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Betsy, Thank you for all that you are doing for the children at Brighton. Please know that many Alabamians (and folks from out-of-state as well) deeply appreciate your commitment and involvement.

I'm posting these comments about Betsy's "A Dream Denied" entry for Susan, a fellow member of the Teacher Leaders Network:

Betsy goes straight to the heart of unequal education issues. Until we level the playing field for both resources and expectations, we will continue to fail these children. There is a small school system near me where 4th grade standarized test scores are low and 8th grade scores are much lower. This community applauds itself on its high 11th grade scores, high SAT average scores and AP scores. I am amazed how many intelligent adults in this community willfully ignore the obvious message: Low performing students were driven out of the system at 16.

This same community frets that it has a higher concentration of unemployment and families on assistance than the surrounding counties. Those who have the greatest capacity to create change cannot or will not acknowledge the communities' complicity in this circle of failure.

It is easy for me to say this behind a veil of anonymity. It is quite another thing to have the courage to say it in your own community and take on the social and political fallout.

Betsy, thank you for giving these children a face and a voice. Good people sometimes look away from what is unpleasant and complex. When our son was a toddler, we would often respond to his chatter by nodding and agreeing without really listening. He would take my face between his little hands and say, "Look at this and nothing else!" Keep holding the faces of those who politely listen but are loath to commit—hold them between your highly credentialed, well educated, compassionate hands and say, "Look at this, and for just a moment, nothing else!"

Go Betsy! You are one of the bravest, toughest women I have ever met.

Thank you so much. I know first hand what it's like....which is sadly as you described it. I didn't allow people's negative attitudes to get in the way of my success and neither did many of my peers. Most of the children who left Brighton Middle School are on top of their game and continue to succeed because of the teachers and other employees at Brighton, who may have lacked clout outside of the community, but nurtured us and believed in us. Thank you for being apart of that support system and I sincerely hope that you are encouraged to continue.

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