Parents need to join the PTA, instead of listening to the grapevine

Miami Times Editorial Department | 6/20/2013, 9:40 a.m.

It was Gladys Knight and the Pips, along with the incomparable Marvin Gaye, who shared with the rest of the world what Blacks have long known — that there is power in the community grapevine. You remember their song, “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” right? However, one has to be careful when getting the news solely from the grapevine, which tends to be based on rumors and innuendoes, rather than going directly to the source. Why? Because often what we hear from conversations in the hood is a distortion of facts — a hodgepodge of truth and fiction. What’s more, rumors tend to act like snowballs at the top of a hill — gaining more and more momentum as they descend from the peak towards the valley.

Recently, there have been several unconfirmed rumors about the closing of two public schools in Miami-Dade County, Drew Elementary and Holmes Elementary — both District 2 schools that are located in Liberty City. Our research and subsequent front page news article showed that neither school is scheduled to close. Not this year and not the next, according to Miami-Dade County Public Schools officials.

But given the number of calls we received and the conversation that swirled in the Black community, one could have assumed that the closing of both schools was a done deal. In such cases, parents, guardians and other interested members of the community might want to follow the example that our parents and their parents set for us. It’s called ‘getting involved.’

Our schools have parent teacher associations [PTAs] as well as a plethora of opportunities for volunteers. When was the last time you attended a school board meeting or an evening meeting at your child’s school? When was the last time you made an unscheduled lunch time visit to your child’s school and asked to see what’s happening in their classroom? Our children are our most precious asset. Rather than getting the news via a tete-a-tete on one of our neighbor’s porch, we need to get more involved.