Thoughts on my first return visit to Minisink Valley School District
Posted in the Slate Hill Forum
#1 Oct 4, 2007
I returned today to Minisink Valley High School, only to reestablish those thoughts that I experienced many times when I was in school there, "When will I be rid of this place?". It seems as though the idea of creating a school system that channels its energy to not only student success, but also independent logical thinking, is only a dream that I have. The system they have created is more comparable to a prison than a beacon of learning. This is obviously strictly my opinion, however, I feel I must explain that these feelings are the responses of a top 15 graduate, who overall, enjoyed the classroom experience at Minisink, and as a result has developed a respect for many of it's teachers and has earned their respect. It is not the quality of teaching, or student-teacher relationship that worries me, my focus is more on the hierarchy of control that dictates the parameters that not only students, but also faculty and staff are required to abide by. Through first hand experience, I would say that the decisions that most directly affect the livelihood, happiness and thus success of the students of Minisink, are in the hands of those that have little or no direct interaction with the students of the school. These, I shall say, administrators of our district, make decisions that appear positive on paper, without any though of the direct affect and consequences it will actually entail. I feel as though the administrators of the district focus on the political impact of their actions, rather than the most effective way of accomplishing their goal of a safe, but most of all, successful, learning environment.
After interacting with the greeters and security located in the lobby of the school, it would seem that they are confined to acting in such a way that every individual that walks into the building is treated as a criminal with ill intentions. Parents and alumni are no longer allowed into the building during school sessions, even with the escort of a security guard and a valid record of photo identification. It was a similar experience to walking through airport security after returning to the US from an international flight. It was a very demeaning experience that made me lose some faith in the infrastructure of our country. Are we really to the point where we assume someone is a criminal until we have a reason not to?
Educational establishments should encourage learning in a safe and productive environment, however, in an environment that allows individuals to develop the skills for logical reasoning. Instead of complaining about a 'stupid rule', a student should debate the logical argument for or against the implementation of a rule, and its effects on the student body. Moreover, it would only seem intelligent that the individuals who make the decisions for a particular student body, actually interact with that student body and can develop ideas that effectively relate to any particular issues that may arise.
Finally, I believe that a educational establishment, can and should exist as a positive beacon for the success of a united mankind. There already exist so many means to discrimination, is it necessary to discriminate against a free thinking person, just because you don't know them. Why is it that someone cannot be good until there is sufficient reason to doubt?
I have personally met too many people who respond positively to almost any person or situation, and are also unacceptably ignorant individuals, on the other hand, I have also met many intelligent individuals that are overly 'realistic', which is too often used to describe pessimistic feelings. It is my hope that it is possible for people to be both intelligent, but also maintain some optimism, and faith in mankind.
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