At the high school where I practiced teaching, Success Starts Herewe had a group of students (perhaps 200) whose collective name was the Renaissance Kids.

These students were 18 – 21 years old and included mothers, fathers, parolees, abusers, drug addicts and dealers, gang members, and LTAs (Long Term Absentees). An LTA showed up about 45 out of 180 days per school year.the journey

The school administrators had no clues what to do with them. Parents – if they had any – gave up. Law enforcement wished they would disappear. Welfare and child-care paid their bills / took care of them.

sZVNBOmcSome of them lived in foster homes, group homes, or no homes. The only meals some of them ate were breakfast and lunch when they came to school. In winter their attendance improved because inside the school building was warm.

They very rarely brought books and pens to school. We always kept extra note paper and pens handy.

When your AP hates your guts she puts you in a classroom with 34 of these life threatening kids.

Needless to say, very little teaching took place. Teachers assigned to the Renaissance Classes spent their time trying to break up fights, stop arguments, calling for help, praying the period would end, and they can walk out with life and limb.schoolroom

These troubled young people, if they were not fighting or arguing, then they were making phone calls, texting, showing baby pictures or cursing the teacher. They did no work. In fact, most of them could not read. Many said they can count money therefore they don’t need to learn math.

Administrators’ advice: “Do not argue with them or insist that they do work. They can turn violent in the blink of an eye. Just give them a 65. Let them go! They look good! We look even better.”*

flagThese men and women fell through the crack in the NYS Education System.

They graduated high school at age 20-21, went out into the world with no education, no life skills, and no future. But we have private prisons waiting for them.

No teacher can give these young people what they need. They need homes with love and stability. They need rehabilitation, counseling, job training. DSC03525-B

Repeat – they fell through the crack. This is American education. This is one New York City school. This is how we prepare our kids for your private prisons.

Wake up Mr. Governor. balloon-boyHow about a charter school for the Renaissance Kids?

You are failing our children – not the teachers!

 

*Quote taken from The Other Side of Teaching

 

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