|Article Overview: What
is a Citizen of Educational Vigilance? How can you battle
the Beast of Ignorance from infecting your children, your society?
And, in New York City, what can we all do to help protect the 15,000
third graders currently under attack from the Beast of Educational
Tuesday, March 16,
2004—Ground Zero Plus 916
15,000 NYC Third Graders Under Attack From Beast Of Educational Terror
GROUND ZER0, New York, N.Y.--Mar. 16, 2004
-- The battle for democracy in war-torn Iraq isn't much different than
the battle in New York City for its counterpart.
Policy panel members voted third graders must pass certain tests
before elevation to the fourth grade
Last night, amidst a shouting audience of
parents and teachers who opposed the draconian tactics of firing
members of the city's Panel for Education Policy and replacing them at
the last minute with new appointees who were instructed to vote for
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's plan to impose strict promotion
requirements for third graders.
This latest political battle over who
controls the educational destiny of more than one million children in
New York City Schools put third graders in the crossfire.
There are 74,000 third graders in the
Big Apple. Prior to the vote last night, the majority of
third graders who weren't doing well in their studies were elevated to
the next grade under what is termed "social promotion" policy.
Bloomberg took control of the school systems last year
In an attempt to strengthen educational
policy, the mayor gained control of the school systems last year.
Under his control, he has effected more demanding policies, one that
includes a requirement that third graders must pass standardized
English and math tests before being elevated to the fourth grade.
If they don't, they can attend summer school and retake the test, plus
their teachers can appeal for them.
An estimated 15,000 third
graders, one out of five, are expected to be held back based on the
standardized tests. Most of the children, according to the
New York Times, will be Hispanic and African American.
In the 21st Century, a form of Terrorism
exists when a third grader faces FAILURE to advance with his or her
There is also a more insidious form of Terrorism,
the Terrorism of Complacency, to advance a student who has failed to
master the basics of English and math, and who may be highly likely to
be sucked into a system that promotes the child from grade to grade
out of Complacency rather than insuring the child's knowledge.
The problem isn't the children.
They are the victims.
problem rests with their parents or guardians and not with the
The problem is the parents.
The guardians. The grandparents. The loved ones.
Communication is vital to any child's
sense of self worth. Suffer the children fear of opening their
mouths because they feel inept or inadequate to communicate stuff
Fear, Intimidation and Complacency inside their heart and soul.
And who is responsible?
The duty of a Parent of Vigilance is
ultimately not just to his or her own children, but to the Children's
Children's Children. Society as a whole also has an equal
duty to help all children, especially the most innocent, the youngest,
to combat Terrorism in all its many facets. Nothing is
more Terrorizing to a child than to feel "alienated" by education, to
feel "stupid" or "ignorant" or "less than" or "disenfranchised" from
Anyone who has ever been "left out"
of something as a child--not invited to a party, not selected to play
on the team, not picked by the teacher, teased because of some
disability or handicap--knows the power of the peer to brutalize the
Holding children back in the
third grade has pluses and minuses. On the one hand, it
sends a signal to the Parents of Vigilance that they must account for
their children's education--they must help manage the child and not
let the child slip through the cracks.
On the other hand, it
smacks the child with a public brand that the child is "not equal to"
his or her peers. It diminishes a child's self-image.
In New York City's
case, 15,000 kids will fall into this arena if the worst case
expectations are met. One out of five children will
be labeled "not ready for advancement."
What will happen?
Who will guide
these 15,000 children out of the land mines of ignorance?
The reality is we are all being told the
children of New York City are about to walk into a field filled with
land mines. Twenty percent of them will be stranded.
Who will guide them out?
the information about the plan to hold back children, I didn't read
about a task force designed to help the children. The news
made it sound as though the kids not advanced would be assimilated
into the existing classes of third graders.
shoulders does the responsibility for these kids fall?
I feel an obligation to them. Why shouldn't
all citizens be called upon to assist? The problem
with education is usually the support and interest a child receives to
"want to learn." If one urges and encourages knowledge, usually
responsibility of educating our children rest with the school
board or with the parents and caretakers?
thirsty. They are sponges. All they need is
encouragement, and people showing interest in them.
Parents of Ready &
Math Vigilance can support them. These people can be
anyone with a sincere interest in helping out. There are
groups within each community that would welcome such help, and, while
the school systems themselves may want such help, they may be
handicapped to receive it due to strict requirements for "teachers."
programs provide avenues of support
Mentoring programs, however, exist. These provide avenues of
support for Parents, Grandparents and Loved Ones of Educational
requires only that we are able to see the Beast of Educational Terror
lurking around the children, waiting to take giant bites out of their
self worth, eager to rob them of their self-esteem and turn them into
slaves of Fear, Intimidation and Complacency.
importantly, it requires us all to see that the future of any single
child impacts the future of all children as the generations grow.
The stronger all links are today, the stronger will the future be for
most importantly, the issue isn't really the Third Grade.
The issue is what happened up to that point? What
happened in the First Grade and Second Grade that led to failing the
Parents educate their children
If we are true Parents of Vigilance, we are willing to step back along
the path of the child to the source of its lack of knowledge.
It is at this point that we all must do our best to shift the weight
toward more knowledge, more wisdom, more guidance.
always about finding the lairs of the Beast of Terror and exposing
them. If the Beast has no place to hide, no place to duck
and disappear, then the odds are that the children will be safe from
15,000 children of New York City may be the future of our Nation of
Vigilance. We all have a chance to do something for them.
first thing we can do is become Citizens of Educational Vigilance.
Mar 15--How To Duck And
Weave And Hide From Terrorism