Varun Jain scored a perfect score on the SAT when he was only 14 years old. Jacob Rice has been putting shoes on underprivileged members of his community since age 10 through a non-profit he started. But you probably haven’t heard of them.
Allison Riddle spends her days teaching 5th graders math, science, literature and other life skills. When her students are busy with class work, she uses the time to mentor new teachers. She recently won Utah’s Teacher of the Year award. John Herber runs a hands-on classroom. He helped raised the proficiency by 50 percent in five years. Also, he has opened community gardens for student education, runs a homework club and coaches football. But I doubt you’ve heard of them.
When I imagine reading about school news, I imagine these kinds of stories. Those focused on people making difference and giving us hope for the next generation.
Reading about the government involvement with schools, dare I say it, I wish for the conversation to focus on testing and necessary funding to close the achievement gap across the U.S., thus effectively arming our students for the issues of tomorrow.
Unfortunately, this is only my imagination.
I get to read the stories about gun violence taking the lives of the innocent, young and important. The names that are echoed around America should be celebrating the successes of students within of our education system, not those hell-bent on destroying it. Our academic heroes should be those that work an 85-hour work week, ensuring their students have every opportunity to succeed.
In a time where 5 percent of the education budget is being slashed, why do we hear about the Nation Rifle Association (NRA) and its ability to buy Congress? We live in a nation more concerned about keeping guns in the hands of anyone than books in hand of every student.
But this is the America that we chose. Because it is our “right to bear arms.”
When will it finally be appropriate to re-evaluate what that statement means? How many gunmen must attack our schools, theaters and Capitols? How many lives need to be lost? It terrifies me that the conversation about our nations’ classrooms focuses more on whether there should be a gun for the teacher rather than a teacher for the classroom. We should not worry about eliminating gun violence in schools, but rather eliminating the achievement gap. But, apparently a monthly report about gun violence taking innocent lives isn’t enough to spark the debate.
Today, the people’s demand is louder for keeping their guns than keeping their future. Every dollar that goes into the pocket of the NRA is another 30 seconds on TV promoting pro-gun America. And every shooting is another sad article in the local paper. Unfortunately, that conversation doesn’t fuel the fire quite enough to make a change.
Instead of making celebrity of any gunman, celebrate the real heroes of our schools and society. Instead of reading about the statistics of gun violence, let’s start reading the statistics of athletics. Instead of funding the NRA, fund your schools. Let’s end this madness and be done with these shootings. If your gun rights are worth a monthly shooting, be it a classroom or a cul-de-sac, it is time to re-evaluate your own thoughts.
Charles M. Crocker is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences studying Political Science. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org