The August 6th edition of The Education Town Hall featured guests Cathy Reilly and Baba-C. Reilly, the executive director of Senior High Alliance of Parents, Principals, and Educators (SHAPPE), discussed modernization in the school system, and Baba-C, the Master Griot, talked about the importance of storytelling in education.
Cathy Reilly opened up the show examining the recent modernization occurring with the district’s public high schools. Reilly believes that, “it was a wise decision for the city to invest in the high schools,” but the execution has been quite poor. She goes on to say that the plans need to be a bit more flexible because, “things change.” The plans for these schools are drawn out for years, and when problems, like budget occur, the officials have a hard time dealing with them down the road.
When asked if she thinks there is an oversaturation of new schools in D.C., Reilly responded by saying that she’d rather invest in the schools we already have first. She compares the assembly of these new schools to building a lot of grocery stores; you build a lot of stores and see which one gets closed first. This method sees schools, and students as expendable, “I think it’s really costly to close schools,” said Reilly. These new schools are threatening the state of the current schools.
“I think there’s got to be a lot of thought over where we’re building high schools, what population they’re serving, how it benefits both the current people living here, and how it will serve people even 10 or 15 or 20 years down the road.”
Storytelling in Schools
The latter half of the show was handed over to Baba-C, once known as “The Poet Who Acts Out His Stuff.” He talked about the importance of storytelling in education, and also graced the show with a story.
Baba-C describes storytelling as, “a way of life-it’s a passing.” He then connected storytelling to teacher saying, “an effective teacher tells stories. An effective student hears stories, applies the stories, and then tells stories. The next journey of that is their story.”
Baba-C believes that a good story can teach, and is not simply just a tool used to keep kids quiet; a story can be useful to anybody at any age.
He finished off his time by honoring the show with the story of the “Signifying Monkey.”