Our schools here in Cumberland, RI have a company that puts out lunch menus each month. It was recently brought to my attention by a parent that these menus are riddled with spelling mistakes and that words such as spaghetti, raisin, and fruit are spelled incorrectly.
How does a school district even consider trying to justify to children that, despite our expectation that they read, write, and spell correctly, we are not going to hold ourselves to the same standard on the things we write for them?
A little problem? Yes.
A problem that we can allow to go on? Absolutely not.
We, as a school committee, as a school district, and as a community need to share a common vision of high standards. High standards for the school committee, high standards for parents, high standards for teachers, high standards for administrators, high standards for custodians, high standards for support staff, and most importantly, high standards for kids.
Young children love to be challenged; they also love showing their elders what they’ve accomplished and they beam with pride when they are acknowledged for a job well done. Whatever their aptitudes may be, the bar should be set appropriately HIGH.
Are we here in Cumberland sufficiently challenging our kids in school?
Have we created a culture of high standards in all of our school buildings?
Are we working collaboratively on behalf of our students and taking advantage of the many resources we have in the talents and skills of those in our community?
Are we willing to say, ‘yes, that’s the way we’ve done it in the past but let’s try something new’?
Are we putting the needs of students above the needs and wants of the adults?
Do we have an open and transparent process where the public can easily access information and get questions answered regarding the schools?
Rhode Island is a high spending, low performing state when it comes to education. Cumberland has a chance to be an example for the rest of Rhode Island of what is possible for kids when the adults work together and think outside the box. People always tell me to be patient and that change comes slowly. I do not believe or accept that as a given. With a shared vision and a sense of urgency, change can come faster than we think. For our kids’ sake in Cumberland, across the state, and across the nation, it needs to come quickly.
What do you think?