Did anyone see Oprah today?
It reminded me about something I wanted to talk about . . .
It has only been in the past couple of years that I have become aware of the education problems in the United States. I was very fortunate in that I went to a wonderful high school with many great resources and programs, and this school prepared me very well for my undergraduate career. At the time, I knew that I was very lucky to be where I was, especially after going to public schools from kindergarten through 9th grade. The elementary schools that I went to were pitiful – I was in a very rural, small town in southern Georgia, not far from where both of my parents were raised. I can only imagine what my life would have been like had I gone through that public school system through my entire school career. I know for sure – 100% sure – that I wouldn’t have been at Wake Forest the past four years.
Since coming to school, I’ve heard about how bad things have truly gotten through Teach for America. I first heard about it my freshman year, and my best friend Stephanie just finished her first year of Teach for America teaching in the Bronx in New York City. Teach for America is an AMAZING organization that I truly admire. From their website:
Teach For America is the national corps of outstanding recent college graduates of all academic majors who commit two years to teach in urban and rural public schools and become lifelong leaders in ensuring educational equity and excellence for all children. Our mission is to build the movement to eliminate educational inequity by enlisting our nation’s most promising future leaders in the effort.
This sounds like a really cool idea, but I didn’t realize just how amazing it truly is until Stephanie got involved. I encourage you to check out her blog Culture Shock – it’s all about her TFA experience (the posts are password protected, but she will give the password to most anyone who requests it). Not only is she truly making a difference in the lives of these children, but you can see how no matter how hard she tries, there are still obstacles to overcome. She has had kids dropout, sent to jail, become pregnant . . . and she has also had kids who have decided that they want to go to college. Kids who passed their state exam who wouldn’t have otherwise done so. It is facinating and inspiring to hear her stories.
A few months ago Time did a cover feature about the absurd dropout rates in America. Check out “Dropout Nation.”
If you haven’t taken a look at the problems in our education system, I recommend you give it some thought. If you are a parent, take an active role in your child’s education. If you have an interest in making a difference, check out StandUp.org.
And check out Part II on Oprah tomorrow – it will open your eyes.