Because most of us went to public schools, we feel like we know all about them. We had teachers, and lunch, and specials like kids today, so we assume not much has changed.
Or we might think that we know what’s happening in schools today because of the news. They do a few stories on education each week, so surely we are all well-informed about how schools function in today’s world.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
If you only get your information about education from your own or even your children’s past experiences and couple that with what is reported in the news, you’re not really informed. I’m sure I’ve said this before, but judging from the news, all our schools are failures, the teachers are unqualified and uncaring, and the children don’t learn.
I’ve used this blog to share many aspects of my own experiences with Putnam City as a student, teacher, and now as the Foundation’s leader, but there are still many things for me to learn.
Take this story. It (still) comes as no surprise to people who know me that I was not an athlete, so what I know about rules by which our schools must abide regarding sports can fit on a pinhead. I know that my students couldn’t play if their grades were below a certain level, and I had more than one conversation with coaches and students on how to rectify that.
I am not an idiot. I know the student wants to be successful in history because she wants to play, not because she has been enlightened to the human drama that is US History through my brilliant lessons. But apparently other situations keep children from eligibility. I don’t get it all, but what I now know is that there are people working behind the scenes to help those in troubling situations be able to play.
Our athletic director told me that he and one of our coaches made an appeal for a young person so that student could play. They had to go before a special board and show evidence to support the student’s claim. The student had to answer questions without the aid of parents to guide them.
It’s not like this kid is going to make or break the team this year. It’s not like they are in contention for some big athletic scholarship. They are just a kid who needs to play the sport because it keeps them motivated in school.
People are excited that they won the appeal, but that’s not what excited me per se. I learned about two of Putnam City’s people taking the time ̶ several hours in fact ̶ to gather information, consider their arguments, travel to the meeting and fight for a young person’s right to play.
Is that news? I guess not, but the care and dedication these adults showed for one young person brought tears to my eyes and made me so proud to work on behalf of people who love our children like that.