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I may not be the best choice to comment here first. While I spent a very short time as a substitute, many years ago, I am not an educator.

Like most of us, I have many friends and relatives, in teaching and system administration, top to bottom.

I think 'vouchers' is a plus to achieve immediate relief for students 'caught' in the 'mug and mire' of our schools.

The organizational culture of school systems should be changed ove a period five years followed by a 3-year period of critical evaluation and 2-year readjustment.

The goal ot the process shuuld produce competency at all professional levels of teaching and administration with an accountability structure that is immediate.

Pay scales should be adjusted to attract, retain, reward performance.

Politics in the system should be made illegal with harsh penalty.

The Education Suppliers and Services contractors, and contracts should be reconstructed with defined illegal behavior and practices.

PEACE

Jim Chester
quote:
Originally posted by James Wesley Chester:
Like most of us, I have many friends and relatives, in teaching and system administration, top to bottom.

I think 'vouchers' is a plus to achieve immediate relief for students 'caught' in the 'mug and mire' of our schools.

The organizational culture of school systems should be changed ove a period five years followed by a 3-year period of critical evaluation and 2-year readjustment.

The goal ot the process shuuld produce competency at all professional levels of teaching and administration with an accountability structure that is immediate.

Pay scales should be adjusted to attract, retain, reward performance.

Politics in the system should be made illegal with harsh penalty.

The Education Suppliers and Services contractors, and contracts should be reconstructed with defined illegal behavior and practices.

PEACE

Jim Chester


Edmund W. Gordon, writer of the introductory essay for Covenant II, expresses a very poignant point about what minority students need in order to achieve at high levels. He argues that the efforts to improve Black students' "affirmitive development of academic ability" must include a variety of assets and strengths, assets and strengths that he refers to as "capitals." Gordon believes that when we aim to improve the health, financial, human, social, personal, institutional, and pedagogical development of African-American students, so too will their academic development improve.

Gordon also talked about how one's status and class in America can impact academic achievement. He maintains that there is direct relationship between one's status in America's social order and one's level of academic achievement. Gordon writes:

There certainly appears to be a ubiquitous association between on'es status in the social order and one's level of academic achievement that favors high status and priviledge.

Now this relationship may explain why even Black middle-class students continue to lag behind their White and Asian counterparts in terms of acheivement development and achievement. In fact, Oprah Winfrey recently hosted a show called "Class Matters," which contrasted the lifestyles of two familes: One working-class family and one upper-class family. As the program progressed, the audience saw how being in the upper-class gave the affluent family (and their children) an advantage over the working-class family. The upper-class family were able to afford to purchase a large home, in an affluent community, where all the high-achieving and high-performing schools were located. The upper-class family could also afford to enroll their children in all sorts of sports and recreational activities before and after school. This is why, as Gordon advocates in his essay, it is so very important that a national effort at affirmtive development to complement continuing efforts at affirmitive action should be much broader than the initiatives directed at improving the effectiveness of education.
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Edmund W. Gordon makes good points, but I think that he must consider embracing some more "practical aproaches" at the grassroots level. He speaks of a "national effort at affirmative development of academic ability" -- in black and other underrepresented populations among high achievers. There is no evidence that such a national effort has any hope of broad-based support. The most visible effort is highly publicized resistance to affirmative action of any sort.

What is needed is creative approaches like The Black Star Project at the grassroots level. These initiatives are "our initiatives" to begin to address the challenges of under-achieving black children. Waiting for the formulation of some "national effort" will result in more black children falling behind every day.

Gordon is right about the "forms of capital for effective education." But he suffers from the rare air in The Academy. Often in academia, theory and research lose touch with practical realities. We need the research, but then we need Philip Jackson to "make it real."
quote:
Originally posted by Thuso:
He [Gordon] speaks of a "national effort at affirmative development of academic ability" -- in black and other underrepresented populations among high achievers. There is no evidence that such a national effort has any hope of broad-based support.


Perhaps when Gordon talks about a "national effort," he might be referring to a consorted effort on the part of parents, teachers, students, elected officials, and the community in general.
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When discussing real solutions to the problems that many Black students face, the first things I think about are my own educational experiences as a young, black woman from Brooklyn. Coming from a low-income, single parent household in a community filled with over-crowded / under-performing inner-city schools the odds were stacked up against me. And yet like many other Black students before me I found myself on the path to college and a fulfilling career. I found myself taking advantage of previously unimaginable opportunities because outside of school my mother found youth programs that helped to supplement what I was learning in school and at home.

Such programs have had a positive impact on my life and the lives of many other students of color. Everyday children across America attend after school and pre-college programs at which they generate a renewed sense of themselves through new arenas of support. In spite of overcrowded classrooms and out dated books, students can further develop their minds with the help of the one-on-one training and co-curriculum classes that these organizations provide. For the most part, these programs typically offer tutoring, summer instruction, workshops, internships, and career counseling.

While it's important for the Black Community to find new ways to solve our educational concerns, I think it's equally important to highlight those solutions that are presently making a positive impact on the lives of our children. I strongly believe that as a collective entity, many of the youth programs that exist today are real solutions to our educational problems. It is for this reason that I take the time to expose more Black parents and students to opportunities outside the classroom with my self-published book 'A Better Today Brings a Brighter Tomorrow'. In it you will find information about youth organizations for minority students in New York and across the United States. The Programs range from after school tutoring, pre-college preparation, mentoring, talent, summer opportunities and career training. It's a great resource for anyone, even non-New Yorkers, because it breaks down the different types of programs that exist for young people in practically every state. This book is available in print and e-book form on www.lulu.com/msoy.

˜A Better Today Brings a Brighter Tomorrow' is my real solution to improving education for Black students today.

-lhenry
While it's important for the Black Community to find new ways to solve our educational concerns, I think it's equally important to highlight those solutions that are presently making a positive impact on the lives of our children.---blackoutloud

I agree with all you said.

If the problem is to be fixed, however, we have to exert our power on the system that majors in miseducation.

We have to impact the school boards, school districts, teacher quality, teacher qualitfications, teacher accountability, etc.

The programs you advocate and support, as do I, are patches on a failing system.


PEACE

Jim Chester

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