By Sharon Garrett
1st Vice Chair, GCDP
As a high school English teacher, I have noticed that students do not like to read. They really do not want to write an essay. Some high school students write very poorly. They do not write a complete thought or a sentence. The definition of a sentence is a subject and a predicate and it expresses a complete thought.
Here’s an example: Paul ran through the field. This sentence expresses a complete thought. Many students are more concerned with listening to music on their cellphones or watching videos on YouTube. Telling them to study for a test is like something from the dark ages. As educators, we are sometimes told to not give a lot of homework. Students have football, softball, basketball, track, soccer, cheerleading, volleyball, and band practice.
These extra-curricular activities are wonderful but academics come first and foremost. Most students are not being challenged on a daily basis. They learn the tricks to pass a test – learning the bear minimum. Now a grade of 60 is just barely passing. What are we telling our youth? That the minimum amount of effort is enough to succeed in the world today? That is not a value that students should want to achieve.
The United States is falling behind in technology-driven countries like Japan, India, China, Singapore, Germany, to name a few. Most of these children are very poor but they have the desire and yearning to learn something new. They want to be part of the next greatest technological advancement.
The students in Greenville County still want to achieve but, a vast majority are OK with just getting by. We need to make laptops available to all students in grades 3-12 in Greenville County.
In kindergarten through second grade, we need to make sure students have Chromebooks and laptops that focus on phonics, reading, introducing Spanish words daily, basic math, and all shapes and colors.
Then we need to make sure there is broadband access in all areas of the county for the students. This will ensure that every student has access to a quality education. But remember, reading is still fundamental and if you do not know how to read you will be left behind. Mastering reading is still the biggest hurdle for students and it starts in the classroom and at home.
So, there is an opportunity for partnerships with Greenville County and Dell or Hewlett Packard to acquire laptops for every student. Then, there is Verizon and AT&T for broadband access in all parts of the county. Let’s not forget that students need books to read at home so publishers like Random House, Macmillan Publishing, HarperCollins, Scholastic, Inc. and Penguin Putnam can supply books for the students.These companies have excelled in their various fields and they know what it takes to have a top-notch employee.
Therefore, they should jump at the chance to help all students in Greenville County excel academically and help to close the inequality gap that exists in education in grades K4-12. The executives at these companies should realize that the public relations is far greater than their bottom line, especially now that the world is reminding us that All Lives Matter and especially black and brown lives matter.