Immokalee Bethune Education Center to be Rebuilt but not Rethought | James Pat Guerréro

The history of the Bethune Education Center goes back to 1967 when it was the first African-American school in Immokalee, Florida. The school was named after Mary McLeod Bethune who was an educator and civil rights activist. The Collier County School District recently released plans for tearing down the Center and rebuilding it at the cost of $6.5 million of taxpayer funds, presumably.

In Immokalee, children need good schools. More importantly, Immokalee needs families to live in Immokalee. Thus far, the federal, state, and local governments have not done well on supporting the migration of families into Immokalee. But, at least the government is on the right track by thinking about education, although it is moving in the wrong direction. The hypothesis is that Immokalee education shall not improve no matter how many structures are rebuilt for education. The Naples Daily News article below admits that the new buildings will also house federal programs which translates into more bureaucratic controls on education and sundry social services that themselves require office spaces and equipment – how does that contribute to education for families in Immokalee?

It is good to read that Sharon Tims, a teacher in Immokalee, actually lives in Immokalee. She reminded others that it is good to improve the community. She has the good intention for families in Immokalee who want to improve education for the children who live there. One wishes that the Collier County School District would have given the $6.5 million directly to her, and let her decide how to properly spend it on education for the children of Immokalee families. One proposes that she do an educational and technological leap of progress in providing private education through families. Michele LaBute, the Collier County School District Chief Operations Officer, is going in the wrong direction on Bethune, and that may be one of the reasons why she was not selected as the next superintendent. Although LaBute may be executing the lead of others, she had a perfect opportunity to do something right – she missed the ship of opportunity in the night.

The article doesn’t say, but it is assumed that Claudette Williams, a retired Immokalee High School teacher, also lives in Immokalee. She reminded others that she attended the Bethune Education Center as a student. Williams reminisced, “We were one big family.” One argues that that is where Immokalee needs to return. Immokalee has been taken over by the government, and it is stifling its growth both by curtailing family cultivation and by interrupting education cultivation. Perhaps, Williams can join Tims and make some technological leaps of “real change:” take the government out of the picture and put families in its place.

Read More: Raze and replace: Immokalee’s Bethune education center to be rebuilt » Naples Daily News.


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