I am sure that just about everyone has seen the movie, “12 Wishes of Christmas” with Elisa Donovan in the title role. If you have not, here is a summary. In the story, Laura is given twelve wishes by the mysterious Noel. Most of Laura’s wishes are frivolous and have minimum forethought. Even though Noel warns Laura to be careful, she uses her last wish without making a difference in the world. Then the real story begins, but I will leave that for you to enjoy for yourself. This is a really great movie (even if it is not Christmas).
As I watched the movie again over the Christmas break, I began to ponder what I would wish for if the opportunity was presented. I even took it a step further and wrote down my twelve wishes. One was for a bigger house. Two involved college funds and a financial legacy for my children. Two centered on healing and a handicap accessible home for my daddy. Four asked for increases in income through my various business ventures. So, of the twelve, I had the ability to control the outcome of nine of them to some significant extent. But the last three were HUGE!
- End homelessness
- Salvation for all people
- Every school is a good school
The last one has really been eating at me since I wrote it down. I could understand if we were still living in the times prior to the Brown v. Board of Education (1954) decision to end segregated schools. I could even understand if the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (2001) – No Child Left Behind – had not been passed. But it is really hard for me to understand why there are still so many disparities in education when there seems to be so many resources and unlimited access to technology.
My oldest daughter and I were having a discussion one morning about how pleased we were with our decision to move from an area of town in which we had lived for over six years. The motivation for the move was a better education for my children, of course. We are in the same school system, but the schools are light years apart. I was raving about how much my younger three were learning, that every student in the middle school was issued an iPad, the performance opportunities for the middle school chorus, and the level of communication from the teachers and schools. My daughter’s response was “that’s what happens when you move to the good schools.” I was floored and tears began to fill my eyes. My retort was that “every school should be a good school.” This conversation is probably what led to my inclusion of this “wish”.
As I tutor students living in our and surrounding counties, I am saddened that my “wish” is in no way, shape, or form a reality. The inequality in the education of our youth is still very much real. There are some children that I have no idea how to help because they are so far behind, although they move to the next grade every year. I am confused when I have students taking advanced courses who do not have basic understanding of the concepts taught in courses years before. I am angry when students are given the impression they are a lost cause when they just need someone to present the information in a way they can understand and excel. My heart breaks as I listen to young people talk about being stressed to the point of a potential breakdown or are just going through the motions because they are tired of trying to realize someone else’s dream. I am disappointed when teachers are “forced out” because they want to create learners by meeting every student where they are and take them to the next level rather that teach to the test.
As you read, you may be looking forward to hearing the solution to this dilemma. Unfortunately, you will not find that answer here. With everything that I am, I want every person to love learning as much as I do. Then we would have more innovators because they will take their education beyond what anyone can give them. Instead, their thirst will drive them to seek out opportunities to learn even more. Cures for diseases will be found. The social problems of the world will end. There will be no limit to the imagination . . . i.e. reality. I don’t have the resources to make my “wish” come true. But as long as I live, I will use my God given gifts to impact the life of every student I tutor. I am creating lifelong learners one student at a time . . . and loving every minute of it.