Tag Archives: Male Teachers

Racial education disparity: Florida program ‘Bridging the Gap’

24 Sep

Moi asked a tough question in In Hard question: Does indigenous African-American culture support academic success? Moi opined:
Jesse Washington of AP has written a comprehensive article which details the magnitude of the disaster which is occurring in the African-American community. In the article, Blacks Struggle With 72% Unwed Mother Rate which was reprinted at SeattlePI.Com Washington sounds an alarm which if you can’t hear it, makes you deaf.
This is not about racism or being elitist. This is about survival of an indigenous American culture. This is not about speaking the truth to power, it is about speaking the truth. The truth is children need two parents to help them develop properly and the majority of single parent headed families will live in poverty. Children from single parent homes have more difficult lives. So called “progressives” who want to make their “Sex and the City” life style choices the norm because they have a difficult time dealing with the emotional wreckage of their lives, need to shut-up when it comes to the survival of the African American community. This is an issue that the so called educated classes and religious communities have to get involved in.

Trip Gabriel reported about more fallout from the failure of the African-American family in the New York Times. In Proficiency of Black Students Is Found to Be Far Lower Than Expected http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/09/education/09gap.html?emc=eta1&_r=0
Brian M. Rosenthal’s Seattle Times article reported about the achievement gap between native African-Americans and immigrant African ethnic groups in Seattle.

In the article, ‘Alarming’ new test-score gap discovered in Seattle schools, Rosenthal reported:

African-American students whose primary language is English perform significantly worse in math and reading than black students who speak another language at home — typically immigrants or refugees — according to new numbers released by Seattle Public Schools. http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2017046660_newgap19m.html

This education achievement disparity is observed all over the country.

Cara Fitzpatrick reported in the Tampa Bay Times article, Pinellas unveils plan to boost academic performance for black students:

Superintendent Mike Grego quietly unveiled a sweeping new plan last week to combat one of the Pinellas County school system’s oldest and most pressing problems: the achievement gap between black students and their peers.
The plan, dubbed Bridging the Gap, calls for struggling black students to be monitored much more closely, pushing them into after-school and summer programs, meeting with their parents or guardians, pairing them with mentors, and making sure they have access in school to credit recovery classes.
Under the plan, all black students will be invited to take advanced classes and have access to preparation programs for college placement exams. Teachers, too, will be part of the plan’s focus, with an emphasis on learning “culturally responsive” instruction and practices.
Grego said many of the strategies aren’t new, but the district hasn’t been consistent, perhaps because of a revolving door of leaders at the top. Grego, who is nearing his first anniversary with the school district, is the third superintendent in three years.
He said the focus will be on closely tracking student data and repeatedly asking, “How are our African-American students doing?”
School officials also will be persistent in looking for community involvement. At Leila Davis Elementary, for instance, Grego said the principal was recruiting mentors from a nearby church to work with struggling black students.
Rene Flowers, the School Board’s only black member, acknowledged that parts of the plan are more “in your face” than what the school system has done previously, and some parents might not like it. But she said it should push students harder and keep better tabs on their academic performance, long-term goals and attendance — before a problem reaches critical levels.
“I think this monitoring will let us know as a district where our students are,” she said. “I’m all for it.”
Being “culturally responsive” could be as simple as knowing where students live and what their home lives are like, Flowers said.
“Maybe they have to deal with a parent who didn’t come home last night,” she said, adding that a teacher will then understand why a student looks “exhausted” in first period.
Bridging the Gap is Grego’s first major districtwide initiative aimed specifically at the academic achievement of black students, a persistent area of weakness in the school system.
Black students make up 19 percent of Pinellas’ enrollment, yet their academic outcomes are far worse than their peers. Black students also are doing worse in Pinellas than black students in other large, urban school districts, including Hillsborough, Palm Beach, Miami-Dade and Broward counties.
The statistics are startling.
Black males have Pinellas County’s lowest graduation rate, with 46 percent earning a diploma, compared to 73 percent of white males. More than 65 percent of white students were proficient in reading last school year, yet only 28 percent of black students were. Math scores were similarly far apart…http://www.tampabay.com/news/education/k12/pinellas-unveils-plan-to-boost-academic-performance-for-black-students/2143172

Jennifer Aniston got into a flap about her opinion regarding single motherhood. As reported by the Celebitchy blog in the post, Bill O’Reilly Takes On Jennifer Aniston’s Pro-Single Mother Comments Aniston said:

“Women are realizing it more and more knowing that they don’t have to settle with a man just to have that child. Times have changed and that is also what is amazing… that we do have so many options these days, as opposed to our parents’ days when you can’t have children because you have waited too long. The point of the movie is what is it that defines family? It isn’t necessarily the traditional mother, father, two children and a dog named Spot. Love is love and family is what is around you and who is in your immediate sphere. That is what I love about this movie. It is saying it is not the traditional sort of stereotype of what we have been taught as a society of what family is.”

