Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Pre-K to prison trend and the African-American male


A disturbing thirty year trend has resulted in a disproportionate number of incarcerated African-American male youths in U.S. prisons. A new study from the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry shows that the conditions that contribute to this high representation (sixty percent of all incarcerated youth) begin early in life, and is often exacerbated by their experiences in school.

It's projected that by 2029, prisons will house almost 30,000 of the 600,000 four-year olds now living in America. The solution to this problem lies within families, schools and communities. Study author Oscar A. Barbarin, III, Ph.D. identifies specific practices needed in order to turn this situation around. Parents, as a child's first teacher, can do a lot by engaging with them through talking, listening, and offering challenging new experiences.

Schools can begin by acknowledging the unique challenges facing African-American males, developing strong relationships with their families, and by using teaching practices that incorporate motor skills and movement, which comes naturally to young males. Classrooms can be reformed to provide more engaging and accepting environments for boys.

Barbarin argues that these measures can add to a feeling of acceptance, connectedness, responsibility and loyalty within their families and communities, and counteract certain traumas and challenges experienced early in life. He shows that evidence of these academic and social challenges is already apparent at the kindergarten level.

According to Barbarin, African-American males come to school with fewer skills than their Caucasian or female counterparts at this age, who are more inclined to have more developed language, literacy and self-regulation skills. Boys' limitations are often not properly recognized or addressed as they progress though school. This is exacerbated by behavioural issues, as well as racial segregation within schools. Barbarin's findings expose large gaps in the American educational system, and highlight a systemic underachievement level among African-American males.

Barbarin agrees that programs such as Head Start, Boys and Girls Clubs, and state-funded early childhood programs have tried to augment these issues.

Barbarin says, "Once the juveniles enter the justice system, the repeat offender rate is sixty percent. This research calls for optimism in spite of a vicious downward cycle experienced by many young males, which marginalizes them at school, at work, at home and in their communities."

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Hot Job: Urban School Symposium Producer


Interesting that ALL of the proceeds from the day long conference on urban education, which is being held by the City, Chamber of Commerce and Bradley University, are going to the Institute for Principled Leadership.

If this is about inner city schools - why aren't the proceeds going to help fund inner city schools? Isn't the Charter School still trying to raise money?

It appears that selling tickets to talk about fixing inner city schools is a money maker all across the country. It would be nice if some of the money these symposium producers are making actually benefited the urban schools they talk about caring so much about.

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PEORIA — The list of education officials and experts converging in Peoria later this month to discuss changes to public education is growing by the day, organizers say.

Kenneth Wong, considered the leading expert on urban education and director of the Urban Education Policy Program at Brown University, will join U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and renowned education reformer Paul Vallas to speak at an education symposium at the Peoria Civic Center titled "Transforming Public Education."

The daylong conference, sponsored by the city of Peoria, the Institute for Principled Leadership, the Dirksen Center and the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce, is set for April 21 at the Civic Center. Cost ranges from $50 to $175 and the proceeds go to the Institute for Principled Leadership at Bradley University, which is organizing the event.

Some 40 Illinois mayors have been invited and school superintendents from across the state have been signing up. There is also hope that community members will come.

Other speakers include Andrew Broy, president of the Illinois Network of Charter Schools; Suzanne Armato, executive director of the Federation of Community Schools; Christopher Koch, Illinois Superintendent of Public Schools; and Joan Sattler, dean of the college of education and health sciences at Bradley.

Source