Understanding The Journey: From the Eyes of An Educator

The faces of our American Schools have proven to be saturated with a complexity of issues that are just as vast as the diverse students they serve. As an educator, I’ve come to understand the urgency for solutions to problems that engulf our educational system, specifically those within urban communities.

In recent times, I’ve become more anxious in my personal and professional attempts to be apart of the conversation in search for a solution. The truth however, lies in the reality that the issues within urban schools are so great, that one person alone will not produce the needed answer. In fact, Obiakor and Beachum, in the phenomenal read, “Urban Educators For the 21st Century” reminds us that “…improved schools will lead to great cities” as acknowledged by Progressive Reformers in 1891, yet in 2009 we are still echoing the same sentiments illuminating the fact that distress within our schools are longstanding. Even more pressing, is that in hind sight not even the historical Brown vs. Board of Education decision remedied the illnesses within our Urban Schools.

So how or can we ever truly rid our urban communities of the woes of failing schools? Is there really a sound solution to breaking beyond the political barriers, that appear to protect the institution of our failing educational systems?

For me, the hypocritical irony, is that while the problems are obvious and many of our political Masters have posed solutions to rectify Americas Urban School curse, the problem lies within the art of a political masterpiece. I lay fault with the ball room dance floors filled with political dancers shuffling to beats laced with greed and self-centeredness. It is policies such as No Child Left Behind (NCLB) that continues to perpetuate the problems that our Urban Schools face. As examined by Lewis et al. ( in press) “the policies enacted under NCLB had no impact on achievement…[and] given the slow rate of change…it will take another 45 years for all African American students in the eight grade to achieve “At Proficient” level in reading and math”(Lewis, Hancock & Hill Jackson, 2008). The NCLB policy, is but one example of political misrepresentation as it relates to solving the issues of urban learners, schools and communities.

So again, is there really a solution? My belief, YES…Absolutely. If we believe otherwise, we should simply remove ourselves from the conversation and not pretend to be apart of the movement. What I do believe however; is that as educators, solution seekers etc.we must truly understand the politicial Machine that we are battling.


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