Louisiana schools rank 50th in the nation- DEAD LAST- in the quality of public education offered to the children and families it serves.
On Monday, my mother will be flanked by a couple of friends and colleagues as she presents a proposal to Centenary College's provost. Her vision is to launch a specialized reading center for teachers and their at-risk students in our region, giving teachers the knowledge and skills they need to effectively teach these children while giving these same struggling kids additional opportunities to attend reading clinics and specialized tutoring sessions.
Her grandfather, Paul Brown, was once interviewed after receiving an award from the Kiwanis Club for the leadership he provided in the "religious, cultural, and business life of the State." When asked how he felt as he received his reward, he only stated that he did nothing more than what he should have done and that "...After all, I am trying to build a city in which my children and my grand-children and sometime, my great-grandchildren will live. To do this, I must, at the same time, realize that what I do for them, I must do for the children and the grand-children of the other citizens of Shreveport, because after all, we are all going to live here and we are all going to enjoy a great city. And whatever we can contribute is really for those to follow us-- for our posterity. We want to leave them a city of which we can be proud. I feel that we should leave them our city in a better shape than we found it. If we can do this, I think this is the greatest reward." (interview by Jacques N. Steinau, Shreveport Magazine, 1974)
My mother shares my great-grandfather's vision to give ALL children in our city hope for a better life and a better future. It is an active application Micah 6:8's command to "act justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God."
Please pray for her on Monday as she gives her presentation and she casts her vision. She may be "retired," but her work- the work the Lord has clearly called her to- continues.
If nothing changes, 63% of the children living in my parish will not graduate from high school. But maybe something will change. And maybe part of that change will find its beginnings on Monday.
*A special thanks goes to my sister Jennifer Hill for the back story and Shreveport Magazine interview information.