Dear Superman

at 12:35 AM

Lately everybody I know who is not in education has been gushing about "waiting for Superman," which for my own part I find to be rather fact-challenged. But it got me wondering what my students and I would ask, if Superman gave us a chance to bend his ear directly.

One. What passes for food in the free or reduced-price lunch program is still disgusting. Would Superman please have a stern chat with the Department of Agriculture about this?

Two. Poverty is still a big problem with too many ripple effects. Students fall asleep in class because there's too much noise in their buildings at night. Could Superman please ask the neighbors to keep it down so our students can be awake during the school day to learn?

Three. The other day, a student wasn't ready for the quiz because, quote, "My best friend got shot to death last night." If Superman could please press "undo" on this -- or if he could refer us to someone with a working time machine -- I would be personally very appreciative.

Four. On the days when I tutor during lunch, I always have to bring twice as much food as I would normally eat on any given school day. That's because a hungry student can't focus on math concepts, and my lunch is actually edible. Please see item 'one' above.

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Five. One of our students can't see very well out of her left eye but she's too embarrassed to say so whenever a new teacher makes her to sit on the right-hand side of the classroom. Does Superman know a good pediatric ophthalmologist who could treat her at no cost?

Six. Three of the overhead lights in room 240 haven't worked in years. Also, there are mice in the school. Last week, one scuttled along the baseboards wearing the bowl of a plastic spoon as a combat helmet.

Talk of a messianic overhaul of our school systems is cheap, but living and working every day in the real world is much harder -- and it's grossly underfunded. If I could ask Superman for just one thing, I'd ask him to hook up all our poor districts with a blank check and deep pockets.  Then maybe all our school districts could be model learning communities.

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With a Perspective, I'm Elizabeth Statmore.

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