Tag Archives: education

‘Kids today’ are doing well

A standing assignment I have while writing freelance articles for a group of weekly newspapers in Collin County, Texas, exposes me to the realization that we are leaving this world in fine hands.

In recent years I have been writing feature articles on the two top scholars graduating from Farmersville High School. We call them the “vals and sals.” The valedictorian and salutatorian in high school classes generally get extra attention from local media everywhere; it’s no different in the communities served by the husband-wife team that owns these papers.

I haven’t yet met the top two academic finishers from the FHS Class of 2024. I am hoping to arrange this week for a time to meet the two young women who will tell me a bit of their story.

What I want to share with this brief message is the joy I get talking to these young people. Every time, in every community where I have had the pleasure of working, I come away from these meetings feeling good about our future. These young people are impressive in many important ways.

They have clear goals for themselves. They are focused on succeeding. They strive for excellence. What’s more, the diversity of their upbringing tells me that whether they come from broken homes or from families with mothers and fathers who remain devoted to each other, the young scholars will not be deterred from achieving meeting the goals they have set for themselves.

All of this proves to me that when someone rolls their eyes and lament something about “kids today” that they should rest assured that the generation that will inherit the world we are leaving behind will do better than “just fine.”

Let us not forget, too, that elders’ concern about their world’s future goes back to the beginning of civilization.

Equal protection in jeopardy? What?

The U.S. Supreme Court, in my un-learned view, took an unusual tack in striking down college and university affirmative action admission policies this week.

It said the schools no longer can use a person’s race to help determine whether he or she should be admitted, but left the door open to allowing schools to determine whether the college applicant has suffered from discrimination as a result of his or her race.

That’s a fairly narrow decision, yes?

Chief Justice John Roberts’s opinion written for the court majority, though, says affirmative action violates the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection clause contained in the 14th Amendment.

Hold on!

Affirmative action became law for the very same reason! Students were denied equal protection because they were being discriminated against on the basis of their race.

I am left to wonder: Which is it? Which of these policies is unconstitutional? Denying someone entrance because of their race or giving them opportunities they otherwise wouldn’t have?

I am going to stick with the former definition, siding with those who believe affirmative action policies are the suitable remedies to denying students equal access to education.


Teachers deserve our honor and respect

My wife and I live one block from an elementary school in Princeton, Texas and each day when we take our stroll through the ‘hood, we see evidence of great things happening with the children who go there each day.

I want to salute the men and women who serve those children, their parents and, yes, the rest of us who don’t have kids attending that particular school or even in the school district where we live. What I witness often are teachers interacting joyfully with their students, who interact with equal amounts of joy with the teachers.

I know it’s a little thing. Then again, it’s not so little, particularly if the child gets too little joy when he or she goes home at the end of the day.

Some years ago I took a turn as a substitute teacher in Amarillo, where my wife and I lived before we relocated to Princeton. It was an eye-opening experience for me. I learned one thing about myself right away from that stint: I am not wired to teach children. 

More to the point is that I am not wired to take the abuse that kids dish out to subs who fill in for the regular teachers. Yes, I got a form of abuse from those kids. They were high schoolers. I won’t tell you which high school; just know that it was one of the public HS’s in Amarillo.

I am not casting aspersions on a particular generation of children, or on the community where we lived, or on the school system. It’s just the way it is and the way it has always been since the beginning of recorded human history. Kids look for ways to game the system in their favor. Their “victims” are their elders. I did some of it myself when I was that age.

My experience as a substitute teacher filled me with admiration for those who choose that profession. I also am amazed at those full-time substitute teachers who answer the call to report for work wherever the school district needs them.

The good ones are among the most special human beings I can imagine.

I salute you.