When Public Schools Aren’t Created Equally From Inside

The school year is coming to a close, as you see the delight in children’s eyes with visions of no homework, sleeping in, endless cartoons or hours spent playing outside and the many teacher videos popping up all over social media where they are celebrating the end of another challenging year with dance routines and song.

The other sign of a school year wrapping up are career fairs. The idea behind this event is to find teachers not only locally, but from all over the world to fill vacancies that have either become available because of transitions or positions they were not able to fill through-out the year.

Photo Credit: Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools Facebook
Photo Credit: Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools Facebook

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) held such a fair on May 21, 2016 to fill over 400 vacancies including instructional (teachers, social workers, counselors, etc.) and non-instructional (janitorial services, ASEP, teachers aide, landscaping, etc.) CMS has held this type of fair for many years due to teacher shortages and teachers leaving to travel about 20-30 minutes to South Carolina , where teachers’ pay scales are higher per year with perks of pay raises and money to buy school supplies. (Yes, I know you are thinking, shouldn’t that be a given? Ask any teacher you know and they will tell you it is not.) North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory signed a new bill into law in 2014 however, the bill left most disenchanted due to the new salary scale, which left most veteran teachers not seeing much benefit.

I have lived in Charlotte for many years, I witnessed the exodus. I saw more teachers leaving, positions unable to be filled and can recall times my daughter had 39 other classmates in class with her. Yes, 40 children in one class with ONE teacher.

Now, let me get back to the career fair. I have a friend who had dreamed of perhaps being a teacher. He has the education and personality that would benefit children and I informed him of the fair. He excitedly filled out the application, contacted whom he thought he needed to at Charlotte Mecklenburg School’s offices and even attended a seminar about the upcoming fair, so that he would perhaps have a better footing on learning who and what CMS was looking for. He did say the presenter of the webinar did not “present”, so the information was limited because she spent most of the webinar answering questions during the time not allotted for questions. Nonetheless, he remained excited about the upcoming fair.

Photo Credit: personal
Photo Credit: personal

Career day comes and he is “suited and booted” ready to go and meet teachers and administrators from CMS schools with the idea, that face to face time is important in not only getting your questions answered, but also attempting to see who he may be working for. Not to mention, the career fair advertisement stated that attendees could be hired that day. What? Hired on the same day!? What prospect who was excited to begin a career fair would not be pumped about the possibility?

He arrives at the Park Expo and Conference Center at the time stated he should be there and there is a line. Okay, no problem. There are of course, a lot of people there and a line is expected. However, he stood in this line for over an hour because for some reason, CMS decided to have people wait outside as they attempted to direct attendees to certain “specialties” and label them as such before they could get in the door. These specialties  were based on your transcripts. Which was a tab bit backwards considering prior to the career fair, applicants were already separated based on teacher license and lateral entry. I would think incorporating that step would lessen wait times and confusion. But, alas that turned out not to be the case. My friend saw people getting turned away and even an attendee who currently worked for CMS and was looking to get into an instructional position. This didn’t make not even a tiny bit of sense to me. She already works for you, why did she need to stand in line? But, I digress.

Photo Credit: personal
Photo Credit: personal

Finally, my friend makes it into the fair after his “specialty” being deemed as Marketing, even though he was there for Computer Science and IT positions. I spoke to him after he exits asking how things went. He told me about how one of the administrators at a West Charlotte school stating they were trying to change the image/reputation of the school and he looked as of he would be a good candidate. He also spoke about another school and their plans. All exciting developments for him because he would be a first year teacher having never taught before. I was excited for him and I was not even there. But, then he mentioned something that changed my spirit. He stated he could immediately tell which schools had bigger budgets and staff that were truly excited about being there.

While all the schools at the career fair (160 of them to be exact) had signs above their tables stating who they were, some schools had professionally made banners, school crest, office supplies and tablets displaying websites and videos about the schools. Then there were schools who had poorly hand-made signs, no supplies and staff who seemed as if they would have loved to be anywhere else but there. And this is what saddened me.

Understandably, a school may not have the most enthusiastic staff members 24/7. Humans are allowed to have off days and are most definitely allowed mistakes. But, not at a school career fair, where hundreds or even thousands of potential teachers are there to give you everything they have. What type of potential teacher are you going to attract if your current teachers are sitting at a table representing you with the appearance of not being happy about being one of your current teachers?