See, Andrea Peyser’s Gals Being Lost in ‘No Man’ Land http://nypost.com/2010/08/23/gals-getting-lost-in-no-man-land/

The Washington Post article, Number of Black Male Teachers Belies Their Influence http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2009-07-04/news/36816280_1_black-men-black-male-teachers-black-girls made moi think about the importance of healthy male role models in a child’s life. This article is about a good male role model, a hero, Will Thomas.
The reason that teachers like Will Thomas are needed, not just for African American kids, is because the number of households headed by single parents, particularly single women is growing. Not all single parent households are unsuccessful in raising children, but enough of them are in crisis that society should be concerned. The principle issues with single parenting are a division of labor and poverty. Two parents can share parenting responsibilities and often provide two incomes, which lift many families out of poverty. Families that have above poverty level incomes face fewer challenges than families living in poverty. Still, all families face the issue of providing good role models for their children. As a society, we are like the Marines, looking for a few good men.

Why does the culture think that the opinion of any celebrity should be valued above common sense? Celebrities will often repeat the mantra that they are not role models and really want to work on their art or their craft. But, many young people look up to these babbling heads as if they are an example of the best way to live. So, the question becomes how to give children the values that they might receive if they were in a healthy family. Youth Guidance attempts to meet that need with the “Becoming A Man” program.

Youth Guidance describes “Becoming a Man” (BAM):

Youth Guidance’s B.A.M. (Becoming A Man™) – Sports Edition is a school-based counseling, mentoring, violence prevention and educational enrichment program that promotes social, emotional and behavioral competencies in at-risk male youth. B.A.M – Sports Edition’s curriculum addresses six core values: integrity, accountability, self-determination, positive anger expression, visionary goal-setting and respect for women, as each value relates to personal and academic success.
B.A.M. – Sports Edition addresses key challenges African-American and Latino youth confront daily in some of Chicago’s toughest communities.B.A.M. – Sports Edition focuses exclusively on males because they are vastly more likely than females to be either victims or perpetrators of violent crime. Youth Guidance’s Anthony DiVittorio, L.C.P.C. created B.A.M. in response to an observation that his male students often lacked physical and emotional access to their fathers or other positive male role models. DiVittorio designed the B.A.M. curriculum around an innovative application of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) techniques, resiliency theory and rites of passage “men’s work” that have been demonstrated to successfully help youth improve self-regulation, social skills, and interpersonal skills.B.A.M. is invested in helping youth improve life-long protective factors and reduce behavioral risk factors.
Over the course of 30 weekly sessions, B.A.M. – Sports Edition participants engage in developmentally-based lessons and challenges that promote their emotional literacy, impulse-control, social competence, positive peer relations and interpersonal problems-solving skills. B.A.M. – Sports Editionis designed to help students pass classes, reduce both in-school and out of school suspensions, reduce detentions, increase school attendance, reduce disciplinary problems, and support grade promotion.
Results of the study released in 2012 show that B.A.M. works and is cost-effective. Program participants saw a 10 percent increase in graduation rates, a reduction in failing grades by 37 percent, and a decrease in violent crime arrests by 44 percent. At a cost of $1,100 per participant, the Crime Lab estimates the social benefit/cost ratio to be at least 3:1 per participating youth.
“The University of Chicago Crime Lab study shows that Youth Guidance’s B.A.M. program reduces youth violence, increases school achievement and helps Chicago’s young men reach their full potential. ‘Becoming a Man’ helps young men find evidence of their worth, strengthen their connection to and success in school, and help build safer communities,” stated Youth Guidance’s CEO Michelle Morrison.
B.A.M.’s curriculum is built on six B.A.M. Core Values http://www.youth-guidance.org/here/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/B.A.M.-Core-Values.pdf

Here are the BAM Core Values:

