Recently I was the guest principal for a day at Tulsa’s Will Rogers High School. My assignment: shadow the school’s top administrator and experience an up-close and personal look at the daily operations. Last week the school was featured in a major front-page story on proposed changes to nearly all of the Tulsa Public Schools. The changes proposed for Rogers, an urban school with nearly 1,000 students in grades 9-12, are the most far reaching.
Principal Lyda Wilbur spent the morning trying to convey the proposals and their implications to faculty and students alike. A series of brief assemblies were held by grade level, and the senior class was also told about low-cost college and career opportunities available after graduation. The school qualifies for 100% meal subsidies because of the economics realities of the student population. Then principals and their guests from the whole district met with the TPS Superintendent and Tulsa’s Mayor for lunch off campus. Returning to the school, we observed class in session, dealt with student situations, advised on some faculty issues, experienced a disaster drill and counseled student leaders on how to have their voices heard concerning the proposals affecting their future at Rogers. I left the school that afternoon at 4:45 with Mrs. Wilbur heading back to her office for more one-on-ones with faculty, parents and students, to be followed by her paperwork, answering e-mails and returning more phone calls.
A couple of thoughts come to mind. One, let’s not forsake our public schools. All of the pressure points of today’s family life, culture, economics and social unrest converge on our schools. We have strong, well-educated and dedicated teachers and staff who deserve our respect, our support and our involvement in our schools. Two, it’s not about the money. It’s about changing lives for the future and equipping students with the tools of knowledge and skill. It’s about exploration, discovery and life fulfilling dreams. If Christians will not step up to serve our schools and love every student in it, who will? If Christians abandon our educational system and promote the “every man for himself” egocentric philosophy of today, we will reap the harvest of prideful emptiness and a generation who cannot dream of a better life.
Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Visit a school. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.