Thursday, October 13, 2005

Cleveland - A Third World City?

Web-surfing last night, I was searching the internet for information about another art teacher in an urban vocational school.
What I found made me shake my head, partly amazed, wanting not to believe.

I discovered a 2001 post from a vocational school in Rwanda.
If you would substitute the word "Rwanda" with "Cleveland", and change the 59% drop-out rate to Cleveland's 2001 71% drop-out rate, the story would be about this city. Even the pictures of the students and teachers in the classrooms could have been taken here.

The first part of the excerpt caught my eye:

"One of the pressing needs for these children and youth is to ensure access to a relevant, basic education. 59% of street-based children in Rwanda have dropped out of school"

Reading the rest of it made my jaw drop. I could have written it.

"There is a very big difference because the children who live in the streets have ingrained habits which discourage them from concentrating for longer periods or sitting still in a classroom. Children who attend primary schools and who are able to go home in the evenings are able to learn from family members and are encouraged, but for street children it is very difficult.
It is difficult for many of the street children to concentrate on their work as they arrive already tired to the class. When the children come to the classroom they fall asleep as they were unable to sleep the night before or were up most of the night sniffing glue. Also many of them are traumatized from the violence in the streets. Sometimes there are discussions during the class when children explain that the night before they were hit by security guards or others in the streets"

Here is the link.

For God's sakes, our urban schools in Cleveland and East Cleveland look like Rwanda's!

When is this region going to wake-up and do something that will have a real impact?
Maybe it's time to take a good close look at the school reform policy du jour that the educational leadership will parade around at election time, and demand something better...Demand something real...Demand to get involved. The lip service we've received is only an insult.
We need to do more than change a label to effect reform.


Jill said...

Talk about serendipity. Thanks for posting this.

steveg said...

I just keep wondering how much more of a smack in the head with a 2x4 does this community need. Enough with the clattering teeth, " school crisis... education decay... problems with CMSD" WE have become so enamoured with the words on how bad it is that the impact of true desperation is lost.

Just keep rattling the cage, MB, and hopefully the rest of us can get some momentum toward action out of these lumps!