I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Why Not Pensacola? Big Ideas To Engage Communities and Change Direction

Friday morning at the School Board Workshop, I brought forward two big ideas, one for engaging the community and one for changing the direction of some students' lives. Watch the recording of the video to see the reactions to these ideas. I was surprised that my idea for an intramural basketball league did not receive more support. I simply believe we need to scale up what Oakcrest Elementary school locally is already doing quite successfully. Having an afterschool basketball league at some of the most poverty stricken elementary schools in our district would not cost much, and my idea is to do what many districts all around the country are already doing. And I brought examples from other districts. The response I received from some board members was that they would not want us to compete too heavily with existing church leagues, and that these church leagues already provide what is necessary with respect to basketball. My retort to that is simply this: My kids played basketball in the upward program at Olive and Hillcrest-however this participation required driving to practice, paying fees, and driving to games every Saturday. And I was happy to do all of this but many of the families in these inner-city schools won't/can't make that kind of commitment, therefore their children won't participate. People that are out of touch don't get this, though. Too bad we can't be open minded and at least try this.... The second big idea I brought (for the second time now, first time was last year) was to establish a boarding school to serve the children that are most at-risk in our community due to generational poverty and dysfunctional home-lives. This proposal I brought received a ho-hum reception, with a full measure of reasons why it would be tough to do it here in Pensacola. The point I tried to reiterate over an over was this same idea is being done in other places, why not Pensacola? They are opening a SEED public charter boarding school in Miami this year--why not Pensacola? There is one in Baltimore, one in DC-Why not Pensacola? They are doing this in other places, why not Pensacola Someone has to take bold stances and lead on these issues and it is sad when people simply brush aside ideas that can make a difference in the lives of children, saying this is too expensive, or we can't do this, or some church is doing this already, so that box is checked. Someone has to take ownership and lead, but no one who has the authority or capacity to do so, sadly, appears willing to step up and fill this leadership vacuum. Status Quo rules the day and we wonder why things don't change.

No comments: