Nov 10 2012

Wrestled With Angels: Education Beyond Politics

Original post at http://wrestledwithangels.wordpress.com/2012/11/10/education-beyond-politics/

Senior High math proved to be my most difficult subject. Memorizing Geometry theories and formulating Algebraic formulas was too much for my attention-deficit mental capacity. I gave up. I resigned to remove myself from college preparation classes to a vocational certificate. Fortunately, my math teacher refused to give up on me. He had me stay after class. He gave me extra practice. His willingness to tutor me on his own time went beyond simply learning algebra and geometry. He got through my stubborn will and infused a love of learning that carried me through college and on to a master’s degree at Emory University.

A few days ago, my wife and I sat down with a group of teachers and counselors at Indian Knoll Elementary to discuss with them the struggles of my oldest son. It seems he has inherited his father’s weaknesses. The teachers were gracious. They spoke of his passion for learning and his drive to succeed. But they also recognized his heart. The teachers were quick to point out his caring spirit and generous personality. I am confident that his teachers are committed to his success.

Sandy Giudice was awarded the Teacher of the Year for Cherokee County. Superintendent Dr. Frank Petruzielo presented the award to Ms. Guidice in her third-grade classroom at Macedonia Elementary School. According to the Cherokee Tribune, in his remarks, Dr. Petruzielo said, “She’s done all the things that great teachers do that go above and beyond.” When explaining why she received the award he said, “She is only going to be happy if all of the kids succeed.”

It was that same type of love for teaching that I received when meeting with my child’s educators. It could also be felt from my high school math teacher and his determination to see me succeed. I am grateful for the non-charter school public educators in the state of Georgia. Among all the challenges they face as educators who must navigate through the politics, there are teachers who are not happy until all of the children succeed.

It seems that a majority of Georgians have a desire for public charter schools. The amendment in favor of giving the state more authority over charter schools passed during Tuesday’s election. I don’t really want to get involved in the debate. I know where I stand but it just goes to show we can just about politicize anything in the Peach State.


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