Charting The Wrong Path

orphan-1139042_960_720School should be a place of promise and hope, where children come to learn, imagine, and be endowed with skills which will enable them to not only exist but excel in their desired career paths and future livelihood. For many black students across the country, that idea of school is wholly unfamiliar and seemingly nonexistent. Black children are more likely to be expelled from schools and disciplined more harshly for behaviors exhibited by other students, even as early as preschool. Multiple studies have revealed this bias, which correlates with a lack of educators and administrators of color, and since, some efforts have been made to correct these disparities, including programs from the federal government, like President Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative.

Likewise, charter schools are a development that has grown in popularity in recent years, and touted as a true alternative to the spate of problems faced by public schools. Charters maintain freedom from many laws governing traditional public schools and are run independently, though public charters are, by law, open to all children and don’t enforce special requirements for entrance.

black woman teaching

Photo Credit: cybrarian77 on Flickr

Within the last 20 or so years, charters have rapidly expanded throughout the United States and generated support from public and private parties alike, which espouse its high test scores and noticeably different organizational culture. In comparison to traditional public schools, charters have been deemed as more valuable and better suited to address the needs of America’s declining education system.

children's swingsThis has resulted in the shuttering of public schools across the country, most remarkably in areas that are also marred by socioeconomic inequality like, Philadelphia, Detroit, and my city, New Orleans, where nearly all schools in the city are charter schools, as a result of reform following the disaster of Hurricane Katrina. The problems resulting from this shift become more acute when the philosophies of charters are studied with a more critical eye. Recent research from UCLA’s Center for Civil Rights Remedies revealed that the argument of the exceptional charter school is built on harsh disciplinary practices which target black children, and discrimination against children with disabilities. A quarter of all students at more than 300 charter schools were suspended during the academic year, a large number of them black. And for students with disabilities, the rate of suspension is an incredible 10 times higher than those without.

a pile of pencilsPerhaps this issue could be overlooked if it was isolated, but with over 1,000 schools in the study carrying out these same practices, it appears to be intrinsic to the operations and philosophy of this alleged alternative. What we have is hundreds of kids being excluded from the opportunities promised to them as not just students, but the future of our country and increasingly global society. Instead of preparing children in the most vulnerable parts of our communities with tools for success, we’re removing them entirely and exacerbating the issues of our lopsided system. It is not only unfair, it is dangerous, and we all must work to find real solutions to rectify this growing epidemic of an ill-prepared and unnurtured populace.

The LifeStyle Of A Teacher

Teacher teaching students

 

If you’re not in the profession of education and don’t have any insight on the life of a teacher, you may insinuate teachers live a miraculous life with a 2 month summer vacation including national holidays. However, things never seem the same when you’re on the outside looking in.

To give you more insight, I will present a list of a few misconceptions people tend to have on the  lives of teachers.

There Is No Such Thing as Free Time:

Teachers have numerous vacations during the school year, but during that free time, they are making sure their teaching methods and curriculum is up to date every year. Teachers not only have to deal with organizing their lesson plans but they also have to attend school workshops, tutor students, and contribute to school activities. Now all of this may seem like normal teacher requirements, however teachers don’t receive extra pay for participating in these extracurricular activities.

Feeling Under The Weather?:

If a teacher is feeling under the weather or needs a day to recover from a long week of work, they are allowed to take a day off. However,  teachers are responsible for educating the children of the future, so it can be difficult to call out sick knowing your students aren’t getting taught to the best of their abilities. Obviously, during a teacher being absent the students would receive a substitute teacher, but it wouldn’t suffice as being the same for the students, who are comfortable with the teaching style of their regular teacher.

No Longer Are You Undercover:

Being a teacher can be strenuous for an individual who enjoys privacy, especially in the society we live in today with social networks being accessible to anyone. Students can easily look up a teacher on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, to find out how a teacher lives outside of the classroom. In the result, a teacher should monitor what is accessible to the public on their profile, to prevent from being the discussion of the classroom gossip. Teachers aren’t only obligated to, monitor their image on social networks, but also in public. For example, a teacher could run into a student at the shopping center, holding a bottle of champagne, which could leave an impression amongst their student that drinking is acceptable. Teachers have to understand that they are just as much a role model to students as their parents or even more.

