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July 4, 2012

It is not that solutions to the problems facing America to don’t exist; they do. What is preventing the implementation of those solutions is the fear, ignorance and apathy of those for whom the problem benefits. No where is there more evident than in the arena of education.

Children inside of Myra’s 3rd Grade classroom

The purpose of education is to teach persons how to respond to the problems/conditions of Life. When students are not properly educated, society suffers – needlessly. Why?  The solution, which can alleviate the suffering do not come into being because 1) they are not perceived, 2) they are not communicated 3) they are not resourced.

Enter hope via Facebook, twitter and Google Plus. Social media gives America’s Best and Brightest mentalities the opportunity to circumvent establish leadership’s reluctance to take risks outside of their comfort zone by going directly to the People – usually the ones suffering from the problem.

I have witnessed “Myra.the.educator” do this twice now.  She soldiers – and yes, “soldier” is the appropriate word – inside the Chicago School District.  She inspires the future by giving 8 and 9 year olds the experience of the Third Grade.  Apparently, from the posts she places on facebook, this is a challenge equal to campaigning for the Presidency of the United States.

Myra writes, “My mission as a teacher is to maximize learning potential by incorporating technology daily and ensuring that my classroom has the basic essentials for learning. I strive to challenge students with rigorous stimulating experiences and lessons.

Myra the Educator

I teach in a high need school in the inner city of Chicago. There is an overwhelming amount of unemployment, poverty, crime and home abandonment where I teach. Most households are headed by single women and or grandmothers.

The school has limited resources and in comparison to many other schools in the nation. My school is behind academically and also at a disadvantage due to lack of updated technology and books. We do not have smart boards. I do use a multi media projector daily that was given to me through a grant via DONORSCHOOSE.

I personally have spent large amounts of money via eBay to buy books for my students. Many book sets that are well known to third graders around the nation are never read by my students due to there non-existence in my classroom. Examples of books that I’ve personally purchased for lesson study are : Charlottes Web, Encyclopedia Brown, Junie B. Jones, Dear Mr. Henshaw and Little House on the Praire.

My vision is to see a classroom as I’ve seen on other sides of the city, one with vibrant classroom walls, supplies for every student, IPads for instruction, rich award winning texts, diversity in resources to maximize learning and access to science and mathematics equipment to engage and motivate learning. I have visited many classrooms in various communities in Chicago and there is truly a lack of equality.

Children do not ask to be educated in a class where pencils must be broken in half to ensure that everyone writes! Students do not ask to sit in a classroom that does not have air conditioner in the sweltering humid days of May, June, August and September! They do ask to be given a well rounded education that will aid them in becoming great citizens and college students one day.”

Myra backs up her claim with a picture displays a smiling Myra, with two smiling children. They are smiling despite the fact that the classroom is 103 degrees and air conditioning is none existent. Welcome to the inner city. Can we get some help here, Mr. Rahm Emanuel?

Education is a community project

Myra works in an area of Chicago with a decent median income $12 per hour.  Or $2020 gross per month, before taxes.  A studio apartment goes for $995 and an one bedroom rents for $1209. That leaves $811 to cover clothing, transportation, childcare, entertainment and food.  (To be realistic some money is going for stress relievers, be it alcohol, church community or sex.)

Sometimes the children arrive at school “smelling” due to a lack of laundry soap or quarters to operate the washing machines. Myra compensates by “teaching” the children how to use hand-soap, rinse and hang dry their underwear.

Isn’t that what parents do?

She “adopts” her students – every year. She has to assist them in conceptualizing an extremely violent environment. So violent some bloggers are calling for the National Guard to intervene.  The presence of drug dealers prevents play during recess times.

Isn’t that what therapists do?

She helps “shape” literally their response to the “American” Dream”, an idea outside of their material reach. An 8 year old child possesses very little power in Chicago to change the circumstances of their lives. This is not the movie Fresh.

Without someone like Myra.the.educator expanding their worldview, by exposing inner city children to an America that is not imploding upon Itself due to dysfunction or abject poverty, the babies don’t even have a fighting chance.
The By2015:AMERICA movement endorses Myra.the.educator. We ask that you support her by sending a suggested $20 donation to  Martin A. Ryerson school 646 N. Lawndale Avenue Chicago Illinois 60624 attn: Myra the Educator, 3rd grade teacher.

She will use this money to do what Educators do: change the world one person at a time.

For example, Myra tells the By2015:AMERICA movement, “The board of Education in Chicago gives each teacher $100 a year to spend on supplies. This amount doesn’t even cover at least 2 electric pencil sharpeners per year, loose leaf paper, pencils, books, folders, poster paper, Kleenex, soap, paper towels, cleaning products, Lysol, Clorox wipes, hand sanitizer and listening center stories.  The students bathrooms do not have soap or paper towels either, Teachers supply it.  A fraction of students do not have book bags, or adequate clothing in winter months.”

This is not sad, this is a call to action.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 8, 2012 11:25 pm

    You will be hearing from me shortly in the form of a one time donation. It ain’t much, but I am acting on the call to do something, anything, however little – big or small. I appreciate your dedication and your innovative creativeness. More of like you is what the nation needs, what the Black community cannot SURVIVE without.

  2. July 9, 2012 11:09 am

    I left a comment but I don’t see it now. It was a pretty decent comment. It was all laudatory, but now it’s gone. Thank you for doing what you do, but what happend to my comments?

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