Mayor Alvin Brown is organizing a mentoring program. How nice, by my unofficial count this is the umpteen millionth mentoring program started over the last few years here in Jacksonville.
Look I think mentoring programs are valuable and I wish we had a hundred thousand mentors for our students but the truth is mentors are pretty low on our list of needs.
We need apprenticeships where kids can learn about jobs and if they do well have a foot in the door at companies.
We need busses to take kids home who stay after school for disciplinary reasons or for extra academic help (I was told at my last school we didn’t do after school detention because there was no way to get the kids home). Why isn’t extra help compulsorily? You know who usually stays after for tutoring? The good kids who want more and the desperate kids who let their problems snowball.
We need electives to school isn’t complete drugery for many. We need arts, skills and trade programs because not every kid is going to go to college and we need to provide for them as well. We need legitimate summer school opportunities not putting kids on computers or stuffing 25 in a class and we need school psychologists and social workers because so often why kids act up or do poorly in school has nothing to do with school. What do all these things have in common besides being more important than mentors? They cost money.
Blue ribbon panels, politicians, editorial boards and business groups all say mentors are the way to go ignoring most of our real needs and I believe the main reason they do so is because mentors are cheap. Yes they are important and we need them but as a teacher in the school system let me thank you for putting a hello kitty band aid on a shot gun wound.