Thursday, August 10, 2006

School 2.0: Between the Semesters

Let's follow up on yesterday's entry in which a New York Times columnist talks about the importance of housing and summer learning on children.

It seems to me that these observations point to an obvious remedy to help bridge the acheivement gap in school performance. That is to begin to create and enthusiastically fund summer programs that offer inner city poor students attending failing schools the opportunity to spend a few weeks every summer in a suburban educational setting.

If we cannot accomplish statewide housing integration then let us attempt to offer the poor children of our nation a fighting chance to enjoy healthy food, a rich learning and exploring environment, and some doors to learning perception that do not exist at home.

One of my hopes is that we begin a dialogue to create some course credits for high school students to work in the community as teachers, social workers, and volunteers to work with local youth to improve reading and so on. Given, the existing summer school programs across the state, it would be nice to offer supplementary programs to keep our urban kids on he right track.

The suburban high schoolers can grow from the experience, earn some money, and enrich our communities as a by-product. Hopefully, we begin to grow smarter kids everywhere, fewer future criminals, and maybe a few Einsteins.

This means, very explicitly, that destructive urban cultural influences will not be welcome or tolerated but that the natural cultural differences of the child will be nurtured and respected as the gift that helps make every child unique. Let's get these kids assimilated, engaged in discourse, and self-perpetuated as learners.

Let's stop bashing our schools and start solving the problem. The political scape-goating, denial, and opportunism of testing special interests has got to stop. We can overcome the problems we're aware of and the way to do it is to start with the obvious.

By next summer, let's get some summer learning programs established! Is anyone at the State Department of Education listening?

Tags: poverty, School 2.0, achievement gap, culture, education

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