I Have a Gripe

September 24, 2010

It Can Be a Palace Again

There was a palace that was a city. It was a palace! It was a palace and it can be a palace again!

That is a line from the movie City Hall. I saw that movie years ago and that line really struck me. Well today, the city of my birth received a major gift that can help make that city a palace again.

There was a palace that was a city. It was a palace! It was a palace and it can be a palace again!

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg today has donated $100 million to the education system of the city of Newark in New Jersey.

Now some cynics say that the only reason he is doing this in an attempt to offset a soon-to-be-released movie that paints him in a very poor light. Is this is true motive? I have absolutely no idea. Do I really care? No, I don’t.

While I am a registered Republican, I really believe that Newark Mayor Corey Booker is truly working hard to turn the city of Newark around. However, as in many places today, his resources are very limited. Through this donation, he now has the financial resources to bring the his failing schools up to success. I certainly wish him all the best and hope that they are able to put it to the best use possible. My only request Mr. Mayor is that you include the arts and music in your plans for the new funds you now have available to you. I completely understand new books, computers, science classroom equipment are needed, I implore you to not forget this important part of curriculum. I am the person I am because of the music department. That is where I found my place and my home.

I will say I was a tad upset with some of the things Geoffrey Canada, president and chief executive of the Harlem Children’s Zone, had to say on Oprah’s show on Friday during the donation ceremony. In full disclosure, I am proud to be married to a 24-year band director. He takes his job as a teacher very seriously. He looks at it not just as teaching, but truly as a ministry. That is why I am extra protective when I hear people bashing teachers. I am the first one to say there are bad teachers in school systems. God knows I had a few that to this day I don’t know what I would say to them if I bumped into them. However, there are many more that are great.  We spend lots of our own money providing to his classroom and I even had my former job donate computers and desks to his school system when we needed to dispose of perfectly good equipment. I truly believe there is plenty of blame to go around, just as there is plenty of success. It needs to be easier to get bad teachers out of the way. Parents need to take more personal responsibility and not just drop their kids off and expect the school system to raise their children. The teacher’s union needs to become more of a partner and less of a hindrance by protecting the good teachers and cutting off the bad.

If everyone plays their part, I truly believe it can be a palace again.

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