Thursday, February 25, 2010

I wonder where some of my students will end up

I like to think that what I'm a part of is doing some good, but I'm starting to wonder if the current system is railroading some students into career paths that may or may not pan out. What I mean is this. When I go to trainings and staffings and to hear these so-called "experts" talk about the "right" way to teach minority students they seem to always talk about the arts. Now before any of my readers get all upset and start causing a riot, I was a part of the band and have the utmost respect and appreciation for the arts, but what bothers me is the following. Why are black and Hispanic students supposed to be taught using "art"? This is becoming a concern for me. I've been told that working with minority populations I should use art, music, raps, poems, stories, etc in order to help them learn. I think that's a great alternative when the basics have been covered, but how is this helping a student get ready for college or even the work place?

How many students aspire to be art teachers, music teachers, or even musicians? Not many. They think about being rich, having a house, something nice to ride in. Who was the last living artist that was able to say they were living that dream? How many musicians actually make it? Not that many, but that's the life they push these kids towards. They tell us "science and math isn't there thing." or "just let them enjoy acting in the school play." I'm wondering why are we not encouraging these students to do well in all subjects and allow their arts to be compliments to their other studies? I'm not trying to say that the school system is really pushing these kids to fail, but I think soo much more can be done to enhance their education. The current system seems to see young Hispanics and blacks as merely artist, actors, musicians all while allowing them to fall through the cracks and not teaching them to really play the game of life that they will be faced with. Are all Hispanics graffiti aritist? Can all blacks sing and dance? I don't think so. So why are those the skills that are pushed on these students? Why are they not categorized in this way: "Well George Washington Carver was a wonderful scientist, I think little Chris could be one also." or "Justice Sotomayor made it to the supreme court, maybe Andrea could get there one day too." Why aren't these conversations the norm? They should be. The prevailing thought shouldn't be that these students are artistically inclined so let's teach them all that way. It gets a little irritating to see.

If you're a student reading this, do your best in everything you do. You can be a great artist, actor, musician as well as a great historian, scientist or mathematician. Don't let anyone tell you the only talent you have is such and such. For any bold administrators that dare to read something like this. Take a look at your own school and see if you are doing this on your campus. Finally for any teacher that reads this. Be sure to encourage your kids to continue to learn across curricula and DO NOT let a child feel that they can only be one thing or the other. It's our job to show these kids that the world is theirs and they must find ways to seize every opportunity that they have.

I'm out folks. I hope someone can take this and it lights a spark that can help get this country and our students going in a positive direction. Leave comments and take care.

Politics- part 2

The second part of my politics post has to deal with the President. Many "Black Leaders" are starting to push the president to help the black community. Well, I'd love to see a fat check in the mail one day but that's not going to happen but as far as what would help blacks in America is the agenda. That's the one thing that we're missing as a people. We have no unified platform to stand on or stand around. Are there things that need to be fixed in the black community? Yes. Are there things that African Americans need to do for themselves? Yes. Are there things that the government could do to help? Yes. What I don't think is that Barack Obama is going to or should have to sit down in the oval office and single-handedly write up a proposal or plan to help just black people. He is the first black president, true, but he is first of all the President of the United States of America. His focus needs to be on the betterment of the country not just blacks. What I will admit is that minorities are disproportionately effected by the fluctuations in the economy, incarceration rates, joblessness, poor education, and discrimination. What does this mean for African-Americans? We do need to step up and do what we need to do to make ourselves better, our community better and in turn make this country better. I wish it was as easy as having a black president, but that would truly be a fantasy. What I'm charging African-Americans to do is to come together. We're not crabs and this world is not our bucket. We have the opportunities to be educated, let's use it. Not to just get out of the hood, but to make the path for those that come behind us a little bit more defined. Until we have a platform to take to Washington, we're not going to see anything different from what we've seen in the past. As the old adage goes - The squeaky wheel gets the oil. Until we squeak as much and as loud as all of the other wheels, we will continue on our path which is one of little advancement. We've been able to make it through some rough times in the past and we have an opportunity to shape the history of this young country. Let's come together and do what it takes in order for us to show the resilience and the brilliance of African-Americans in this country. It's on us to make this happen. Take care.


Some of you that know me know that I like to follow politics as best I can understand. I was listening to the radio today and there were a few reports that really struck me. One was on the economy and the other was on the whether or not President Obama was really helping out black people in America. (Note: this post may be a little more racially and politically charged than usual so if you think it may be too much for you please feel free to stop reading now.)

First, I've heard numerous news outlets talking about how the economy is bouncing back and recoveries are starting to happen, but I think a larger problem is looming. We have banks that were "too big to fail", but now they're even bigger and even less likely to lend to common people. That's one issue, that's honestly outside of my understanding but I thought it was noteworthy. The real issue I want to talk about is the job market. With tens of thousands of people laid off every couple of weeks so it seems, I wonder why people think that all of the "new poor" - people who were middle class, but got laid off and have been out of work for 9-12 months - will be able to find new jobs? What I mean by this is that companies today are only after one thing, profit. So my question is why would they hire on new workers if they are still turning the same or possibly more profit with a reduced staff? It doesn't seem likely that they will try to hire droves of people just because the economy is turning around. Does it seem likely to you? I don't really see it happening and unfortunately good people were laid off, will get laid off and fewer and fewer people will get hired. That would be my prediction and Lord knows I hope I'm wrong, but my logical mind tells me that these companies will keep making money, people will keep losing jobs and the gap between poor and rich will continue to grow and the middle class will continue to shrink and become less and less important in this society. It's not looking good but I hope that things become more idealic like the world that was promised to us in campaigns and commercials, but maybe I'm hopelessly hoping for a world that is far gone, or never existed at all. Until people care for other people, issues like this will more than likely remain an issue and have less of a chance of ever being resolved. I'll finish this post in a second part. Take care.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