Emotional Effect:

Dealing with your emotions as a teacher can be a tough task, however it’s a task that comes with the job. For example, if a teacher is in the middle of teaching a lesson plan and notices a student who seems discouraged, it would be a teacher’s concern to make sure the student is alright. However, when you have a full classroom of students you can’t spend your class time catering to the one student, when they’re suppose to be following through with a lesson plan. This part of the job can be difficult for a teacher because their students become a part of them emotionally and when a student is showing signs of misery, you feel teaching the other students is just as important as figuring out what a student is going through.

As you can see, the life of a teacher is far from normal because of the issues and obligations they have to deal with on a consistent base. Despite, all of the obstacles teachers face on a daily, they receive the enjoyment knowing they are creating a positive influence on students and  educating students to succeed in life. You can find more information on a teacher’s life, using this link here.

5 Key Traits To Empower The Youth

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Empowering the youth is the building block on how this nation operates and creates growth. The youth of the nation has been Millennials for a long period, but now Generation Z is the youth of society today. They are growing fast and it’s important these kids receive the same or if not more knowledge than the previous generation. There are a variety of traits the youth should acquire as they continue to mature and gain wisdom. To give more insight on some key traits to implement into the youth, I have created a list of key traits that will be beneficial for the youth.

Build Communication Skills:

Learning and improving  communication skills is highly important when dealing with life situations, especially as the adolescent transforms into an adult. As the youth goes through school, making sure they can communicate properly during presentations and one-on-one conversations will benefit the youth. For example, practicing these methods would contribute to the youth’s success when interviewing for a job or working in a profession such as sales. Developing the skill of communication can only affect the youth positively for the future.

Ambitious on Setting and Achieving Goals:

It’s never too early to start training the youth to start setting goals and striving to succeed in them. If you contribute to an adolescent, setting goals for themselves, this will help them develop other key traits such as creating proper structure and organization skills. Once achieving these smaller goals as an adolescent, it will serve as a great deal of confidence and determination to keep striving for success in completing life goals.

Failure is Normal:

Understanding failure is not only a part of life, but is also a learning experience is vital to reiterate to adolescence. Making sure the youth understands when setting goals, there is an opportunity for failure to occur, can save them time from being discouraged. Of course, no one wants to fail at multiple goals they are striving to achieve in because that would be an issue. However, understanding how to bounce back from failure is a key trait adolescence should have implemented in their state of mind.

Network:

As Generation Z continues to grow, networking is a key component to being successful in any field of study. In today’s society, having the credentials is vital to a person’s success, however, making sure you’re connected with the right people in that specific industry can make life much easier when looking for internship and job opportunities. Accessible ways for the youth to network, would be to join clubs or programs that offer opportunities for open discussion.

 

Maintaining discipline, is as important as making sure you brush your teeth twice a day. Without discipline, you can’t possibly balance life or achieve the necessary goals to succeed. If the youth, understands the importance of having discipline, it could contribute to them prioritizing and cultivating the least important obligations with the more important responsibilities. Not only does being disciplined, create guidance in a professional environment, but also in life decisions.

Empowering Generation Z will be another task at hand for the nation, but if we continue educating the youth with the proper traits to follow, it can lead to another successful generation to better our society. Of course, there are more traits that can contribute to empowering the youth, so if you are interested in learning more tips, you can take a look this link here.

Superintendent Improves Jennings School District

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Jennings School District, situated in St. Louis Missouri, instructs more than 3,000 understudies in destitution. Understudies experiencing neediness, tend to need enthusiasm for school and general exercises in light of issues outside of the classroom. Tiffany Anderson, who was designated the administrator position, comprehended the issues that understudies were confronting and knew she needed to have any kind of effect. Anderson knew the best way to roll out an improvement for understudies in poverty, would need to begin with changes made in the school locale.

Since Anderson has had this position, she has made it her objective to roll out an improvement in the school and nothing would dissuade her from fulfilling this objective. She even accentuates her objective in an announcement:

“Schools can do as such much to truly affect destitution,” Anderson said. “A few individuals think on the off chance that you do so much other stuff, it detracts from concentrating on direction, when truly it guarantees that you can take kids facilitate scholastically.”

