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Commentary: Treatment plan for WS/FC Schools

Commentary: Treatment plan for WS/FC Schools
March 13
13:43 2019

By English Bradshaw

A soon as the Breaking News, ‘WS/FCS Superintendent to Resign,” flashed across my TV screen, I nearly broke two fingers dialing Dr. Edwin Bell, Prof. Emeritus, WSSU School of Education, and other esteemed colleagues to quickly Velcro their “Super S” across their chests and to “pleez, pleez, spare us as we carefully navigate the Straits between Scylla and Charybdis during this Rubicon moment.” I pleaded to do it swiftly before we find ourselves entering another eon of darkness in providing our children with an appropriate education. I also asked them if we could find a way to clearly articulate that the community will not be dormant and comatose during the replacement process and what we will expect to materialize when the selection is complete.

My greatest concern to them was the quality of input from the community-that it must come from thoroughly researched and informed sources rather than benign neglect and recycled gentrified obsolescence.  I also expressed my wish to serve notice that historical and contemporary community organizations should be united behind their assertions of supporting the best-qualified replacement, lest those organizations with other agendas not be resisted forthrightly.

And so, as all great masterminds do when fairness is preeminent, I must confess that my previous expression of caution in hiring someone who is “familiar with the district” was dismissive and I offer this apologetic inquiry… are we willing to let our mud settle and the water clear? In my opinion, our mud has settled – lowest performing urban school district in the entire state.  And, the water is clear so that we can now see the truth of our local history and the scabies of racism on steroids embedded within the WS/FCS Schools which will require a strong regimen of antibiotics and perhaps some gnashing of the teeth by some recalcitrants until it becomes an eradicated disease.  

The clarified water now shows a history of lack of adequate resources over decades of inequality and equity to a swath of Forsyth County’s population who were not born to the manor of … and will paint a grim picture of nuanced policy decisions including funding and placement of facilities, recruiting and retention of quality teachers, etc., which slowly attributed to the dreadful place we have landed today. And so, we are now presenting our voices with unbridled skepticism that the replacement must provide some evidence of having researched our long trajectory of how our schools have become what they are: low performing in the poorest census tracts versus high and above or at least at grade level in others within the boundaries of Forsyth County. And, have a demonstrated plan to reverse this arc of failure.

Of utmost importance the replacement must be an independent thinker without prejudice who has the chutzpah to be in concert with the newly elected school board, and address the hierarchy that dictates the edits of our ethereal “benevolent dictatorship” here in this city.  And so, with these little pricks of myrtle, we offer a treatment plan for the WS/FC Schools for successful appointment of a proper replacement, which I am pleased to present for your ingestion.

Try it. I have on many occasions during the past 40 years as my trusted companion Rocinante and I fought our windmills and witnessed many educational dalliances masked as equity and equality. However, the plan is palatable and enriched with good ingredients for old bones, broken promises, cross-brained spirits, and deferred dreams. The triage begins with the very first antibiotic being an all too familiar regimen – EXPERIENCE – taken with a heavy dosage of the din of sick’n tired voices being hurtled from the community. If the patient does not have this first ingredient, then further treatment is unnecessary.

English Bradshaw is a retired Education Consultant and graduate of Harvard Graduate School of Education and University of Amsterdam in Education Administration and Leadership. 

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