I wanted to thank Dr. Ben Chavez for taking the time to spend an hour on the air with us to discuss how the education system must serve kids. He truly is one of America’s top educators. The response to him was very positive. I hope we have some teachers apply to teach at his high school and come back and start some schools here with this same philosophy. Our children deserve no less. You can go to American Indian Public Charter School at AIPCS.org
Here are some of the points Dr. Chavis made:
• He pays students at the end of the year for perfect attendance ($50.00 for sixth, $75.00 for seventh, $100.00 for eighth and $150.00 for perfect attendance all three years). He says that when you are dirt poor money motivates. He has a 99.6% attendance rate. If students don’t show up he goes and gets them.
• Increasing dollars into education is not the answer. The district has an eight percent pass rate on state exams and his school is over 80%. His school gets $6,000 per child.
• He pays his teachers well ($42,000 to start) and pays himself $30,000. He recruits his teachers like a coach recruits athletes and only the best are hired.
• When kids fail it is the principal’s fault. If an athlete was not doing well you wouldn’t call his or her parent in and blame it on them. You would call the coach in charge of the athletics. Schools are in charge of academics and are completely responsible for success in that area.
• “Look, I was dirt poor growing up in Arizona. Dirt poor. My dad used to burn my wrists with cigarettes when I was bad. I used to watch him beat my mom all the time. So now I have a Ph.D. Nobody’s going to tell me that being poor or picked on is an excuse to fail. I didn’t.” Being poor has nothing to do with academic success
• Last year their school made a profit which was reinvested in the program. Last year all the students went to Washington D.C. and the year before Mexico City. “I run this school like a business. We don’t waste money around here. Our textbooks are the finest available in the state.”
• He has been approved to open a high school in June.
I also want to make sure everyone knows that I really do not intend to poison the opossum. It upset some of you. I was just speaking on the behalf of the surviving members of the rabbit’s family; it is extensive. Witnessing the death and subsequent digestion of the little hopper upset me. We will make every effort to embrace the opossum. We now think the hawk was really a large owl. I will have someone look at the tape and let you know.