The Classroom That Was In Crisis

Op-Ed: What happens when public schools lose students?


Jan 20, 2017 at 12:01 AM

By Jim Schneider

Recently I visited a child education classroom at the center of an issue that has become increasingly urgent as public school systems lose students.

It is a classroom that I have visited many times, and that I am the father of a son in a similar class.

However, today was different. The classroom, a large one at the front of the school, was filled with the sounds of children, the voices of adults, and, above all, a constant buzzing of the fluorescent tubes.

One woman from the school was teaching the first grade, and two men were in charge of this room: their names are Dr. Steven Brannon and Mr. John Darr.

The children in the room were in various stages of having a good time. In other words, this wasn’t a classroom that was in serious crisis. There were no fights, no tardies and no one being sent home without being satisfied.

You can see Dr. Brannon at the front of the room, smiling, with the other adults. He was teaching the first grade students that he had chosen for his class.

I looked around and saw a lot of smiles, even a few tears. Some of those students had been bullied, and some of those students were anxious that they might be sent home without completing the year of kindergarten.

I have sat in many of these classrooms for children that were clearly having a good time. There was not much in the classroom that was not bright, and there was nothing that looked threatening, either.

There was no weapon or anything else in that room that would cause a parent to consider that it was a dangerous situation.

There was the same teacher in the room that I had spoken to earlier, and the boys and I had walked over to speak with her. She smiled and walked back to her seat.

And there were parents, too, in the room. These parents were a diverse group, ranging from working mothers and stay-at-home fathers, to retirees and businesspeople.

The children had just started the school year, and there were a number of children with parents who had started kindergarten. Some of those children were anxious about being sent

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