Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Letter to the editor- Rod Watson's collumn on the names of the schools

I give Buffalo News writer Rod Watson credit for writing about controversial topics. Sometimes I agree with him. Other times, I don't. A week ago, he wrote a collumn about how poor the test scores were at certain schools (I remember he mentioned Martin Luther King School). He asserted that the test results dishonored the names of the schools. He went on to blame the teachers and the schools themselves but forgot to blame the main culprit for the low test scores: the complete lack of respect for education by the students and their families at the schools he mentioned.
Watson should spend a week subbing at the Martin Luther King School. He could see the kids show up without pens, listen to the kids swear at him and talk over him, and watch the students run around the room throwing things out the window and at each other. Then, he could watch as the principal tries to deal with the most serious infractions, while the parents scold him/her for trying to discipline their child. I think this letter writer accurately sums up the same point...
Test scores reflect reality, not legacy of past leaders
Contrary to News columnist Rod Watson’s opinion in his column, “Test results dishonor school names,” I don’t think the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would have a “nightmare” when it comes to test scores. But he might have a nightmare when he sees the insurmountable obstacles Buffalo school children have to face.

King might be more upset at the cause of low scores, such as gang and drug activity, teenage pregnancy, absentee fathers and mothers, domestic violence, homelessness, unemployment, parents on drugs, parents in jail, drive-by shootings, etc. The effects of a bankrupt childhood have a lasting impact.

Our country has become obsessed with test scores. Society blames the teachers, which is as futile as shooting the messenger, and doesn’t address or fix the problem. Students have told me several times, “the lure of the streets is more powerful,” and I believe them. Our society is about appearances and little about substance. We are no longer the land of opportunity. As a teacher, the carrot I dangle in front of them (the American Dream) is at the end of a long road with little promise; compared with the quick rewards of street life.

No, I don’t think King would care too much about test scores. He would have been out there, in the trenches, relentlessly working to bring about change. King was not a finger pointer. Watson’s reference to this so-called nightmare might stem from his disbelief that since King has died, there has been no one to evolutionize his dialogue and vision; and that we continue to live off his 42-year-old dream, with little vision of our own.
Catherine Breen


  1. Mike,

    Any copyright infringement letters from the Snooze yet? Just curious.

    -Byron's Browneye

  2. No letters yet. They must figure my site is too small to even bother.