Shawn and I made it work for five years because we could have conversations like this one. We could discuss with each other the different experiences our kids had, and that they were all coming from different backgrounds. We both believe that every kid deserves the very best education we can give them, but understand that some came to us with hurdles in front of them, while others had a clear path to the finish line. If you watched the video you know that it shows you very clearly that kids have NOT all had the same opportunities. As teachers we MUST acknowledge this...even if society will not.
"We would be foolish to not realize we have been given more opportunity. We don't want to recognize that we have been given a head start. But the reality is...we have. Now...there is no excuse. They still gotta run their race. You still gotta run your race."
Operation Common Good. And this video reminded me of exactly why I started OCG over a decade ago. I realized that the kids in my classes were not starting on the same line to begin the race. Some were hungry. Others were worried about not fitting in with their more wealthy counterparts. Why would you try out for cheerleading when you know you can't afford all the swag that the coach will require you to purchase? In a world full of UGG boots and North Face coats, it is brutal for a kid that cannot afford either. My colleagues and I, along with thousands of kids, we made sure that we did our part to help the kids that are already starting behind everyone else.
"Because the reality is, if this is a fair race and everyone is back on that line...I guarantee some of these Black dudes would smoke all of you. And it's only because you have this head start that you are possibly going to win this race called life."
"Nothing you have done has put you in the lead right now."
I would have been one of the kids in the front of the line. I am clear about that. Having never known hunger in my life, and having supportive parents and an amazing extended family, I know what I don't know. I know so many people that believe that the world provides the same opportunities to all kids. They think it is up to individuals to decide whether or not they will utilize those opportunities. I wonder if they have ever looked behind them to see who is starting the race from far behind.
"If you didn't learn anything from this activity...you're a fool."
Every teacher, administrator, parent, child, human should watch this video. And we should all work together to build opportunities for kids that haven't ever been up front when the race begins. For some kids, that is every hour of every day they spend in school. This must change.