As we approach the eve of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s holiday commemoration and reflect on his legacy of making the world a better place, let’s grasp the opportunity to get behind our school leaders and teachers to help provide all students the best educational opportunities possible, for Dr. King did subscribe to the notion that education was the “great equalizer of the conditions of men.”
To be sure, Dr. King would have wanted us to use every platform to instill in our children and youth the importance of education, beginning in the home and extending into the broader community, conveying high expectations of all students. Realizing that the schooling of young people should be a collaborative endeavor, King would have insisted on organizing coalitions among parents, community leaders, churches and school leaders, working together to raise strong children who must never settle for “just getting by.” To paraphrase the French author Victor Hugo, who had a keen sense of justice, one who teaches a child to read, closes a prison.
As we continue to move forward into this new year, like never before, parents and the general community should show our support in helping “to move our school system forward,” maintaining the system’s present momentum for growth and achievements for all the schools. Educating our youth and preparing them for the future must remain a collaborative effort. It will continue to require us to work together to put the educational welfare of every child front and center, keeping them on the educational pathway to improve their life chances for success. It is my hope and belief that such a concerted effort will allow all students to thrive, resulting in greater educational outcomes.
Also, it is my belief that Dr. King would want us to remain vigilant to the fact that one of the most enormously important issue in our lifetime will be educational equality—how to ensure all children are receiving the best educational opportunities possible. To help achieve that goal, one of the core beliefs in the Clinton City Schools states, “We believe all parents and community members should be involved in the lives of our students.” Interestingly, school research suggests that students who have the support of the adults in their lives generally improve their chances of educational success.
Furthermore, community entities can be invaluable assets when it comes to organizing support for children and youth, with their members extending their experience and expertise to work on behalf of children. As a community, we must do all we can to ensure every child receives a quality education, for education is still the key to a better life.
On this eve of Dr. King’s holiday commemoration, let’s commit to making our school system the best it can be for all our children and youth as we fulfill the schools’ mission of putting young people on the path to becoming productive and contributing citizens.
Larry Sutton is a retired teacher from Clinton High School.