Image

 

I stumbled across Eva who could not read a lick.  I found her tucked up in an empty classroom, sound asleep.  She was snoring peacefully in second grade.  No one knew she was missing in action and no one cared that she was alone, separated from the herd and dozing on her lunch hour.  
Despite her illiteracy, there would not be any intervention for her, no tutoring, no read aloud, no big books or story dictation.  In fact, there would be no reading instruction for her of any description.  Second grade does not count on the accountability scoreboard and therefore, is not heavily proctored   
Thousands will be spent this year on a series of no-nothing, “school reform” consultants, who themselves know zippy-zero about reading as a process or a passion.  They will wander in and out like the contract zombies they are, drawing down dollars triggered by testing mandates for 3rd grade and beyond.  
Helen Keller could have told them back in September who would be failing come January. But everyone at this location turned blind, deaf and dumb when it came to the cause of Eva. Since Eva knew hopeless when she experienced it, she responded by curling up in The Back Of The Bus and surrendering to a dreamless sleep.  
 
Image
 
Years of here, there and everywhere leave children like Eva undisturbed and unlettered. She has been allowed to float like a beautiful flower in a big pond, not a ripple approaching from any direction to dislodge her and prevent her from sinking into the treacherous waters of insensitivity and indifference.  
Had she been growing up in the Sea Islands back in January of 1957, she might have been scooped up by Civil Rights pioneers Esau Jenkins, Bernice Johnson or Septima Clark and taught to read at the back of a beat-up school bus or in the midst of a busy, beauty parlor.  Their make-do movement imagined literacy and democracy walking hand-in-hand and it ultimately exploded into a nationwide uprising against the entrenched, Jim Crow suppression of voting rights.  But Eva is enrolled in a data-deranged Public School, not a South Carolina Citizenship School and she will never chase Esau Jenkins across the sandy, marshy low country of Johns Island.
Advertisements