1.INTEGRITY – is the core principle of the program. Students learn to identify and respect societal values and to conduct themselves in accordance with those values. Students learn that a man’s word should have meaning, and that a man’s integrity is dependent on keeping his word. Students learn that a man is someone who is reliable, honest and in touch with his integrity or lack thereof. He makes amends when he is out of integrity, and does what he says he is going to do.
2. ACCOUNTABILITY – Students learn that they should be responsible for the choices that they make and take ownership for their feelings, thoughts and behaviors. Students learn that a man does not project, or put blame onto others for the consequences of his own bad choices. A man can feel anger, sadness or fear, but he must own his reactions to those emotions.
3. SELF-DETERMINATION – is a learned skill, and practice begins in B.A.M. group. Students learn the importance of focus and perseverance in reaching one’s goals. Students learn to deal with self-defeating feelings, thoughts and behaviors that can become obstacles or barriers to goal-attainment. Students learn that self-doubt, uncertainty, and moments of weakness are natural when attempting to reach a goal.
4.POSITIVE ANGER EXPRESSION – is the most effective and remembered lesson taught in the program. Students learn that anger is a normal emotion that can be expressed in a constructive manner. This skill allows for the alleviation of angry feelings and becomes a bridge to goal attainment. Students learn anger management coping skills such as deep breathing exercises to elicit a relaxation response. Students learn effective techniques to express anger that avoid typical negative consequences (i.e. suspensions, arrests, damaged relationships, etc.).
5.VISIONARY GOAL SETTING – Students learn the difference between short-term and long-term goals and how to create realistic steps toward goal attainment. Students learn to envision their manhood in the future and to make clear connections between their current behaviors, attitudes and values and their vision. During this intense phase, students aim to get in touch with traumas, pains and faulty thinking that cause them to act in negative, destructive manners. They learn how to heal these parts of themselves and to use the energy toward attaining their vision. Not all students are ready for this phase of the program. However, it can be a life altering phase for those who are.
6. RESPECT FOR WOMANHOOD – Students go through three stages of learning. First, there are lectures and discussions around the history and contemporary roles that women have held in society. Students are challenged to take a critical look at which norms represent positive value and appreciation as opposed to depreciation, devaluing and oppression. Second, students learn concrete positive communication skills and begin using them during their interactions. As a result, students enter the final stage of training, wherein they increase their value and appreciation of womanhood.
B.A.M. – Sports Edition places special emphasis on issues surrounding respect and integrity. This value reinforces those important messages at a deeper level.

See, Therapy Helps Troubled Teens Rethink Crimehttp://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/07/02/188646607/therapy-helps-troubled-teens-rethink-crime?utm_medium=Email&utm_source=share&utm_campaign=

It is going to take coordination between not only education institutions, but a strong social support system to get many of these children through school. This does not mean a large program directed from Washington. But, more resources at the local school level which allow discretion with accountability. For example, if I child is not coming to school because they have no shoes or winter coat, then the child gets new shoes and/or a coat. School breakfast and lunch programs must be supported and if necessary, expanded. Unfortunately, schools are now the early warning system for many families in crisis.

Related:
Jonathan Cohn’s ‘The Two Year Window’
https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/18/jonathan-cohns-the-two-year-window/

Hard question: Does indigenous African-American culture support academic success?
https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/19/hard-question-does-indigenous-african-american-culture-support-academic-success/

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Harlem movie and the hard question: Does indigenous African-American culture support academic success?

8 Jan

In Hard question: Does indigenous African-American culture support academic success? Moi opined:

Jesse Washington of AP has written a comprehensive article which details the magnitude of the disaster which is occurring in the African-American community. In the article, BlacksStruggle With 72% Unwed Mother Rate  which was reprinted at SeattlePI.Com Washington sounds an alarm which if you can’t hear it, makes you deaf.

This is not about racism or being elitist. This is about survival of an indigenous American culture. This is not about speaking the truth to power, it is about speaking the truth. The truth is children need two parents to help them develop properly and the majority of single parent headed families will live in poverty. Children from single parent homes have more difficult lives. So called “progressives” who want to make their “Sex and the City” life style choices the norm because they have a difficult time dealing with the emotional wreckage of their lives, need to shut-up when it comes to the survival of the African American community. This is an issue that the so called educated classes and religious communities have to get involved in.

Trip Gabriel reported about more fallout from the failure of the African-American family in the New York Times. In Proficiency of Black Students Is Found to Be Far Lower Than Expected 

Brian M. Rosenthal’s  Seattle Times article reports about the achievement gap between native African-Americans and immigrant African ethnic groups in Seattle.

In the article, ‘Alarming’ new test-score gap discovered in Seattle schools, Rosenthal reports:

African-American students whose primary language is English perform significantly worse in math and reading than black students who speak another language at home — typically immigrants or refugees — according to new numbers released by Seattle Public Schools.

This Washington Post article made me think about the importance of healthy male role models in a child’s life. This article is about a good male role model, a hero. Number of Black Male Teachers Belies Their Influence

“I love teaching, and I feel like I am needed,” said Thomas, 33, of Bowie. “We need black male teachers in our classrooms because that is the closest connection we are able to make to children. It is critical for all students to see black men in the classrooms involved in trying to make sure they learn and enjoy being in school.”

