Why It’s Important To Maintain Cultural Traditions in Small Town Communities

In June 2011, I searched for a school that honored the tradition of providing students a quality education that would benefit my grandson. Although I worked for the Detroit Public School System, I no longer wanted my grandson to be negatively impacted by the systemic degradation of teachers, overcrowded classrooms, and the ineptitude of administrators who ignore the fact that teachers know best how to present information to their students — not the administrators — who didn’t (and still don’t) have a clue and think that a “pacing chart” benefits all students. It was this “cookie cutter” notion of presenting information and teaching that ignited my desire to find a better situation for a child who has consistently demonstrated that his capability needs to be challenged.

Taking the route of researching schools on the State of Michigan website, I found that Tyrone Elementary was rated the best in the district. Now, some may say that I misinterpreted the information, but I don’t think so. In fact, I called the district to determine their involvement in the school choice program and immediately completed the paperwork to get my grandson into the school. I was not and have not been disappointed in my choice of schools for my grandson — until I started listening to people who moved from Detroit and that disintegrating system into Harper Woods and are now making noises that on the surface — appear that they want to create another Detroit — when they could have just stayed in Detroit.

Let me be clear — from a historical perspective — throughout Michigan — whenever a community has been overtaken by one particular ethnic group, decay ensues. Detroit used to be a city that many admired and then feared and now — with a change in the complexion of the leadership, it appears to be making a comeback.

When the Detroit Public Schools were run by overzealous, greedy and inept leaders, the school system started to spiral out of control into the hands of emergency managers who have done more to debilitate the system than to aid it. Somewhere along the way, when someone decided that students didn’t need to be taught grammar, when someone decided that teachers should not have autonomy in the classroom to reach every student, when someone decided that teachers did not deserve respect from those in supervisory positions, and when someone decided that low-test scores were the fault of the teachers — instead of the students and their home lives — now all the world sees the devastation and the annihilation of an educational system that no longer works for anyone, but was once commended by many.

And now —some of the “darker complexion” residents — who moved from Detroit have almost overrun the community of Harper Woods, Michigan and desire to destroy its heritage and cultural traditions by demanding the school system become more like Detroit Public Schools. I can just imagine — I don’t know for sure — that many of them moved out of Detroit so they could get away from the nonsense, but now they want to perpetuate the nonsense in another community. They have proven they do not understand the importance of cultural heritage and traditions and they don’t care — they simply want to do things their way.

I hope the community will not cave and give into the demands of a group of people who do not understand the importance of maintaining cultural traditions that have meaning for all who reside in the community. I also hope that the current leadership of the school district thinks twice about giving into a handful of people — ignorant of the traditions that have sustained the community for decades — and opening the door to more Detroit nonsense.

Coming from a small town community background, I understand the importance of the community maintaining their cultural traditions and strongly believe that anyone moving into a community needs to assimilate to the community and not expect the community to change to accommodate them. I support the Harper Woods Community and those who desire to maintain their cultural traditions within the community and especially those that pertain to the school district and its ability to provide excellent educational opportunities for all students. This is what having a heritage is all about — leaving something behind with pride — not dismay.

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Tree Lighting 2015

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