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my promise to my students

Pondering the puzzling picture presented before me
I'm struck by the stunning statistics...the defining demographics.
A quixotic quandary of questionable proportions is perpetuating itself
through the American Education System; perpetuating, that is, as a pestilence does, perpetrating the stereotype that poor performance in the classroom is an accurate portrayal of a student's self-worth, intelligence quotient, and ability to succeed.

Well, poppy-cock, I say. Preposterous.

Since when did the youth of America become more quantifiable than qualifiable? Names to numbers, individuals to integers; no, even imaginations to integers...and yet, people wonder why our children are not identifying intellectually with, performing unequivocally against, youth from the world over. Maybe it's because a lack of identity leads to a lack of serenity, and who can function idealistically when their individuality is being minimized methodically?

Bridging the achievement gap? More like increasing the aggrieve-ment that we feel towards our students, hiding the shame and allowing common sense to go on sick leave...I mean, come on - it didn't actually take a reprieve on its own, did it!? Punishing students for skipping school with out of school suspension is a self-depreciating cycle of ineffective punishment.

And this lack of sense is too common, so my promise to my students is that I will refuse to allow them to just fall into the status quo. I will always know names before ID numbers, want to hear all about what they did over their summers and not as some silly beginning-of-the-year prompt, and I will always talk to their parents.

Like Holden Caufield, I will catch them in the rye, not leave them by the wayside, truly mean "NO Child left behind." And when they try to leave the ground and fly, I will push them towards the sky by inflating their minds with words of guidance, encouragement, and love.

I'll teach them how to avoid the government-approved imagination speed trap of the achievement gap and show them to never let numbers and statistics be something to hold them back, because if you believe in that then you tell those who don't believe in you that they were right.

And I won't let that happen.

I promise.