Tonight it is purported that we will hear the president in front of cadets from West Point tell the nation and the world that we will commit an additional 30,000 US troops to the war in Afghanistan at a cost of $1 million per soldier per year. I don’t profess to know what is best for the world and our ultimate safety as a nation, however I do know our national security is threatened significantly by our failing public schools.
“Thanksgiving Day comes, by statute, once a year; to the honest man it comes as frequently as the heart of gratitude will allow.”
Edward Sandford Martin
In the spirit of Thanksgiving I write this week about appreciation, especially for the teachers making a difference in the lives of the children.
I hope that the various viewpoints expressed on my blog the last few weeks have been instructive to readers and leaders. It is obvious we have a schism of opinion relative to race and the elimination of the achievement gap. The polarity of responses mirrors the divide we have on many issues in this great country.
I trust it is not too presumptuous of me to postulate that we who reside in San Jose want all children, irrespective of gender, race, ethnicity or religion to have pathways to a successful life. Can we all agree on this outcome?
Historically, civil rights issues have been a struggle. Yet solvable they are. My epiphany after last week’s unexpected tsunami of racist comments on SJI in response to my post was, sadly, that we have not come as far as I thought we had as an enlightened community. However, the bright rays of hope that we can still succeed in the goal of eliminating the achievement gap were built into the altruistic beliefs spoken by the students who are engaged in their quest to become teachers for the children in San Jose.
For the number one civil rights issue of our time, there was a distinct lack of passion at the rollout of SJ2020 last Thursday at City Hall. However, the singular goal of the initiative is very bold. Just the fact the event was held at the Council Chambers in the 10th largest city in the United States was significant. Congratulations to San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed and Superintendent Chuck Weis for pulling together the community to embrace the mission of becoming the first large urban region in the United States to eliminate the achievement gap in 10 years.
Immediately following President Barack Obama’s speech to the nation’s students yesterday, a diverse mix of juniors in Mr. Mendoza’s US History class at Andrew Hill High School in South San Jose gave their reactions. By a show hands, the President did not poll well.
We are living in extraordinary times. Unemployment nationally is approaching 10 percent, more troops are being requested in the war in Afghanistan, the Lion of the Senate died, and was referred to by his Republican colleagues as the best legislator in history, and the SF Giants are near a playoff berth.
Another testament to this astonishing era is the special session of the California legislature recently called by Gov. Schwarzenegger to reshape education as we have known it.