It has been about twenty-five years since I created a Christmas wish list I would send to Santa Clause the day after Thanksgiving. I wrote all the items I wanted to receive for Christmas. I remember how excited I was to make my wish list, put it in an envelope, and send to his address at the North Pole. Even after my parents bought my entire world down when they told me there was no Santa Clause, I continue to make a Christmas wish list. On that wish list, I have the newest gadgets, video games, and toys. I would also request replacements or upgrades for games and devices I already had. Not sure when I stopped making those wish lists for Christmas. This year, I have decided to make a Christmas wish list for educators. Here are the six things that I would like for Christmas this year.
1. Better Schools for Black and Brown Children: There are too many black and brown children in my city attending underperforming schools. There are many black and brown children attending schools where they are not being taught and where their talents are not being developed. They are suffering both academically and socially in many of our city’s schools. All children deserve to attend a high-quality school. Why do black and brown children have to attend schools where there aren’t enough highly qualified and skillful teachers? I want them to attend schools where they will be loved, educated, and sent off into the world where they can find their success.
2. More Educators of Color: The one disappointing thing about was the lack of representation of educators of color in my schools. I want more schools to have educators of color teaching. I want to see more black men teaching in schools and not just being sports coaches or behavioral coaches. I want to see Hispanic men and women educating in our schools. Having educators of color will allow for students of color to see someone that looks like them and has an understanding of what is like to be a student of color in a system that was not designed for them. It creates a reflection that if you made it, then I can too. I want more educators of color, so white students can see Hispanic men and women and African American men and women educating them and hopefully change their perception that not all of us do not grow up wanting to be rappers and athletes.
3. My students to have more self-confidence: I want my scholars to get to a point where they have the utmost belief and confidence in their availability. I want them to believe in themselves even if the doubters do not believe. I want them to have the determination to overcome their life circumstances that may make their journey more difficult. I want them not to be persuaded against their desires by people who do not care.
4. Affordable preschool for all children (Universal Pre-K): The prices parents pay for preschool for their children is ridiculous. No wonder many low-income families decide not to send their child to preschool; instead, they opt to either stay at home and not work, or they send their child to a daycare. If preschool was more affordable, there is no doubt that we can help close the achievement gap that still exists in many of our school communities in our state.
5. Indiana – Mandate Kindergarten: If you have never worked in an elementary school, then you have no idea the glaring differences you find in children who attended kindergarten and the ones that have not. If you have never been to a kindergarten class at the beginning of the school, then you have no idea how difficult their job is. In my opinion, kindergarten may be the most challenging grade to teach. It has nothing to do with the difficulties of the curriculum, but for the patience, you must have to deal with five-year-old trying to adjust to a new environment. You have to deal with the feelings of them missing being away from their parents and learning to play with others. They feel overwhelmed by all the commotion of their new surroundings. The good ones do it with a smile and patience just like with preschool by mandating kindergarten will give children a better opportunity to get ahead in life instead of playing catch up.
6. For numbers one through five to come true: My list is extremely important, so my number wish list for this Christmas is that the previous five things I wished for to be delivered on Christmas by the Education Santa.