My niece, Lindsay, teaches in an inner-city San Antonio third-grade classroom. Her school is in an impoverished, crime-ridden neighborhood. Many of her students come from homes where drug deals and violence are the norm, but books and homework are not. Most test far below grade level.
One child spends part of the school year in the psych ward, and another flunks his tests because he always eats—yes, eats—them. Some try to steal her purse, others try to attack their classmates with scissors, many write or shout obscenities fluently. The vast majority of American students who have learning disabilities, mental illnesses, or behavior disorders have individualized education plans, teams of specialists, and/or instructional aides. Lindsay’s kids don’t.
During a recent classroom discussion, Lindsay discovered that most of her students had never even heard of a zoo! No one had ever read them Dr. Seuss’ If I Ran the Zoo, Curious George Visits the Zoo, or any of the other gazillion zoo books written for children. Mind you, San Antonio has one of the biggest zoos in the nation, but those kids have never seen a single one of its 3,500 animals. (Field trips are out of the question—Lindsay’s kids don’t even have access to music, art, science, or recess.)
It’s not right.
Note to Mom and Dad: Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for every single trip to the library and zoo!
These are NOT Lindsay’s kids.
“Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’” –MATTHEW 19:14