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Why Do You Ask?

From asking questions that require an answer To asking questions that require a conversation.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Hopes, Lies, and Reality

Students started back to school yesterday (Friday 08-08-08). Good day.

It was funny (to me) because so many school officials were saying that our numbers would be down...way down. We ended last year with around 1450 students in our middle school (grades 6-8).

So why were they expecting lower numbers?

We are the Carpet Capital of the World in Dalton. The economy is such that several thousand layoffs occurred earlier this year. School officials were predicting our Mexican-heritage families would be moving away - going back to Mexico. [It is a rerun of the 1950s-60s thing of Blacks back to Africa mentality.]

This exodus was a prediction made back in late February. I told our principals not all of the business community was not seeing things the same way. My wife, a nurse in an OB/GYN office said the local hospital was telling OB doctors to expect a larger number of births beginning in October of 2008...9 months after the layoffs began to take place and not ending until people went back to work, which could be a while. So imagine how many kids will show up at the middle school in August 2020!

The first day back to school for teachers was on Monday (08-04-08) and I heard three different people say they heard 10,000 people had moved from the area over the summer. I asked two of them if they meant 1000 people. "No," they assured me. It was 10,000 according to the carpet mill execs (whoever they are). C'mon, check your sources people.

During the week we had over 90 NEW students register. Yes, there were a few no-shows (about 80)- on the first day of school, which was a Friday, so I expect more to begin showing up on Monday.

I'm back in Social Studies this year, and I wish our community could apply higher-level taxonomy to the histories of immigrant/migrant populations. Our Latino families have been here for over a decade, nearly two decades now. They are not going anywhere. They are not just a part of the community, they are the majority population of the community now. When times get hard for families, they tend to move INTO the city, not out of the city. That way they can walk, bike, or more easily carpool to the jobs that are available.

I always envisioned myself doing mission work in Latin America, especially after a mission trip to Puerto Rico in 1983. But my wife and I never went. Well, the mission field has come to us. I'm not complaining...I love it. Within a few weeks, I predict our school will break the 1500-student mark. It's time for a 2nd middle school. We'd still have two of the larger middle schools in the area. But funding favors enormous, so I'll not hold my breath for a new school anytime soon. So for now, come on in kids, there's a place for you here.

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At 9:02 PM, Anonymous Phil said...


1. Do your feet hurt yet? Mine always do until I get used to being back on concrete floors and giving up my sandals.

2. Remind them that Uhhh always starts a question and Ummm begins a statement. It will engage the seventh grade mind in an endless loop while they consider the possibility you may be right.

I work in an area with Somali families who have been here for over twenty years. They have children, and some even have grandchildren who were born here. Yet we discuss them as a subgroup due to AYP.

Good luck with the class.

At 8:14 PM, Blogger Ric Murry said...


My feet ache, my knees hurt!

Great comment about the subgroup issue in AYP. Why don't we have the Irish heritage kids (of which I am one) as a subgroup? Or does White-non-hispanic cover anyone with low pigment skin tones?

I think it would be funny if all kids in the country would mark their test as mixed race.


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