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The Quality of An Education

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My heart ached when I read the article in The Huffington Post, “Detroit Schools Closing: Michigan Officials Order Robert Bobb to Shut Half The City’s Schools.”  The school closings may increase class sizes to 60 students.  My mind spun around in circles.  I had a gut-wrenching feeling just thinking about how many students will not receive a quality education, if this plan passes.

Americans are experts and innovators in many fields, but when it comes to education, we’re not progressing as we should.  The average teacher’s salary in the United States according to payscale.com, is $35,869 – $53,734 per year.  How many teachers are going to sign up to teach a class with 60 students for $35,869 dollars per year?  It’s hard to manage an average class size of 26 students, let alone 60 students.  There are so many implications for what could go wrong if this happens.  Such stress upon the teachers and student population, could eventually lead to increased crime, poverty, and a higher drop out rate.

I have worked in education for nearly 12 years, but don’t know all of the ins and outs of budgets or the reasons why teachers aren’t getting paid more.  I have never met a teacher that doesn’t love her/his occupation.  They stay late hours to grade papers, read assignments on the weekends, spend their own money on school supplies, and counsel students.  At the same time, I have also met teachers that feel that their efforts aren’t appreciated, work in undesirable conditions, and feel underpaid.  What would it take for teachers to make more money?

The topic of a quality education is constantly discussed in our household and with friends.  We agree that class sizes directly impact student achievement.  There was a clear difference when we took our oldest son out of a daycare that had 22 students in each class, and moved him to another daycare with 6 students per class.  He was able to receive individual attention in smaller groups, and excelled faster in his new environment.  Stronger relationships with his teachers and classmates were developed.

Every child deserves a quality education from grades K-12.  America continues to struggle on being highly ranked in the world of education. We are one of the wealthiest nations in the world, but our high school students are at best average in math and science.  We must not fail our own children, in or outside the classroom.

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Sojourner Marable Grimmett has a BA in communications from Clark Atlanta University and an MA in media studies from Pennsylvania State University. She is a stay-at-work mom and her experience in higher education spans over 10 years working in student services and enrollment management. Sojourner previously worked at CNN, Georgia Public Television, and as an AmeriCorp member at Harvard University’s Martin Luther King Jr. after-school program. She lives in Atlanta with her husband, Roland and two young sons, Roland Jay and Joshua. Visit her blog sojournermarablegrimmett.blogspot.com.

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6 COMMENTS

  1. LaTanya – I’m so sorry to hear about the DPS school system. I really appreciate your comment. As parents we have to stick together and speak out against injustices in our communities. I sincerely thank you! Keep the faith! Let me know if I can help!

  2. Hello, I am also married with 2 boys. I am a life long Detroiter and both of my boys ages 7 and 8 are enrolled in DPS (Detroit Public Schools). It’s horrible whats going on in the DPS school system right now. Because of all the closures which have been going on for about 3 years now my youngest has been in 5 different schools while my oldest has been in 4 different ones. Everytime I get them settled in a new school it ends up getting closed. Both of my boys are autistic and are enrolled in ASD special needs classes. Thesse classes aren’t available in every DPS school so I have to do research to find out which ones have the class. Also ASD classes can only have a max of 8 students so spots go quickly. Because of this I am a regular fixture in the DPS schools head offices making sure my boys get what they need. There have been times where even though their in the 2nd and 3rd grade they have been at two different schools across town from one another. Last year I finally got them in the same school and was very happy that the school Sherrill Elementary was one of the best especially for special needs kids. Of course it’s on the closure list but, we just got word that it will stay open one more year until a new school that is being built opens in fall of 2012 then their school will be combined with another at the new building. {sigh}

    I could go on and on about the DPS system starting with the outdated school board some of whom have been on the board for 20 years. The DPS system has basically for years been used as a piggy bank for everyone including former governors, administrators, and school board members. From spending on trips, exspensive office spaces, cars, art, furniture and pocket money. You name it they have bought it with DPS money! The kids are at the bottom of the list when it comes to reaping the rewards of the DPS bank account. We have dozens of empty school buildings because of all the closures and DPS still owns them. Instead of using them for office space they choose to spend milions on a new building in the center of downtown Detroit.

    I understand that because there are less people and kids in the city of Detroit that schools have to be downsized. But while they are downsizing the are not upgrading the system so that the kids who are being constantly moved are moving to something better. DPS is just a big pile of crap and instead of cleaning it up they are just stuffing the same amount of crap into a smaller bag (I hope that made sense!) Sorry I wrote so much and believe me I could go on much longer. I just wanted to give some insite from a tired DPS parent!

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