Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Como Reading Blues (copy)

Sorry readers, I didn’t read anything this week. I had good intentions, but things I grabbed didn’t grab me. It is sad when a librarian, with access to a whole building full of books, cannot find a single one to read. Please forgive me.

It could be that I’m a little low over recent news. Como, Mississippi, my current home and where I worked as a public librarian before moving to Northwest, is experiencing a crisis. Two weeks ago, Washington Post featured Peter Whoriskey’s article “By the Mississippi Delta: A Whole School Left Behind” and it isn’t pretty.

Como Elementary according to Whoriskey, “is at the bottom of the heap.” The school ranks as the lowest scoring elementary school in math and reading in the state of Mississippi and the nation.

This news hit me hard. This is my community, these are my people. What is wrong?

The past two weeks I’ve heard all sorts of reasons “why” from friends and neighbors in town, but also from the nation through my blog. Apparently, we need more money, better teachers, better books, more parental involvement, etc. to improve. Bah!

What we need are motivated kids. Poverty is no excuse! Those kids get a free meal in the morning and for lunch. The teacher to student ratio is as low at 14, and, just who is to say these teachers are “bad”? I can personally name four past teachers who graduated from Ole Miss and got their start in Como Elementary. As for the books, I got three grants for the school while working as the public library. These grants bought books and only books. Also, in their fine library, ran by an excellent librarian, they continue to receive new books from the Barksdale grant.

Ah, let’s blame it on the parents, working eight hours a day to clothe, feed, and raise their own. Better yet, let’s just say Granny or Auntie aren’t pulling their weight. Bah!

I’m not sure where I saw this, and I was unable to verify this information before deadline, but I heard a man on the television state, “For every year you read to your child it adds $50,000 to their income as an adult.” If that doesn’t motivate a mother to pile the kids in the car and head to the nearest library, nothing will.

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