Thursday, December 09, 2004

Which is it?

The contextually challenged of the NARN are taunting Nick Coleman, again, this time on education. They are trying to screed him into a corner so they can call him a liar. Now I'm not a big fan of anyone with the last name of Coleman, but I can't sit back and watch the NARNiacs imply that which is clearly not the case.

In Nick's column back on Nov 14 Mitch quotes:
How did we get to the point in Minnesota that we have a school in a minority neighborhood of our capital city where there aren't enough books? If you don't find that situation outrageous, you are part of the problem.
What he leaves out, is the key contextual statement that comes before it.
But when Zelma Wiley walked into Maxfield Magnet School in St. Paul and took over as principal a couple of years ago, there were hardly any books on the shelves
See, rhetorical questions were asked of a situation from a 'couple of years ago', not now, today! The outpouring of support received through the Coleman column provided two followups, Nick's Dec 4 piece:
Three weeks ago, I told you about Maxfield Magnet School in the heart of St. Paul's black community, which was desperately seeking books so its kids can learn to read.

You responded with overwhelming kindness, and I am glad to report that Maxfield has been inundated with books.
So common deduction is that over the last couple years, Principal Wiley has restored the reading coffers at Maxfield, most recently with a fresh supply of materials from impassioned Coleman readers. I see no contradiction here. And when Zelma rattled off her response to the Westover editorial, she stated:
If Mr. Westover and Mr. Stern had visited our school, they would have seen our hard work paying off. They would have seen that all of our classrooms have the textbooks they need. They would have seen that we know with precision how every dollar we receive is being spent to help our students learn. And they would have seen students from diverse backgrounds improving and achieving.
Which brings us to the questions St. Paul asks over at Fraters:
So which is it? Either "we don't have enough books" or "all of our classrooms have the textbooks they need."
Well, St. Paul, it's both, and yes it can be both. The innovative and dedicated staffs of the public school districts are doing the best they can with the limited resources that are available. Maxfield clearly had a shortage of adequate reading materials 'a couple of years ago', but due to a resourceful staff and compassionate neighbors, the stock on the shelves are growing. Is that good enough, I don't think so, but it is enough that they can get by. And is that what we want for our future, enough for them to 'get by'

Maybe those on the Right can start to comment on the other issues that plague inner city schools, the high transient rate with kids coming and going in classrooms like a revolving door, lack of parental support at home prohibiting their ability to succeed, parents that would rather blame the school for their child's behavior and performance, rather then having adequate expectation of their students own behavior and performance.

Sorry, I am on the inside looking out, and the problems that many students in this district have begin at home, and all the money in the world can't fix that!


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