The Beautiful Story of a D-Rated School

EDUCATION

 

Letter grades can’t possibly tell the whole story of a school. An inside look at the passionate work of a school our state says is a letter away from failing.

(Author’s note: this story was originally published in September 2015.)

A few weeks ago, my wife began her fifteenth year teaching elementary school music. She’s been in the same classroom and the same school for her entire career, and she’s seen thousands of kids come through her hallway.

She enjoys her job; she teaches every kid in the building, so she’s kind of like a local celebrity. We rarely can make it through the grocery store (or anywhere around town) without someone running up to her, hugging her leg, and running off with a smile. It’s a happy thing to see.

This week, though, her school received a North Carolina school performance grade of D. Continue reading “The Beautiful Story of a D-Rated School”

Let us turn our thoughts today to Martin Luther King.

civil rights protest in Birmingham, AL
OP-ED

To live in an America free of prejudice requires constant work–work that may never be finished.

There are people far better equipped to write poignantly and eloquently about this day’s celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr., but I am mindful of the fact that offering up words of encouragement and support and empathy is important.

Today ought to be a day in which we look for unity, to applaud our forward momentum, to carefully reconsider our missteps. That’s what I felt growing up–this was a celebratory day, not a reminder of how far we have to go–and even now I’m troubled by how wide that chasm seems.

The nation’s intensified gaze upon our growing racial divide, sharpened among police brutality, riots, and elections, has emboldened a lot of people harboring racist words and deeds. I always wanted to believe they were the human equivalent of carnival sideshows–Look! A racist! What a creature!–but in truth so many of them live and breathe openly among us. Continue reading “Let us turn our thoughts today to Martin Luther King.”

Cheers to You, 2016

nye
OP-ED

The Year is Dead. Long live the year!

The internet this week seems full of a collective eagerness to finish off 2016 and move on toward the New Year. I can’t recall another instance in which so many folks were ready to call it quits for the year–but only in the last several years have we had the ability to share our collective psyches so readily.

Even so, 2016 seems to have been especially hard on so many. The obvious reasons include the divisive and contentious election and seemingly relentless celebrity deaths, but there were abundant natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and domestic riots. It was a year in which, regardless of where one lands on the spectrum, we wondered who on earth those people on the opposite side actually were.

Continue reading “Cheers to You, 2016”