By Anne Winkler-Morey
This Commentary is Unpublished
Janelle (not her real name) is a bright African American teenager, two years behind in school and currently failing in her course work. She is clearly a child not performing at her academic potential. What if we made policy as if the needs of Janelle, a public school student I tutor, were our primary concern?
What Would Janelle Need to succeed?
Janelle would need a warm safe home that is securely hers. She and her mother and siblings have been shuffling from one shelter to another for at least two years. Whenever she moves she misses school for days, even weeks. Sometimes when I meet with her issues of security, lack of sleep and fear are too great to focus on reading.
Janelle and her family would need comprehensive health care like all families do so they proceed with the rest of their lives without fear of illness or disability. In Janelle’s young life she has dealt with more than her share of death and disease, exacerbated by lack of access to health care....
....It’s an election year. Demand that the candidates and the media spinners dig deeper. Tell them to ask WWJN?---- What Would Janelle Need? And when they come back with “How do we pay for it?” Tell them to begin by STWS---- Stopping The War ……Sweetie !
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Anne Winkler-Morey, Ph .D teaches history at colleges and Universities in the Twin Cities area and is a reading tutor for “Janelle” and others in the Minneapolis Public school District.