Last days are often bittersweet, but in my past few professional experiences the balance always tilted more heavily towards the bitter. so today, my last at a summer fellowship i never thought i'd ever get, it is so refreshing to exit with a smile, a twinge of sadness for the people who've been so great to me, and next to no regrets. this was my first job inside an urban public school system-- one with well-publicized challenges-- and it has reinforced my goal to work in this sector.
after witnessing the dilapidated conditions of many of the system's school buildings, i became fully aware of and grateful for the resources that made my public school experience so very different. the link between the quality of a school facility and the academic experience of a student is stronger than i ever realized. it was humbling, but also inspiring--there is so much opportunity, so much that needs to be done. how do we ensure that today's and future generations of students get the quality education they deserve? i truly believe its the civil rights issue of our time.
so even though i often vented about the sketch-factor associated with my daily walk to work (um...large abandoned field, the railroad tracks, the gross construction workers, and the possible drug den across from my building-- it all spelled 'potential crime scene') and complained about my garden level office (read: no windows, poor ventilation, and bugs!)--nothing could be more valuable than having an insider's view of an public system famous for its dysfunction. there is much complexity involved with designing, building, operating, and maintaining school buildings...and despite my preconceived notions, there are no easy solutions. the media will say that the system does not have the will to fix itself. but after working there alongside those responsible for the fixing...i contend that the will exists, but the means to do so are not always there. so with that, a way for others to learn more and possibly, to help ensure there will be a movement to bring resources to some of these important issues:
Standup.org is a coalition sponsored by the The Gates Foundation and The Broad Foundation to generate national awareness about America's high school graduation crisis. if you look at the numbers, you'd worry more about our future as well...