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Saturday, September 18, 2004
No so nice Observations
1. As our education retention rates grow (slowly albeit surely), Brownsville is going to need to develop an economy that can sustain an educated workforce. If Brownsville leaders are wanting to retain the brightest students coming out of their schools, then they need to support an economy that will give them career opportunities that they otherwise have to look for in larger cities.
2. We need to dare to think creatively, to strategize cohesively and to act differently than our larger city counterparts. So far, the Rio Grande Valley has been seen as the lower end of a spectrum. Lowest test scores, lowest income rates, lowest poverty rates, lowest employment rates, lowest retention rates, highest debt rates, lowest insurance rates...the list can go on. Many say this is the result of the region's culture other's say the result of institutional racism. Some say compadrismo and corrupt politics and others say it's due to our proximity to Mexico and large immigrant population....I say blah to all of that! I say if our city is faltering to meet nationwide standards then it is our own fault. It is our own fault because we don't dare to think outside the box of "their standards". For example, if we have low test scores, then why don't we set our standard to surpass the standards of those tests. Why are we retarding the education of our students to meet minimum test scores, to settle fears of institutional pressure, when we can have them surpass those standards instead? I am sorry but teaching students how to pass a test is not an education. IT IS NOT. By applying pressure on educators to have students pass a test, you are only decreasing the quality of education. Instead, lets give students the VERY BEST education they can have. Let's stop treating the Spanish langauge like a handicap and use it as a positive attribute in classrooms. Let's have students learn about Roman and Greek mythology as well as Azetc and Mayan. Let's have our students master Alegbra and construcutive thinking skills for High School. Let's expect MORE from our students, Let's expect more from their parents. Let's give CONFIDENCE back to our students. So when it comes time to taking an exam, we do not have to worry about meeting "their" standards.
3. So far, it seems like Brownsville is following a suburban city development plan , which is very exciting indeed because it has given us many more family oriented venues and more shopping complexes. But we also have wrose traffic and more corporate franchises in the city that are very dependent on macro markets. If the market at large goes bad, so does the suburban economy, which is happening in Brownsville now. I am not saying hey, suburbs suck and lets get rid of McDonalds. What I am saying is that let's not neglect other facets of our city. Let's also give opportunities for small businesses to develop and prosper, for the butcher, baker and candle-stick maker, from yoga teachers, enviormental activists, comic book enthusiasts, to antique collectors. What we need is an economy that can offer a place for everyone.
3. Let's go back to our roots and communities and restore our decaying downtown, fix our pot-holed streets and change our focus to what is needed on hand before we move forward and leave the rest to the dust. Let's not make North Brownsville like a mini-Manhattan and leave Southmost, Buena Vida or West Brownsville to be the Bronx, Brooklyn and Harlem.
4. We need to change our actions. We need to support the better development of Brownsville by not just pointing fingers at politicians. What Brownsville needs is better civic engagement from its residents and we need to invest in the quality of life projects like the arts, community sports, and education as much as we do for eating out, movies and shopping excursions. We also need to learn respect for others, ourselves and our city. We need to be a nicer city. I am tired of the bitter feeling of not having it better that lingers in the city. Get over it. If you want something better in Brownsville, make it hapen. Don't complain and keep your manners. That is something I have seen less of...good manners.
So yes, I have just blurbed our a whole technicality of ideas and opinions, very close to ranting. Hey, if there weren't things I didn't like about my town, I wouldn't love it. I'll write nicer things next time..I promise.
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