The shortage of black male teachers compounds the difficulties that many African American boys face in school. About half of black male students do not complete high school in four years, statistics show. Black males also tend to score lower on standardized tests, take fewer Advanced Placement courses and are suspended and expelled at higher rates than other groups, officials said.

Educators said black male teachers expose students to black men as authority figures, help minority students feel that they belong, motivate black students to achieve, demonstrate positive male-female relationships to black girls and provide African American youths with role models and mentors.

The reason that teachers like Will Thomas are needed, not just for African American kids, is because the number of households headed by single parents, particularly single women is growing. Not all single parent households are unsuccessful in raising children, but enough of them are in crisis that society should be concerned. The principle issues with single parenting are a division of labor and poverty. Two parents can share parenting responsibilities and often provide two incomes, which lift many families out of poverty. Families that have above poverty level incomes face fewer challenges than families living in poverty. Still, all families face the issue of providing good role models for their children. As a society, we are like the Marines, looking for a few good men.

Jennifer Aniston got into a flap about her opinion regarding single motherhood. As reported by the Celebitchy blog in the post, Bill O’Reilly Takes On Jennifer Aniston’s Pro-Single MotherComments Aniston said:

Women are realizing it more and more knowing that they don’t have to settle with a man just to have that child. Times have changed and that is also what is amazing… that we do have so many options these days, as opposed to our parents’ days when you can’t have children because you have waited too long. The point of the movie is what is it that defines family? It isn’t necessarily the traditional mother, father, two children and a dog named Spot. Love is love and family is what is around you and who is in your immediate sphere. That is what I love about this movie. It is saying it is not the traditional sort of stereotype of what we have been taught as a society of what family is.

See, Andrea Peyser’s Gals Being Lost in ‘No Man’ Land

Children need role models of both genders to develop a healthy self-esteem.

Niesha Lofing of Mc Clatchy Newspapers has a wonderful article which was reprinted in the Seattle Times, Father-Son Bonding Key to Development The article begins with the story of Mike and Brandon Mc Nealy, a father and son who built their relationship by working on 1979 Lincoln Continental and then describes their road trip across the country to the 30 major league baseball stadiums. The article has some great advice on how dads can connect with kids:

Why does the culture think that the opinion of any celebrity should be valued above common sense? Celebrities will often repeat the mantra that they are not role models and really want to work on their art or their craft. But, many young people look up to these babbling heads as if they are an example of the best way to live. For most young folks, a more realistic picture of single motherhood can be found at MTV’s Teen Mom.

Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D. writes in the Psych Central article, Fathering in America: What’s A Father Supposed to Do?

What’s a Father To Do?

  • Embrace your responsibility. Once you are a father, you are a father for life. The knowledge of fatherhood changes a man. It can be a source of pride and maturity or a source of shame and regret. Even if you have good reasons for not being actively involved, acknowledging your paternity is a minimal gift you can provide to your child. With it come many legal, psychological, and financial benefits. If you want to be in your child’s life, it also protects your rights to have time with your child should you and the child’s mother have a falling out.

  • Be there. In study after study, kids consistently say they would like to have more time with their dads. Regardless of whether a dad shares a home with the children and their mother, the kids need dad time. Working together on a chore or simply hanging out can be as meaningful as attending events or having adventures. Kids want to know their fathers. Just as important, they want their fathers to know them.

  • Be there throughout their childhoods. There is no time in a child’s life that doesn’t count. Research has shown that even infants know and respond to their fathers differently than they do to their mothers. The bond you make with a baby sets the foundation for a lifetime. As the kids get older, they’ll need you in different ways but they will always need you. Insistent toddler, curious preschooler, growing child, prickly adolescent: Each age and stage will have its challenges and rewards. Kids whose parents let them know that they are worth their parents’ time and attention are kids who grow up healthy and strong. Boys and girls who grow up with attention and approval from their dads as well as their moms tend to be more successful in life.

  • Respond to the needs of the kids, not your relationship with their mother. Regardless of whether you are getting along with your girlfriend or wife (present or ex), your relationship with the kids is exactly that: your relationship with the kids. The kids need predictability. They need care. They need a loving relationship with you. They need whatever financial support you can provide. None of these things should depend on whether you’ve had a disagreement or fight with their mom. None of these things should ever be withheld as a way to get even with her.

  • Be in a respectful and appreciative relationship with their mother. Being a good dad is certainly possible both inside and outside of marriage. Regardless of whether you and their mom can work out how to be a committed couple, you can support each other as parents. Kids grow best when their parents treat each other with respect and appreciation. The kids then don’t feel torn between the two people they love.

