I had told myself I wasn't going to write about this, but I don't think there is a better example of what is wrong with Hartford's schools.
Last night I received a call from a 15 year old girl who is a student at Weaver High School, and I want to apologize to her upfront for writing about this, but even though I know her name, I won't post it out of respect for our conversation.
When she called she asked if she could talk to me about my blog. The caller was very well spoken and she told me that she was a student at Weaver and both herself and many or her friends read the blog and she wanted to talk about some of the things I posted.
The conversation went well for a while and she said that I was right about the conditions at Weaver. She told me how she had at times thrown her lunch out because she would lose her appetite watching bugs and roaches running on the walls. She told me about days when it seemed like it was warmer outside than it was in the school because of the lack of heat.
She told me about the lack of equipment and teaching materials. She even told me about the principal that would come into the classroom and scream at other students.
Suddenly, she began crying and told me she was going to drop out of school because she couldn't deal with it anymore. She said most of the kids realized that many of the so called "leaders" were all about the money and not at all about the kids.
How do you respond to that? How do you try to convince her that she is exactly right, many of the adults are about the money, but hang in there anyways since it is definitely better than dropping out and ending up on the streets?
It just doesn't make any sense and it seems difficult to try to make sense out of it to someone living it. As much as many try to blame the problems on children and parents who don't want to learn, I think it is so much more about a system that is so broke and doesn't want to change.
How fast do you think the conditions at Weaver High School would change if suddenly Superintendent Adamowski was told to pack up the 960 Main Street "Taj Mahal" because their offices were being moved to Weaver.
Adamoski's gold lettered signs and mahogany desks and woodwork would be replaced. Replaced with spray painted stencils on cinder block walls used as signs to direct you around a building eerily similar to a prison.
Imagine Adamowski and Kelvin Roldan eating their catered Max Bibo lunches on desks and tables with roaches scattering about. Imagine Dr. Kishimoto using a rest room with mold and filth and no toilet paper or handsoap.
Maybe then the conditions might actually become about the kids, and a fifteen year old who really wants to succeed wouldn't be crying about the thought of dropping out. Maybe then our schools would be about educating children rather than about making adults rich.
The phone call from a 15 year old seemed to bring it much more into perspective but it also makes you wonder what it will take to change things. Hopefully my fifteen year old caller will finish her education and consider going into education herself, with a commitment not to repeat the mistakes she has had forced upon her by the adults currently doing it for the money.
I guess we can hope.