It was the winter of 1998. I was 6. I don’t have a particularly vivid memory of that year but I can remember one morning of the first grade exceptionally well. I had stepped off the school bus and trotted into school, my mind filled with memories from the day before, like my mom’s warm smile as she chided me to move away from the furniture with my henna-soaked hands.
I have been blessed to teach in the urban school district of Pittsburgh for nearly 20
years. While much has changed in public education— as we have moved into and
through the “school reforms” highlighted by “No Child Left Behind” — among the
constants are two mutually exclusive facts of life.