Op/Ed By Michael Vaughn –
I’ve continued to hear many unflattering things about the Rochester City School District, and, with all of the ills the district has suffered, it just makes me wonder: how do we expect students to improve, when there has been so much negative talk surrounding them?
What we cannot dispute is that there are many issues facing the RCSD, and that we need to find solutions to the district’s problems, if we are to properly educate our young people.
That said, how we go about finding the solutions, in a manner that does not pamper the young folks and also does not beat them into a position of despair and hopelessness, is our next challenge.
I think the interesting thing is that, when there are expectations laid out for people, they tend to meet those challenges.
Therefore, if we have low, or no expectations, laid out for city school district students, then they will have nothing to reach for, and failure will be their only option.
There is a scripture that states, “where there is no vision, the people perish.”
What it actually means is that, “without a goal, people cast off restraint.”
When someone has a goal, they automatically put on the necessary restraints, in order to reach that goal.
For example, when people want to try to lose weight, they stop eating certain foods, or they take the time go to the gym.
And, when people want to buy a house, they forgo their other expenses, in order to save costs to have enough for their down payment.
Therefore, if we were to provide goals for RCSD students (and they bought into them) they would likely place the constraints on themselves to meet those goals.
However, if the folks who are responsible for students’ education continue to tear down the local educational system, it would indirectly lower their expectations, and therefore the goals, of city students.
Subsequently, they would achieve what has been expected of them.
The psychological term for this is called a “self-fulfilling prophecy (SFP).”
As a result, our current challenge is to recognize the problems students face, and to decide what the best course of action may be.
We must set the bar high, so that they will expend the necessary energy to get there.
We do not want to settle for “C” averages as being the highest bar for our students.
We need to shoot for “A” averages.”
And, for those young folks who do not make it, we must encourage them to keep trying, and to provide them with the resources to help them reach the bars that we set.
Not everyone is an “A” student, however, that does not mean we cannot challenge students to try to meet that goal.
Even though every runner may not win the race, each athlete still prepares, and every runner tries his or her best to win.
And, if he or she does not win, as any good coach would, we must continue to positively encourage them, without making them feel like they are victims.
This will leave them open to experiencing victory, by teaching them to set the goals they are able to achieve.
We must lay aside the challenges of politics and power, and decide what is best for the young people of this city.
I believe that every student has purpose, and that they will all go after whatever bar is set for them.
Will it happen in one, two, or five years?
I don’t know.
However, I do know that if we continue to only focus on the RCSD’s poor performance, there is no amount of money that will be able to turn that ship around.
More money will not teach our young folks to set goals for themselves, if negativity still exists around them.
Therefore, we must speak with one voice, together, to help set high goals for our young people, while providing real solutions to the issues that plague RCSD!
If you would like to contact me, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.