’s “not their kid.” The achievement gap issue affects all of us. Ask yourself “what if this was my child?” We need to admit to ourselves that if these were white kids instead of black and brown in this situation, this community would be having a much different conversation. There would be no stone left unturned for creative ideas and initiatives to fix this problem.
And finally, I’m tired of hearing from adults. They have done nothing but make the problem worse. Let’s hear from the kids for a change. We would probably learn something, if we’d only listen.
Derrell Connor works in the insurance industry in Madison and hosts a weekly radio show on WIBA AM. His column will run the second and fourth Thursday of the month on Channel 3000.
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