Father’s Day: Mixed Emotions

Taken from Urlesque.com

It’s currently 12:28 AM, and I realize that it’s officially Father’s Day.  I want to recognize all of the fathers around the world who are making positive impacts in their children(s)’ lives.  There are many times where fathers get the brunt of a lot of criticism of not being there for their children, and overall not present.

I’m happy to say that I know a couple of my friends who are good fathers to their children; and I hope that they will remain good parents.  I have always believed that it takes more than one parent to raise a child.  The presence of a father figure is essential.  Now myself, I don’t have any kids as of yet, so I can’t really celebrate Father’s Day in its entirety.  As a matter of fact, I won’t be celebrating it much at all.

My Father’s Day will consists of these thoughts:  1. Where is my biological father? 2. Why couldn’t my step-father be the father figure that I desperately needed?

I’ve never gotten the chance to meet my biological father.  No letter, no phone call, no nothing.  Does it hurt?  Every time I think about it.  Why couldn’t he acknowledge me for being one of his own? I would always talk to my mother and ask why I never saw my biological father.  Even with the answers given to me, I feel that it’s absolutely no excuse to not see the son you help birthed into this world.  I don’t care if you decide to leave my mother relationship-wise:  at least show me that you care.  Unfortunately, he did not as he has not made any attempt to contact me.  I strongly feel as this point in my life even if I did meet him, I would never acknowledge him for more than just a man who brought me into this world, that’s all.  I would have some very hurtful things to say.

I watched the movie Taken the other day for the first time.  There were many different messages I took away from the movie.  The main message that I interpreted from the movie is that no matter how far (emotionally and physically) you are from your children, be there for them when they need you the most.  Bryan Mills, played by Liam Neeson, was there for his daughter, no matter if she was in a different household, or even if she was trapped in Paris, France.  That’s the type of love I never received.

To all of fathers out there:  be there for your children if it allows you to.  You know what, forget that:  be there no matter what. I know that when I have children, I will do everything in my power to lead my children in the right direction.  It’s a damn shame that many fathers don’t care to be there.  To the fathers that are doing good, I applaud you.  Happy Father’s Day.

Schools Cheating to Get Ahead?

I was watching TV a couple of days ago and I saw a story regarding an elementary school and cheating test scores.  After further investigation, the school was George Washington Elementary School located in Baltimore, Maryland (my hometown).  Here’s an excerpt of the story below (full story can be viewed here). 

A Baltimore elementary school principal’s professional license has been revoked after officials found widespread cheating on state tests at her school.Baltimore City Public Schools CEO Andres Alonso and State Superintendent Nancy Grasmick said the test tampering occurred in 2008 at George Washington Elementary School. 

The 18-month investigation included a review of hundreds of test booklets that revealed a “pattern of erasures changing incorrect answers to correct,” according to a release from the city school system. The tests were taken by students in grades 3, 4 and 5. 

Further down the article, the drastic change in test scores from one year to another is explained 

“The district said the probe was triggered by the dramatic shift in test results from 2004, when reading scores were at 47.6 percent and math scores were at 67.9, to 2007, when reading scores soared to 100 percent and math scores went up to 98.9 percent.” 

Since I live in Baltimore and I hear about the constant struggles of the Baltimore City school system, this piece of news deals a significant blow to a failing school system.  I personally don’t understand what can be gained from teachers, or better yet the administration, changing answers on a state exam.  There can be a point made that the school can gain financially by the strength of excellent test scores with the likes of better funding. 

However, how do the kids gain anything from this?  Most kids will think that their answers are correct and that they understand the material being presented to them.  This is unfortunately not the case.  I thought that the focus was on teaching children, even if they were to make mistakes; not giving children false hope by secretly changing answers. 

The investigation led to then-principal Susan Burgess being stripped of her professional license.  There is one SMALL problem: Burgess retired in the spring.  Should Burgess be held responsible for the actions of the school teachers who changed the scores?  In my opinion, I believe so.  As the leader of George Washington Elementary, or any school for the matter, you are responsible for making sure nothing like this occurs.  You are responsible for keeping your faculty in line to prevent a catastrophic event like this. 

I would find it very hard to believe that the principal didn’t know anything about this going on at the time, so the excuse of her possibly not knowing is nonsense.  At the same time, who else should be held accountable?  Teachers? School Board? Parents?  Blame could be pointed to a lot of areas. 

I haven’t done any research on this same type of story being reported in other schools or states, but I believe that there’s a possibility of this happening elsewhere.  I just hope that this is a small rate of this actually happening, for education sake.