Monday, September 12, 2011

Bernard Taylor

Bernard Taylor believes in kids. That's my observation anyway. I live in a suburb of Grand Rapids so I have no direct interest in that school system. But, what affects Grand Rapids has a great influence on the surrounding area too. I feel what Bernard Taylor, as the superintendent of the Grand Rapids public school system has done affected far beyond it's borders. I feel that what happens within our educational system is of major importance. I felt Bernard Taylor does too.

Being an outsider I didn't get caught up in any petty squabbles going on between the school board or teachers or parent groups. None of those mattered to me. I mentored dozens of young men that were the products of the Grand Rapids school system. One common factor of their at risk situations was "lack of expectations" both at home and within the schools. "You're not ever going to amount to anything so we're not going to waste our time trying to help you excel." I didn't get that feeling from Bernard Taylor. I've never met the man, don't know what he's like personally. I don't care either. What I saw in his attempts to do his job was a deep seated belief that if given the opportunity, most kids will buckle down and take advantage of it. He didn't appear to believe that the students weren't capable of learning. He moved forward by expecting them to learn and a belief that most children will rise to the occasion.

Bernard Taylor will be leaving the Grand Rapids school system soon. The system will carry on and he'll be faced with another challenge to overcome. Life will continue as before. But, the system will be different because of his efforts and optimism in those kids. That's my observation. I like to see people like him when it comes to dealing with the future generations. Expect, inform, assist, educate and keep moving forward. I wish Bernard Taylor well in his future endeavors.

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