As I sat last night in the Henry Lord Cafeteria and listened to the compelling arguments for the approval of the final stretch of the Innovation School, I wondered to myself about what we would do today.
I was told by some of the proponents; it would go 4-3, that Mark Costa would not dare vote no, that he didn’t have “the you-know-whats.” I laughed at that. Because I had already been told by other veterans of the Fall River political spectrum that it would go down by that same margin - no heroics were going to come. It was dead. They were not even going to be there to watch the vote( they wre going to listen to it on the radio).
It was going to fail. No innovation School for Fall River. Costa was not going to buckle to pressure or reason. Forget about Martin, forget about Andrade, forget about Pavao. Their re-election efforts in the school committee will turn into a referendum on Superintendent Meg Mayo Brown.
Everyone was hoping Costa would play ball. I know him to be a hard competitor in sports, and I already knew he had his heart set on his argument against Henry Lord and he was going to stick to it. No matter what!
You see, this controversial plan would have passed if it had been housed at Durfee - 7-0. But not at the building we all sat in last night- a place where once the Henry Lord Middle School bulldogs began their preparation for high school and life. That era is gone, closed by the very same school committee due to state graded repetitive failure and fear of takeover. The shell of that learning institution is now under the control of a sub-committee of the school committee to figure out what to do with this building of broken dreams.
But wait, it claims more dreams-one last time.
They will be added to the list of 145 broken kids, parents and broken community leaders, some of whom have been trying to fix the local school system for 40 years. Add another brick to the pile of wasted effort, trying to help a city system mired in the contagious nature of political self-absorption and underperformance. Can we pile them all up as mats in this building of broken dreams and give people a soft landing when their efforts come crashing down?
You see, it occurred to me last night, that everyone agrees, our system can effectively serve some kids well in preparation for college and life but there is a another percentage, which in some cases is larger of kids we can’t do a damn thing well for. And the worst part is that smart people, people who care, keep failing those kids.
You see, making the argument that it is better to put pre-pubescent kids in a school with kids who in some cases are 18 years old, sounds so compelling when it is said aloud and with conviction in a building of broken dreams. The echo has a soft decadence to it. Rather pleasing until you think about your 12 year old daughter in the halls with 18 year old Romeo. Here, here, young Juliet!
What will we do today?
OF course the same thing we did yesterday. It didn’t work then and we don’t trust anyone to fix the system anyways so we should do nothing. Is that what we do today? We have no fear of success as we have never had enough of it to know how to savor it. We my friends have fear of ideas.
So what do we do today. You see it is easy to say no no no, it is much harder to actually you know- do something about the problems.
You see the Henry Lord Bulldogs do not exist anymore but the legacy of the bull, lives on. You will find it mired in the politics of Fall River where because the business community, the school department or superintendent want it, it must be bad. Isn’t it possible that people you don’t like can do good things and people you like do bad things?
What are we going to do today?
Innovation does not work when the people don’t trust the very same people they hired to do the job in the first place. Innovation does not work when everyone admits there is a problem but never admits they are part of it.
So what will we do today Fall River?
Please, someone remember that every day we fail to do something, and we fail another kid, we fail the present and the future. And every kid we fail, we can add to the pile of broken dreams until they too give us more kids to fail.
Tick, tick, tick!
So what do we do today?