Our public schools are filled with heroes- innovative teachers, department heads, principals, even superintendents- who are performing miracles with students from a wide variety of backgrounds.
Heroes like Keri Lynn of Riverhead, fighting off Stage 4 Cancer, who has a rocking chair in her kindergarten classroom because she believes her students, many of whom come from immigrant or high poverty families, need to be loved and cared for before they are taught and begins and end her school day with circles of caring and gratitude
Heroes like Jamaal Bowman, principal of CASA Middle School in the Bronx, who gives every parent in the school his cell phone number and has made dance a required course in his school because he believes self-expression and the arts are as important to student development as Math and Literacy and infuses his school with symbols of Hip Hop Culture because is was music which, in its Bronx origins, celebrated the ability of young people to overcome obstacles.
As a society, we will only be able to thrive together if we unleash joy and creativity in our young people and encourage them to continue to express themselves as they grow into adulthood
Where that creativity is being nurtured in our public schools, we must identify it, name it, publicize it an insist that it become the standard for excellence in ALL OUR SCHOOLS, replacing the testing and rote learning that is being promoted today.
It is time to take the offensive in the battle for our children and grandchildren's future. Let's celebrate our public education heroes and showcase what they do best
Starting right now!