Wednesday, September 27, 2006

"Brooklyn Boy"

Below is Mr. E's response to the previous blog entry "Who is Zevinon?" I reposted it here because I din't want anyone to miss it. Thank you Brian in advance for taking time you share your thoughts.

"I have to say Wally that you make some solid points. First of all, if we begin to seriously question some of the pillars of QHST then I am afraid the building, and essentially vision, will crumble.

But at the same time we must show some flexibility. Remember, great leaders/documents, etc. admit wrong doings, learn from mistakes or from simply lofty and unattainable goals, and change for the greater good and "fix" things. I think you would agree that much like the neo-con Republicans you so aptly cited, we must not get into the habit of NOT fixing things when addressing QHST'S policies/goals/design etc. Because if we fail to do so we might wake up one day cornered without any "exit strategy."

Yet we must not sacrifice the pillars of QHST - the very core of what makes our school different from others - in order to fix everything. We must be very careful in what we choose to fix. We must also be careful not to always choose solutions that are comfortable and familiar. QHST was designed to "not fit." It was designed to somewhat not make sense. I fear overfixing things just for the sake of feeling more at ease will only make us more unrecognizable. Besides, is this really about "me" or the kids? To be frank, I'm a Brooklyn boy whose seen what NYC crappy schools are like up close. I've lived amongst teachers who clocked out on time, had trouble remembering your name in the hallways, and paralyzed education by sequestering themselves into content-driven clusters that resemble our dysfuntional Homeland Security department. Sure there were exceptions, but the majority pretty much was unremarkable.

Having said this, I just don't get what all the fuss is about? QHST is a work in progress. Why aren't we recgonizing some of the greatness of daily life? For one, our school is extremely diverse. Second, our High School students and teachers have a very unique relationship, unlike most schools. Finally, at every corner there is an unspoken tolerance for one another. In SLC I hear how students misbehave and act like this and act like that - damn they are kids! Sorry to go off topic but it seems that we are complaining just to complain. Sometimes I even find myself doing the same! (Ugh! how annoying) Honestly, my only real beef is with the damn technology, give me some copiers that work all the time and a much faster Internet network and I will call it the day for a while.

Perhaps we complain simply because there really isn't anything "very serious" to complain about? Walk the halls of Grady HS in Brooklyn and then come back to me with your complaints. Just make sure you don't wear anything metal or you won't get in. Our student body is age- appropriate, and to be frank, quite sensitive and caring. I think this comes with being a QHST student - where the individual is known and accountable. Not to mention, learning in an inclusive setting also builds gentlemen out of boys and ladies out of girls without them even knowing it. I am not denying that like all NYC schools, we too have some tough kids who come from some tough places. But I really believe that school in general is a big part of "the street" and if your school is one that is positive, models acceptance, and truly makes kids feel special - then suddenly a child's whole neighborhood starts to change. And soon enough the school becomes the norm and everything else that is negative slowly is rejected. Isn't that a major goal? To show students there's more to the world than what they previously thought?

Certainly there are exceptions and perhaps some students truly need a different environment for their best interests, but the majority of our students, and our core beliefs, make our school stand out. More so than even the suburban wonderland to our east - our school teaches just by simply being. Its design empowers skills and values that transend school walls and permeate the larger society. To change these fundamental beliefs, I'm afraid, will only lead us down a slippery slope where QHST transforms itself into every other NYC public school that gets lost in the mix. This will only move our students, further from being recognized, and (as you say Wally) applauded by the masses."

- Eddelson

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