Twin pics
Photo Credit: CMS Jobs Facebook Page

It is known not all schools are created equal, even with all the fluff we hear on television and the cotton candy nice statements we hear amongst school administrators. However, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools need to tell me why they would not even level the playing field (if you will) at their OWN career fair and make sure all of the schools present had the exact same appearance outside of school colors and mascots? Why would you all not make sure all of your schools had at the very least, pencils, pens, sticky notes, cups, banners? You know, those things the school system’s budget could handle without breaking the supposed bank. By allowing the schools to pretty much fend for themselves, you set into motion detrimental perceptions, that may or may not be true.

If you have first teachers or even veteran teachers walking through a massive expo looking for their dream job, there would undoubtedly be two reactions (1) teachers who want to teach, period and no school is above or below their reach or (2) teachers who will look at handmade signs and a ill-fitting table-cloth and shy away from those schools because they give off the impression (whether right or wrong) that those schools have no support and they will have to pay for supplies themselves. And could you really blame a teacher for falling into the second category? Come on, most teachers are not making huge salaries and simply cannot afford to pay for their own supplies.

There is something definitely wrong, when a school system such as Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools did not understand the absolute need for unity at this career fair. Schools need united fronts no matter the economic or demographic background of its students and community and if the top administrators of CMS do not realize this, where are we as a first-class city? There has been an issue with segregation in the school system for years and the School Choice program has done nothing to combat this issue. Even if a parent desired for their child to go to a better school, they were hit with hurdles with those schools being blocked before the choice application process even begun.

Still From The WBTV website
Photo Credit: WBTV website

Anyone walking into that expo for the very first or fifteenth time should not be able to tell where a school is located, their community involvement nor their financial viability. There is a terrible narrative out there, where people believe that a school in a economically challenged community does not have administrators, students and parents who care. This career fair added “points” to that troubling misnomer. We are killing some of these schools from the inside and not giving them a fighting chance.

My friend flew into Charlotte just for this career fair from Washington, D.C. and CMS, this is the impression you left him with to take back home. When I did research for this article, I placed the hashtag they wanted everyone to use while attending and I came across someone on Twitter, who stated  he has a Bachelors and Master’s Degree and was recommended to apply for a custodial position to get in the door, CMS that is the impression you left on a Charlottean.

Photo Credit" Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools Facebook
Photo Credit” Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools Facebook

I would love to hear from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools on their concept for this career fair and why they made some of their decisions. Somehow, I do not think that will happen.

 

Azealia Banks; The Monster We Fed

Photo Credit: Azealia Banks - ca.complex .com
Photo Credit: Azealia Banks – ca.complex .com

Remember back in 2014, when “Fancy” was playing on every radio station you could imagine and it crossed over onto urban radio stations as well, and on our television screens in Samsung commercials and more than likely playing on your 10 year old’s iPod or music streaming provider and you would subconsciously bop your head to the beat?

Or how about when so many magazines, newspapers and online news sources were writing articles about how the Australian- born musician Iggy Azalea was mocking  and “columbus’n” black culture and the artist formerly known as “She Stay Woke” Azealia Banks was taking every opportunity she could to have her say about Ms. Iggy, while making references to the Klu Klux Klan, her cocha and hurling racial slurs 140 characters at a time?

Oh but wait, was that 2014 and not two days ago when Azealia once again used Twitter as her personal pulpit and hurled racial slurs at another musician and was despicably attacking a 14-year-old black girl in the process?

Photo Credit: twitter , com
Photo Credit: twitter , com

“You a d–k rider for real for real. Ride this d–k until the wheels fall off Punjab.” – Azealia Banks 2016

“the token sand n—a from 1D” – Azealia Banks 2016

Photo Credit: yahoods .com
Photo Credit: yahoods .com

“@Iggyazalea do you know what a minstrel is? Because that’s what you are…..” – Azealia Banks 2014

Nicki is a hard-working rap-BEAST. stop trying to degrade and BELITTLE Our culture with this fucking kkk iggy shit. – Azealia Banks 2014

And now everyone, including Twitter, (who has suspended her account) are bewildered and angry about Azealia Banks’ behavior. Now, they believe her to a menace. Now, she has no talent and Now, she is a mentally challenged woman who needs help and censorship. Yet, 2 years ago she was the “hero” of black culture. So much so, that other artist who had been quiet as church mice concerning the state of hip-hop music and the increasingly dangerous misogynistic tone it has taken in the last 10 years decided to jump on the Iggy-Azalea-is-trash band-wagon and ride it until the 140 characters wheels fell off (Q-Tip, anyone?)  believing she was the second coming of #BlackGirlMagic in hip-hop form and should be heralded as such ad nauseam.

