Things That Are Right About Public Education

posted Oct 18, 2010, 1:08 PM by Mike Paskewicz   [ updated Oct 18, 2010, 2:12 PM ]
"Waiting for Superman" is a recently released documentary about public schools in America.  The points made in the film are very critical of K-12 education and call for reforms across the nation.  Web pages have been created, challenging adults to become engaged and involved in the education of the children in their communities.  Looking at public education through a critical eye has been the standard since "A Nation At Risk" was released decades ago.  Being self critical of our practices in education is a practice of continuous quality improvement.  We must also give equal "press" to what is right about public education in our community.

We have been very transparent about our issues and our success in the Northview Public Schools.  We are, after all, a reflection of the community we serve.  Last Friday night evidence was presented in a very public setting about what we believe to be most important.  Lowell High School's football team and fans visited our stadium and "what is right about public education" was on display.  Fans from both sides of the field stood in line waiting for the famous "Wildcat Burger" that was being cooked and served by our Athletic Boosters.  The conversation in line was about the wonderful fall night, the records of the two teams, how lucky we are to be living in such great communities, and the positive messages sent to our kids by the large crowds on both sides of the playing field.  The conversation was respectful and a modeled the behavior we expect in our children.  No one referenced the documentary that is so critical of public education.  We talked about what is right with public education.

As the announcer called attention to the "Young Marines" who were presenting the colors in honor of a Northview graduate who had given the ultimate sacrifice of his life in service to his country, the entire stadium fell silent.  Young and old stopped their conversations, turned to the flag, and stood with great respect as the band played our national anthem.  Once again, a strong message was sent to the youth of our community about the importance of respect for self and country.

During the halftime ceremonies the parents of senior class members in our band and cheer squad were introduced and honored.  This called to our attention the importance of family in the development of children.  No matter how your family is structured due to social pressures, it remains important to have a strong system of support for children.  Schools cannot do it alone.  When families and schools work in partnership our children win.

At first I was very upset to learn of the two men sitting in the stands who became loud and obnoxious during the band's halftime performance.  I was told that many people became upset and asked them to stop, which made them even more disruptive.  A staff member attempted to stop the behavior, which added more fuel to the fire.  The behavior of the two men really stuck out in the crowd.  They were displaying a behavior that we do not want our children to model.  I know we will eventually have the identity of the two men and we will contact them and share the expectations about the behavior we expect from our adults and children.  We will ask them their side of the story.

You may be wondering about the statement of "at first I was very upset...."  After speaking with several people and receiving an email from a parent, all of whom were upset by the behavior, I became less upset and then quite proud of the reaction so many folks had to the unacceptable behavior of two people.  I am confident that the "vital many" were much more powerful than the "trivial two." We cannot shield our children from behaviors that we don't want them to model.  We do have the responsibility to model how we respond to and feel about the inappropriate behaviors.

I continue to have the deep belief that something special is at play in the Northview Public Schools community.  Please feel free to share your comments and questions about my blog topics by email directly to me at mpaskewicz@nvps.net.


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