Access to high-quality education is a right of all students and a sacred trust that the public must provide, no matter their social or economic status.
I am a proud product of public schools. The things I have been able to do in my life are a direct result of the benefits I received from a strong and secure family foundation, inspiring role models, and many helping hands along the way; Benefits that, I now understand, are not enjoyed by all of today’s families and their children.
My life might have been quite different. I was adopted at nine-months by a family that gave me a strong foundation. From my German parents I learned respect for others and to work hard to achieve my goals. It was always understood that my job was to be the best student I could be. I also learned the value of living within my means and creating a secure future through fiscal responsibility. From the very first job I ever had 50% went into the bank and 50% I could spend.
My mom earned a high school diploma and was always the room mother; dad had an 8th grade education and his first insurance debit territory was in Lower Price Hill. He was the dad who always volunteered to coach the softball team, drive everyone to the dances and chaperone them. My 2-week old sister arrived when I was two and we spend our childhood roaming nearby fields and creeks or “playing school”!
Unfortunately, many of our families today face challenges that can be quite daunting. The medium income in Cincinnati is $$33,681; 21% are living below the poverty level; 16% do not have a high school diploma. We are 49% White, 45% Black, 6% Other. 14% of our households are without a car.
Students arrive at our schools with diverse needs that require creative approaches to tapping into their potential as individuals.
I believe that “one only teaches well, those they know well.” We must give educators the time and resources they need to develop Best Practices for the unique needs of their students. We need to bring back “the art of teaching” to the classroom. We must honor the special educational role that support staff plays in our students’ lives.
I believe teaching and learning are most successful when parents and educators work together to meet the individual needs of children. I believe that a well-rounded education addresses the whole child and that arts play an essential role in engaging students’ in their unique learning goals.