In only a 3 ½ years, Tiffany Anderson has figured out how to roll out some wonderful improvements for the schools as well as the group of Jennings School District. The measure of work she has achieved for the school locale has been remarkable to the point, that Anderson had received  full accreditation, which hasn’t been accomplished in over 10 years. Anderson, has actualized a group of projects to help understudies scholastically, for example, Saturday school, college-prep classes, and accelerated classes. Since, these progressions were introduced into the schools program, positive results began happening. Understudies are presently being seen for scholastic accomplishment and enhanced participation, which has lead the school region to a higher graduation rate.

The Jennings School District has had real enhancements, in any case it wasn’t just the adjustments in the educational system that added to the accomplishment in the course of the last 3 ½ years. Tiffany Anderson, acknowledged the majority of the understudies experiencing neediness, couldn’t even manage the cost of a full course dinner. Obviously Tiffany Anderson, discovered an answer for these children managing this issue. She set up a shelter called “Hope House” as a protected spot for children who didn’t live in legitimate living conditions. In spite of, the house just having the capacity to bolster a couple kids at once, Anderson made nourishment banks, for families who battled all through the community.

Anderson, not just furnished the group with nourishment banks but shields yet with employments. She understood a lot of understudies who moved on from secondary schools in the school area, experienced difficulty finding occupations after graduation. Through the new projects and after school exercises made, she could award individuals with employment.

Through all the work and achievements, Tiffany Anderson has accomplished for the Jennings School District, she has a lot of work left to finish for this group. However, if she continues to make improvements such as the ones she has already accomplished, she will have not only set an example for other districts in St. Louis but for school districts around the nation. You can read more information on the Jennings School District here.

 

State Standardize Testing

Students in public schools have been taking standardize state test for a long time now and the question is what have they proven?  During the Atlanta school scandal I found out that all this test do is encourage teachers to do the wrong things.  Teachers have to depend on students to pass these test in order to keep their jobs and also to maybe receive bonuses and other perks in the school system. These test though have not proven anything but that some students test well and some students do not.  It has also proven that teachers will go to far extents in order to keep a job in their profession. I say though if these are the only reason these test exist why do we still have them? I see private school students not take these test and still have high ACT scores and a high acceptance into college.  So my question is to you today why do state standardize test still exist? and why are private schools do so well without them?

Educational Transition

Education in New Orleans has been in transition for 10 years now since hurricane Katrina.  I have been observing that everyone in the charter school arena has been trying to tell their story of how their charter network is successful.  The question is do you truly think that charter schools are a success in New Orleans? I would love to hear your opinion and if you have to comment unknown and nobody will know that it is you!

Just Another Year

This is another year of school starting in New Orleans but to me this does not feel like just another year. I know with the charter school system a lot of teachers that I know are changing schools not because their lack of knowing their craft or professionalism but just because of a new administration change. I understand that most administrators want to get their own people in certain spots but should there be a safe haven for teachers who are doing their jobs? Shouldn’t there be something in place to protect the teacher who has had all 5’s or excellent’s on their evaluations? This is where I ask the audience what do you think? What do you think about unions and how do you think teachers can stop this madness charter schools are doing to dismantle teachers from the work force?

What’s Going Right in New Orleans Charter Schools?

This was a question that was pose to me in a meeting with some colleagues. I was wondering also what is going right in New Orleans charter schools? Why are some schools failing and why are some schools doing great? What are some schools getting great parent support and why some are not? I would love to hear your take on this topic so please do not hesitate to comment.

Parents and PTO

I notice that all great schools has a great PTO. Why is it at schools that are not doing well parents do not want to join the PTO? Is there any substance to my take on this issue? I would love to hear your opinion?

New All Charter Parish

The new Orleans Parish School Board Superintendent wants to make all schools in the parish charter ran.  I think this could be a good idea but I think running schools like a business can be a bad thing and teachers at the end of the day lose.  I think if all schools were to recognize a union for teachers then it would be a fair playing field. Until then I believe that changing schools to all charter schools will only benefit the people on top who are developing and winning the big contracts. I would to hear your thoughts.