I know I'm critical of Dallas Independent School District and public education in general. That's basically because I believe we've allowed politics to become the driving force behind what ultimately will either secure our future or signal our downfall. Education impacts every level of society but it is also vulnerable to the tired ideologies of electioneers. Much of what is wrong with our schools can be laid at these elected officials, from the halls of local administration buildings, to the corridors of power in our nation's capitol, we are not far from ruining our greatest contribution to civilization - the concept of a guaranteed education for all citizens.
So their is much to criticize.
But there is much to celebrate, as well and none of us should forget that.
Most of us think of 'signing day' as the day early in the year when high school jocks, sign letters of intent with colleges and universities around the country. We know most of them won't make it to the pros (many of them won't make the teams with which they sign), but a good many will thrill us on Saturdays and will hopefully get a good education.
May 6, however, a new signing day was recognized and I hope it too becomes a tradition.
Nearly 300 students who've excelled in academics signed their scholarship letters to colleges and universities on Sunday and they got recognized! It was even on television!!!
The amount of the scholarships was over $75 million, and were to such powerhouses as Johns Hopkins, Harvard, the University of Texas Austin and everywhere in between.
These are talented kids who worked hard. They had some good teachers, most had great family support and nurturing communities. They are the products of that village we keep talking about.
We won't necessarily see these kids on Saturdays and Sundays on the gridiron, hardwood or between the lines. But we'll see them in doctors offices, court rooms, labs, classrooms, city halls, courts, floors of congress and the like, every day of the week. Some will be mothers and fathers, and have jobs that may seem kind of ordinary, but they will make our communities and advance our culture.
Now the job is to increase that number. I just met with someone today who told me that a Dallas area high school that started with a 9th grade class of nearly 300, has a graduating class of 70!
Unfortunately, we can't celebrate too long...