Friday, July 19, 2013

Bad Signs for a Future

For a city, one of whose best attributes at times is that at least we are not Detroit, the news of Detroit's bankruptcy should leave the city of Cleveland wondering if we are next. I say should, because there may still be a chance to pull this city back. I'm not sure that's likely to happen, given how many people refused to acknowledge that Detroit was in such grave trouble, but at the very least we may gain some sort of timetable as to how soon Cleveland will also slide off of the cliff. It's discouraging to see Detroit's abysmal literacy rate ranked with areas of Cleveland, for sure. It's sad to see that children with Down's Syndrome have a higher literacy percentage, at least according to this site. Surely almost half of Detroit's population is not severely learning disabled, is it?

I'm not really an expert on Cleveland city schools, but I do know that the superintendent of said schools pulls in around six figures, which seems rather criminal, given the job results. I also know from personal experience that teaching a child to read does not need a teaching degree or fancy materials. In my case, I was willing to take a lot of time, had the ability to take as much time as was needed without the stigma of my daughter falling behind peers, had the advantage of one-on-one time, and had a child who was generally obedient about doing her work, and knew she was expected to learn. I'm sure all of these things are lacking to a certain extent in the Cleveland public school system, especially the one-on-one time. What would be useful would be being able to address a problem individually in the case of a child from a negative environment, or in a classroom in the case of a poor teacher. The parents blame the teachers, and the teachers blame the parents, but ultimately I think the responsibility should lie with the parents. The mayor is in direct control of the schools, and the mayor, in my mind, ought to be under the direct control of his constituents. But maybe I'm biased, because in our own case, faced with a parochial school which wasn't challenging our daughter, and a public school district in academic emergency, we decided to do it ourselves. It often seems to be the way to go if you want something done right.

h/t to Bookworm Room.

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