Have you visited one of the many new elementary schools in our country? Open hallways, high ceilings, expansive windows bringing the outside in. Outfitted with media centers, video equipment and computer labs. They’re looking much more like junior college campuses than elementary schools.
Quite impressive, but looks can be deceiving.
I visit a lot of elementary schools. Rural America. Inner city. Suburbs. High achieving. Low achieving. High poverty. Low poverty. Public. Private. Parochial. Charter.
Schools with peeling paint, dirty windows and worn-out linoleum floors, reeking of odors that even Lysol can’t cure. Where, in spite of it all, morale is high, children are smiling and test scores are high.
State-of-the-art schools built with the latest architectural design, wired with the finest in technological advancements. In addition to classroom teachers, specialists of every description on campus. Where, in spite of it all, morale is low, children are weeping and test scores are low.
How is it that facilities that should be condemned house children who are succeeding? How can it be that multi-million dollar facilities house children who are failing?
My observations, children succeed at school:
• In an environment in which they know they are loved. (All the wiring in the world can’t replace a heart connection between a student and teacher.)
• When teachers command respect, rather than demand it.
• When the rules are clear and the expectations are high.
You see, it’s not the building, but what’s inside that makes the difference in the education of a child.
The same can be said for shacks in the ghetto or mansions in the gated communities. Children succeed when parents:
• Are involved in the educational process. Attending meetings, volunteering.
• Make their children’s home life peaceful and productive.
• Are there for their children to lean on. Making sure their children get enough rest.
• Turn off the television for supper around the table as a family.
• Are not doing their children’s homework, but making sure their children are positioned to do their homework for themselves.
It’s the heartbeat of the school and home that determines the ability of the school to educate its students. The problems in education today are not the result of a lack of money, but a lack of heart.
It’s what’s on the inside that counts.
From my heart to yours,