I was a well-behaved child in school. Except for daydreaming, I was never a behavior problem.
I stayed in my seat, didn’t say much and slid through twelve years of public school. My biggest body of work in high school was a thick loose-leaf binder full of car drawings.
My grades were mediocre. No one excited me. No one inspired me. And no one reached out to me. It felt like I didn’t matter.
Nowadays I’d be diagnosed ADD. Not hyperactive—just difficulty staying on task.
I don’t say this to blame anyone or shirk my own responsibility. It’s just what happened.
I'm now the school board chair in my community. We have about 80 kids in pre-K through eighth grade. My good friend, Tom McGuire, is the District Administrator and the best educator I've ever met. I have learned a great deal from him.
Tom believes that every child is entitled to an education that accommodates different learning styles. He believes every child wants to learn. And fair is not that every child gets the same, but that every child gets what they need to succeed.
Human diversity is inevitable and desirable. No two children learn alike. No child sets out to fail. And no child wants to be thrown away.
Because of my own experience, I want our school to help every child succeed—including those well-behaved but uninspired kids who can’t stay on task. I want our school to offer a curriculum that offers a broad spectrum of learning opportunities—where no child feels like they don’t matter.
Every child has a gift. Far too many of the difficult students fall through the cracks; and they're often the outside-the-box thinkers that our country most needs.
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