The Big Reveal..... To The Problem, And To Some Answers...
Updated: Aug 21, 2022
Here is my question. Two of them actually. Why? And when?
For your information.... I've decided to start to focus on sending my blog to school staff members, from the school boards and the principals, to the janitors and the bus drivers.
I've been plugging away at my premise, with regard to educating each and every one of our children with a complete and viable education, for decades.
But I have never taken the opportunity to elucidate, or extrapolate, on what it is I would like to see done. I should at least have some kind of plan I can offer as a suggestion, for those that would ask.
It is perhaps a more difficult blog post to put together, because there is so much out there that is written about education, and change. And there is so much to be said, about what is going wrong and how it should be addressed. What's more,
each school system and each jurisdiction is different. One cannot easily prescribe a blanket approach, which in all honesty would be ideal. I believe that there should be a standardized academic program, for our entire nation.
When a search is done of innovations in education, a great many of the results relate to eLearning.... how technology can help with learning. While I don't want to discount that, my concerns with innovation are centered around the people we are teaching, not the technology we can use to teach them.
My spirit-guide when it comes to education, has always been Geoffrey Canada. If you are not familiar with his work, it is a master class on what we need to do to get the minds of the students, where they need to be. Here is a blurb taken from a webpage, briefly describing the work he has done....
Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ), targets a 100-block area of central Harlem, with a 'block-by-block' approach to tackling poverty. It has inspired a movement in urban education. Mr. Canada’s original goal to help kids in every aspect of their lives, from the way their families raise them to the way they are taught in school, has made a tremendous difference in the lives of children.
The HCZ approach is significant because this program is highly successful in these communities. They actually are eliminating the achievement gap with these young people. They actually know how to do it, they know what it costs, they know what it takes.
Geoffrey Canada founded the Harlem Children's Zone in the 1990's, leading a bold social experiment using education to break the cycle of poverty for poor children in the United States. He literally turned central Harlem around, block by block, creating safe zones through schools and community centers for kids to learn and play. The Zone provides free and comprehensive educational, social and medical services for all 10,000 kids who live in these 96 blocks of central Harlem.
If this were the only example of innovation and change in education, it would still be enough to fix everything. But there are other programs out there. The Say Yes to Education Program takes a zip code, mentors the children in much the same way as HCZ does, and sets up free college for those that complete high school.
An entire zip code of children mired in poverty, that are going to college. My first thought was that the other zip codes would be jealous, but there was never any mention of that, and do you want to know why? Because that particular zip code was the land of the drive-by shooting. And without much doubt, most of the crime we experienced in our city, came directly out of that neighborhood.
Not only do we have wildly successful programs already in use... I am quite comfortable in saying that there are now hundreds of online discussions and examples of programs that our educators can cull from. There are mountains of research submitted. There are even online programs and 'apps' designed for children themselves to use, to augment the formal education they receive.
Yet there are very very few schools, school districts, or educators, that are implementing any new innovations, in how to raise children to an acceptable educational standard. Most of what we do in schools today, we have been doing, unsuccessfully, for decades. Teachers continue to be bloodied and assaulted.
Parents continue to blame teachers.
The main problem with implementing new ideas, is that parents do not know how, or care about how, to raise children that are prepared for the world they face.
And we cannot force people to comply. This is the crux of the dilemma, and the reason why so many of the 'solutions' are ineffective. We have a great deal of difficulty getting everyone 'on board'.
At the risk of sounding like a socialist, we need to control how people raise people. Or at least offer broad-based guidance. You have no idea how tiny the knowledge-base is when it comes to raising children.
You've heard the saying that you need a license to drive a car or go fishing, but not to raise a child. That needs to change. They don't need licensing - but they desperately need proper guidance.
When someone asks why we aren't doing the things that need to be done... in any segment of society.... the answer is always, that there's no money for it.
Pound for pound, that is a bad answer. In my state alone we apparently spend $40 million dollars a year on our education system. Yet in my city, 50% of students do not graduate high school.
An innovation that I propose, would take the small percentage of severely disruptive children in a school district, and design a curriculum, which focuses less on academics, and more on physicality... a sort of day-long P.E. class. Instead of trying to teach angry, distracted, and troubled children about math and science, (especially those in the upper grade ranges), put them in a building of gym coaches and anger management-type programs.
Allow them to play sports as their major educational training, and bring them up to academic speed at their own pace.
So in other words, let them punch a bag, run track, and play basketball all morning. After lunch, give them time with their coaches and counselors. At the end of the day, work on their 'three R's' and provide study space for them.
It has been proven that young people admire, respect, and crave guidance from an athletic coach. The one-on-one attention that a coach can provide, should not be ignored. Someone to check in on them, and provide them with a sounding board, above and beyond what a guidance counselor or a parent will provide, is unique in that environment.
Humans crave individual attention. And respond well to it.
Many of you lead good lives. So perhaps you are unfamiliar with how badly schools, school systems, and children stricken by poverty, are fairing. You may not be familiar with the depth of sadness that we experience as we watch our children grow up with no class, no upbringing, no civility, no hope, no direction.... and no education.
Last week at a high school in NYS, a teen-ager stabbed a child in the stomach 10 times, and a mob of kids beat that child, who is still in the hospital a week later.
All over the country, kids, almost always black children, are involved in stupid fights in school yards, malls, and just about anywhere they are allowed to gather. By the looks of things, none of them are well educated.
My premise remains, that police officers do not murder black children that are fully educated.
People with higher educations are not committing street crime.
And societies that fully educate their people do not wind up with populations of people collecting social service money.
Those questions I have?
Why aren't we looking for the most innovative and advanced methods of breaking the cycle of neglect, and using those methods that are successful, on a wide-scale basis?
And when are we going to stop acting as if the problem will solve itself?
The way we go about educating our people needs sweeping change. Not the management personnel - not the level of police involvement - not the quality of the teachers.
Nothing will have any affect on the quality of the people to whom we give birth, except raising the standard by which they are raised.
As several successful programs would indicate, a cradle-to-college (or trade school) approach is the most appropriate and cost-effective way to go about this. Secondarily, an atmosphere of caring and concern for each and every child, simplifies and facilitates this.
Geoffrey Canada is the penultimate leader in this field. He has combined the successful process with the proper parental guidance. I urge you to familiarize yourself with this type of innovation.
If we don't start children off right, and follow through with them along the way.... if we don't start educating parents to raise better people, our kids will never know hope, and will continue to be criminals and failures.
And from our street criminals right up to our politicians, you can see where failure is getting us...!
(some of these words are not my own...)