Several weeks ago LJ over at The Sixth Ward Blog posted a request by a teacher at Deneen Elementary. The teacher was requesting a set of books for her class to use as additional reading material. I saw no problem with the request because I believe if we set high expectations our children will reach them.. Subsequently, on the same site Donor Choose I saw additional request from teachers from Deneen requesting more books, laser printer, and basic school supplies. I posted the link on the Deneen Alumni Facebook Page and several individuals donated but several questioned the request for school supplies and the wording on another one describing our community as a "Book Dessert" grabbed my attention. Also, a request for an air conditioner at another local school grabbed my attention.
I emailed the Alderman's office about the concerns to find out why the school did not have supplies. The Alderman's office got back to me several weeks later with a response from the Principal who assured him that the school had adequate equipment and supplies to operate and the request were looked at as the teachers going over and beyond what is required.
I mentioned this situation to a fellow alum who also is my sister. She responded that the school supplies request is not uncommon. I questioned it because starting the second week in July, churches, community organizations, Alderman and civic and fraternal organizations start their annual back to school giveaway drives where book bags, basic supplies, haircuts, hair braids, clothing, etc are distributed. So I found it puzzling why a student would not have supplies to come to school. My sister enlightened me about her sorority's experience working with the city of Markham. She explained that the previous year they participated in the annual Markham Fest and another sorority who was also participating gave away 500 book bags with supplies. Several months later, her sorority got a request from the Mayor's office to adopt a classroom at the local elementary school. The sorority requested a list of items needed for the classroom. The list that was submitted contained book bags and basic supplies. Because they were there at the event and witnessed the book bag giveaway they decided to ask the Mayor's office how many book bags were given away and they received a list showing quite a few bags were given away by church's and other organizations. No one can explain why the children in this classroom didn't receive book bags and supplies and the teacher was not aware of the book bag giveaways. They did fulfill the request.
I questioned why there is a disconnect where the teacher didn't know about the giveaways and why in the Deneen situation the community wasn't solicited especially with the school's current issues. So where are the LSC's. PTA's, and PAC's ? I asked the President of another school's LSC were they aware of this site and that a teacher from that school was requesting some materials. The President was not aware of the request.
This disconnect is detrimental to the future of our community. If a teacher and the Administration don't know about resources in the community and the community doesn't know about the issues in the school, how do we expect to solve the problem of under performing schools. While I mentioned Deneen, I believe this is going on in all of our neighborhood schools and if we cannot find a solution to this problem, we will never solve the other issues especially crime.
What do you think?