No wonder the corporate reformers are nervous.

The American people are wising up. The slanders against our public schools are
being exposed.

One by one, the Reformy House of Cards is coming

Imagine this scenario: the editorial board of the Meridian
Star toured Meridian High School. The students are 89% African American, and 80% free/reduced price lunch (the federal measure of poverty). What were their expectations? Did they expect to see gangs roaming the halls, graffiti on the walls, lazy teachers with their feet up on their desks? If so, they saw something quite different. They had an epiphany.

They saw with their own eyes what was happening in the
school. They learned what Big Data could not tell them. They
realized that the A-F grading system was wrong. In fact, it is a
hoax meant to label and demean schools. They discovered a good
school in their community.

Here is the editorial in today’s

“Meridian High School a pleasant surprise”

“We have run our share of local stories in The Meridian Star pages of youth
violence, teenagers involved in area crimes and allegations of
school to prison pipelines. And we make no apologies for that.
People want to know what is going on in their communities and our
job is to keep you informed of the good and the bad — and we try to
give you both.

“The Meridian Star devotes a lot of space to school
accomplishments; from students who have achieved academic
excellence to teachers who have gone above and beyond to ensure
their students are provided the best education possible.

“But even we, collectively as a news gathering organization, are surprised
sometimes — ocassionally pleasantly so. One of those pleasant
surprises came recently during a tour of Meridian High School
attended by members of The Meridian Star Editorial Board.

“School Principal Victor Hubbard walked us throughout the school, taking
time out of his busy day to point out steps taken to address prior
problems, recent accomplishments and future goals. What we found
was an energetic and optimistic administration and staff; students
eager to learn and an impressive campus that is immaculate and well

“Walk down the halls and you’ll find signs that encourage
students to excel, while others clearly outline school
expectations. For example, one sign directs students to walk on the
right side of the hallway in single file; and they do. In fact, as
Hubbard points out, students will often politely inform visitors if
they are walking up the wrong side of the stairwell.

“At every class we stopped, the students we met were engaged, polite and
respectful. We were also impressed with the school itself, which
boasts nine fully equipped classrooms/labs with 24 computers each.
In fact there are more than 250 computers at the school, all with
Internet access. There is a video interactive classroom used for
distance learning and video production and a Career Center
dedicated to helping students find and obtain college scholarship

“The school’s vision statement is, “Meridian High School is
committed to developing a community of life-long learners through
rigor, relevance and relationships.” The motto is “Moving from Good
to Great.”

“Listed on the MHS website are the school’s beliefs, some
of which are:

* Every student can learn to become a contributing
member of society.

• Students must be challenged to learn problem
solving techniques, develop healthy self-concepts, and learn to
work with individuals of different cultural, ethnic and
socioeconomic levels.

* Administrators, parents, teachers, students
and the community must share the responsibility of education and
the advancement of the school’s mission.

• Students must be provided a safe and orderly environment in which to learn.

All are lofty goals. And the school has shown improvement, moving up a
letter grade this year from a D to a C, which is reason to
celebrate. Based on our tour of the school, the school’s grade
should be higher. School performance is not always accurately
measured solely by test-based accountability ratings like “A,” ”
B,” or “F.”

“We challenge our state legislators to tour Meridian
High School and other schools where passionate teachers are working
with willing students. Perhaps then they might take another look at
the standardized test-based accountability laws that govern our
schools and take other factors into consideration as well.”

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all the naysayers spent a day in a public school and informed themselves, as the editorial board of the Meridian Star did. Better yet, let them spend a day as a teacher and see the skill and judgment it requires. We have everyday heroes on our midst.