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A place hard to teach in but even harder to learn in

Pastor Rasheed Baaith

Pastor Rasheed Baaith

A place hard to teach in but even harder to learn in

By Pastor Rasheed Z. Baaith

“Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not.” (Proverbs 9:33)

All across America, including in the state of Florida and Broward County, schools in poor and predominately Black neighborhoods are funded at a much lower rate than schools in wealthier white neighborhoods.  Broward Estates Elementary School is a perfect example of that variance.

Standing next door to Parkway Middle School, Broward Estates is a neighborhood magnet school.  As such, parents are invited to visit the school and see if it is somewhere they would want to enroll their children. Based on the physical plant of the school, it most assuredly is not.  While the school does look like an institution, it does not look like a school; it looks like a prison.

Painted in drab colors, not equipped with the latest technology, still having chalkboards in most of the class rooms, and nothing bright on the walls and no space for recreation, Broward Estates Elementary has one of the worse environments for learning I have ever seen.

It is not a place where children are inspired to learn because of the attractiveness of their learning center being warm and bright and inviting. In a number of the class rooms, there is the smell of mildew, bathrooms that need paint and cleaning, lighting that is inadequate. Where there are windows, the blinds are in need of repair. There is nothing happy or joyous in most of these class rooms.

How we expect our children to be successful students in schools like these is beyond understanding. Why we continue to allow the School District to continue to under fund our neighborhood schools while knowing primary school education is the key to academic excellence is a question we need to answer.  Immediately.

The school year begins August 19th and many classrooms at Broward Estates still need to be painted, grass and bushes need to trimmed, and rugs need to be cleaned. How that is going to happen in the short time that is difficult to see.

Yet, there is something good, something excellent about Broward Estates however. It’s principal. She is one of those warrior women our people have generated since we were brought here and made slaves.  Here name is Cyntheria Hunt.

Cyntheria Hunt has the kind of success story that proves desire and determination will defeat circumstances every time.  Rising from the very bottom rung as an employee of the Broward School District to become a Principal, she is very much the type of educator our students need.  She is determined to make her children feel they are a priority no matter what their school looks like.

While she deserves plaudits and accolades for her compassion and love for our children, even more she deserves our community’s support.

We have to try to provide what the Broward School District will not.  Whether its manpower, paint or paper or computers or just our vocal support.  The quality of our children’s education is not Principal Hunt’s responsibility alone.  It is all of ours.  The sooner we understand that fact, the better.

Principal Hunt is not alone in being one of those who has a desperate aspiration for our children’s education but lacks the tools to give reality to her goal. There are thousands of teachers all over our communities just like her.  And just like her if we do not give the help they need, we will lose them.  And their comprehension of what our children need.

And our children will lose even more.  Think about it.


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