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Forum gives students chance to ask questions and weigh in

 

A report by the kids who attended Bridge Builders Youth Forum on Educational Justice could prove to be particularly telling when all the legislation and lawsuits stemming from the controversy over the future of Memphis-area schools is viewed from the review mirror. by Tony Jones
Special to the Tri-State Defender

A report by the kids who attended last Saturday’s Bridge Builders Youth Forum on Educational Justice could prove to be particularly telling when all the legislation and lawsuits, opinions and reports stemming from the controversy over the future of Memphis-area schools is viewed from the review mirror.

 
Katie Coker and Chelsea Rainey were among those who attended the Bridge Builders Youth Forum on Educational Justice. (Photo by Earl Stanback)

The daylong discussion brought together kids from all over the city to discuss the situation through a panel-and-presentation process that some observers called “truly uplifting.”

The questions posed to the panel participants belied the stereotype that today’s children are clueless. During an exit interview, Adrianne Bailey, a senior at Houston High School, shared her perspective.

“To me, it’s a money based issue, but based on money for all the wrong reasons.  I don’t see why you wouldn’t want to have a merger because it would make the whole system better. Why wouldn’t you want that?  To me, it seems that my system wants to be set aside from everybody else for what reason I really don’t know.”

Asked whether it’s a fair perception that the county doesn’t want to be tainted by “ghetto behavior,” Bailey said, “I agree that’s the problem, but if you can do other things to get our attention and keep us off the streets, you wouldn’t have that problem.

“Everybody wants to be something in life. I want to become a forensic scientist.  Someone else might have that dream, but if they don’t have the chance to do so…it just comes down to the fact that you don’t care about nobody but yourself, and I personally think that’s wrong.  

“I live in an area that is within the Shelby County School system. I have a cousin that lives in an area within the Memphis City Schools. I’m going to be able to go to college and do what I have to do, and I am going to have advantages because of the extra classes and curricular activities available, but what about her? Shouldn’t she have a fair chance too?”

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