But why? It seems her blatant behavior was not deemed a problem because at the time, there was a common enemy; Iggy Azalea. Thus black folk had their pitch forks at the ready anytime she was mentioned with no worries, that by co-signing Azealia Banks’ behavior, you became her, one in the same…hand-holding and skipping down the street together. She was wrong THEN, just as she is wrong NOW.

Not because she has real, passionate moments, “Everybody knows that the basis of modern capitalism is slave labor. The selling and trading of these slaves. There are (expletive) huge corporations that are caking off that slave money and (expletive) like that. So until y’all (expletive) are ready to talk about what you owe me, at the very (expletive) least, you owe me the right to my (expletive) identity. And to not exploit that (expletive). That’s all we’re holding on to with hip-hop and rap.” Because she has not learned the difference between knowledge and ignorance. Ignorance is not that bliss.

Interesting, that the same people who created this monster, fed the monster and encouraged the monster now want it to go away without fanfare nor the lesson that no-one ever loves monsters for long.

Pot meet the pigment challenged kettle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

National Poetry Month- Tie Me Up

National Poetry Month- Day 5: I challenge you to spend some time looking at the names of heirloom plants, and write a poem that takes its inspiration from, or incorporates the name of, one or more of these garden rarities.

bachelor’s button

silken ribbons leave legacy of escaped gasps, illicit sighs, forbidden touch
and denial.
the binding marks, a guarded trophy never put on display.
beneath complaints of business demands, desire begins
to simmer.

what remains…
wet sheets
lipstick stained collars
and the bachelor’s button.

miajones 4/10/16

‪#‎NaPoWriMo‬
‪#‎GloNaPoWriMo‬

National Poetry Month- Love Affair With Food

National Poetry Month- Day 6: Write a poem about food. This could be a poem about a particular food, or about your relationship to food in general. Or it could simply be a poem relating an incident that involves food.

darker

its season is much too short
for the fanatics it creates
and while most love red’s attraction
it is the shade resembling nightfall
that is the sweetest seduction
which is quite difficult to resist

National Poetry Month- Cruel, Cruel Summer

National Poetry Month- Day 4:Write a poem in which you explore what you think is the cruelest month, and why.

suffocate.

Longer days
do not gain
the slightest smile.
Only terse eyes
and sassy attitude
for the gawds.
Not even promise
of beach strolls
across warmed sand.
Nor bomb pops
red, white, blue
sticky sweet memories.
Can change the
infinite side eyes
assigned to you.
So bid adieu
taking your fever
and her breath…
too.

National Poetry Month- Fan Mail

National Poetry Month-Day 3: Write a poem in the form of a fan letter to a celebrity. Now, this could be a celebrity from long ago, and needn’t be an actor or singer (though it could be).

stan.

Dearest She, Her, Me

The power you hold cannot be sent asunder by those who wish you would be seen by not heard. Those who refuse to see the determination in your irises as you witness tears in mothers who mourn their children too soon or the sparkle when the sisterhood is celebrated…the fierceness in your stride when you stomp the pavement seeking justice or grace when you walk into your anointing…the timbre in your voice when you school the deliberately ignorant or the admiration when you acknowledge those before you…or the strength in your hands when you mold the way we are represented to the world or the gentleness as you reach back to pull others up to be positioned next to you.

You are the mother earth and goddess of ‪#‎blackgirlmagic‬.

Signed-
your biggest fan.

miajones 4/3/16
‪#‎NaPoWriMo‬
‪#‎GloNaPoWriMo‬

National Poetry Month- Family Portraits

National Poetry Month-Day 2: Write a poem that takes the form of a family portrait.

family tree.

back bone splintered by war-torn countries thousands of miles away.
neck weighted from protecting and redirecting unspoken terrors.
legs tired by running away from self-inflicted non-memories.
arms fatigued with waving good-bye to birth rights and hello to strangers.
heart broken from trying to maintain the family’s ghost.

miajones-4/2/16

#NaPoWriPo

#GloNaPoWriPo

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