  • Do your financial share. Kids need to be fed, clothed, housed, and cared for. Children whose parents provide for them live better lives, feel valued, and have better relationships with both their parents. They need the role model of a responsible male acting responsibly. Just as they need you to be present in their lives, regardless of whether you live with their mom, they also need you to live up to financial obligations to the very best of your ability.

  • Balance discipline with fun. Some dads make the mistake of being only the disciplinarian. The kids grow up afraid of their dads and unable to see the man behind the rules. An equal and opposite mistake is being so focused on fun that you become one of the kids, leaving their mother always to be the heavy. Kids need to have fathers who know both how to set reasonable, firm limits and how to relax and have a good time. Give yourself and the kids the stability that comes with clear limits and the good memories that come with play.

  • Be a role model of adult manhood. Both boys and girls need you as a role model for what it means to be adult and male. Make no mistake: The kids are observing you every minute. They are taking in how you treat others, how you manage stress and frustrations, how you fulfill your obligations, and whether you carry yourself with dignity. Consciously or not, the boys will become like you. The girls will look for a man very much like you. Give them an idea of manhood (and relationships) you can be proud of….

Michael J. Feeney writes a jaw-dropping article in the New York Daily News,Baby-faced Harlem teens starring in controversial new film shot uptown; anti-violence advocates threaten boycott: Film shot in the neighborhood features kid actors toting guns:

The streets of Harlem are being run by baby-faced gun-toting kids who aren’t afraid to pull the trigger and leave a bloody trail of bodies in a new independent film that’s quickly making the rounds uptown.

There’s wild shoot outs, drugs and sex in “Toddlers” – shot in Harlem using neighborhood kids as young as 12 making their acting debut.

The DVD, released last month, has anti-violence activists charging the movie glorifies guns. They’re thinking about boycotting the video store selling the film.

Director Termaine (M5) Brown insisted he’s not promoting gun violence, just showing a harsh reality.

“That’s what’s going on, I’m just showing it,” Brown told the Daily News. “You hear about these murders, but people don’t see how it happens. I show how these incidents happen. These are real life situations.

“The parents don’t get to see what these kids are really doing,” said Brown, 29, who was raised in Harlem and shot many scenes on W. 147th St. between Broadway and Amsterdam two summers ago.

The DVD cover features a chubby-cheeked kid holding a gun. In the one-minute trailer, posted on YouTube, kids are brandishing guns; a girl is kidnapped by thugs and a man is shot in the head.

In “Toddlers,” the lead character Pito, played by Jordan Pena, 14 at the time, turns to a life of guns and drugs after his drug dealer father is killed .

Pito, once a promising baseball player, purchases guns with his newfound drug money. He and his friends gun down anyone who gets in their way.

Pena, who said his first-time in front of the camera was a “great experience,” insisted the movie doesn’t promote violence.

“It promotes how to turn into a man; how to take care of a family,” said Pena, now 16. “It promotes how life is out here. It’s definitely reality.”

He said playing the role of Pito wasn’t hard for him.

“It was basically me acting like myself. It wasn’t hard at all. This was like playing my life,” said Pena, who now wants to continue acting. “I was proud of myself for finishing the movie.”

He said his parents and grandmother were also proud of him for doing something “positive….
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/baby-faced-harlem-teens-starring-controversial-film-shot-uptown-anti-violence-advocates-threaten-boycott-article-1.1001571#ixzz1iu7OT3R0

Children, especially boys, need positive male role models. They don’t need another “uncle” or “fiancée” who when the chips are down cashes out. By the way, what is the new definition of “fiancée?” Is that someone who is rented for an indefinite term to introduce the kids from your last “fiancée” to?

Back in the day, “fiancée” meant one was engaged to be married, got married and then had kids. Nowadays, it means some one who hangs around for an indeterminate period of time and who may or may not formalize a relationship with baby mama. Kids don’t need someone in their lives who has as a relationship strategy only dating women with children because they are available and probably desperate. What children, especially boys, need are men who are consistently there for them, who model good behavior and values, and who consistently care for loved ones. They don’t need men who have checked out of building relationships and those who are nothing more than sperm donors.

See:

We give up as a society: Jailing parents because kids are truant

https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/18/we-give-up-as-a-society-jailing-parents-because-kids-are-truant/

Jonathan Cohn’s ‘The Two Year Window’

https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/18/jonathan-cohns-the-two-year-window/

Hard question: Does indigenous African-American culture support academic success?

https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/19/hard-question-does-indigenous-african-american-culture-support-academic-success/

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©