part 5 - A change

Now for a serious post. I think I'm ready to change my career path or at least my current situation. I love my coworkers, but I'm not feeling admin from central office all the way down. I feel like the basic goal of a teacher has changed. It seems like we have simply become classroom managers instead of educators. The admin seems to be more worried about not angering a parent than trying to make sure students are getting the education they need. They try to stop things or block things trying to keep from upsetting a parent before things even get a chance. This is ludicrous.

I signed on to try to educate America's youth, not to be an under-appreciated babysitter. I'm sick of having to give a kid work that's not trying to do anything all semester, but has "paperwork" that says they need extra time. A whole 5 weeks??? Is that extra enough? That's ridiculous and admin just keeps letting these kids work them and the system. I've seen students pass without having done a lick of work but the teachers can't fail them because admin doesn't want to have to "deal" with the paperwork or the parents so the teachers are urged to let them pass. The amount of paperwork on the teacher to fail the non producing student is immense. I'm done with this foolishness. These kids are allowed to skate through while you have some students that actually do their work and try and they are the ones who really suffer. The knuckleheads are given numerous chances and the good kids are being punished for dress code violations. What sense does that make? I'm lost. I need something else.

I've already started talking to some contacts and my placement for next year is uncertain at this point. I would hate to leave my coworkers, but it seems like the culture at my current location is changing anytime soon. We have too many personal agendas going on and the kids get lost in the shuffle. It's sad. We need to do better as a society if this is what education has come to. I see why people leave the profession....

part 4 - 4 day weekend

We had a four day weekend thanks to the 12 and a half inches of snow we had in 24 hours and boy it was relaxing. I enjoyed the extra days off and it was very refreshing. I'm positive that was the most snow I've ever seen in my life. I was happy to see it, but I was glad to see it go. We need a 4 day work week. I hope someone gets that passed. That would be great. Every Friday or Monday off. I'd take it. Now I'm curious as to which day they're going to take away for our snow day?

part 3 - New phone

I just got a new phone and I'm amazed. This nexus one is phenomenal. I've never had anything like it. For all who know me, I love my g1. It's like my first born, but this new phone is a definite upgrade. I love the multitasking, the screen, battery life is better than my g1, and the headphone jack it FTW. I'm thankful for the chance to be able to get it (thanks tax return!!). Now I'm looking into the future for when I can get a netbook running google's chrome os. This is definitely my nerd post. I'm truly embracing my inner nerd at this point. Friends and family alike come to me like tech support and even my mom told me I was in the wrong profession. Any mobile tech folks that want to pay me I'm willing to work and I'm a fast learner!!!

Part 2 - All star weekend

First off, thanks Gene for being awesome!! Now to the game. I had a good time at the game. As for the venue, I wasn't as impressed as I thought I would be. It was big, but not as big as I thought but that HD screen was gorgeous. The new Cowboys stadium is a wonderful venue for watching football, but it's capacity for basketball left a lot to be desired. The jumbotron controller needs to be fired or maybe go to a basketball game or two to see how it should be done. We were sitting pretty high up, so watching the actual game was hard but I figured since that screen was there it would be ok. Yeah right!! This guy tried to replay everything and you would miss one play because he was showing a slow motion free throw that just happened. Then the game itself was sort of lackluster, but I'm still thankful for the opportunity. One good thing is that I made it into the Guiness book of world records. I was part of the largest crowd ever to attend a basketball game!!! One for the ages.

I have many parts to get through. Stick with me pt 1

Sorry it's been a while folks, but I've been moving and shaking. I'm gonna make this a multi-part post so it doesn't wear anyone out. Enough of the intro I'm gonna get right to it. First and foremost I must say Geaux Saints!!! Superbowl champs. I never thought I'd live to see the day. I wish my grandpa could've been around to see it, but I know he had a better view than most. The Saints played a great game and I'm happy to see them on top of their game. It's been 2 yrs but I can now say WE are the champions!! take that Archie!! Telling both of your boys not to go to the Saints. I guess you call it poetic justice.

I have my shirts, my hat and a second line in my heart. Bless you boys!!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Here they go again

Well I've just been informed (yesterday) that Texas is changing its state test again. No more TAKS talk, now it's all about Staars. Well isn't this something, they haven't found a way to deal with the ever growing drop out rate, the abuse of the special ed system, broken families, lack of support and resources for teachers and campuses, teacher wash out/turn over, but you want to just go ahead and change things up. Smart move Texas.

I'm not from here, so coming in as an outsider and being able to objectively look at this I can say for certain that this system is a mess. The state has yet to go at the root of the educational issues. They are quite content with only trying to treat the symptoms instead of fighting the bug that makes everyone suffer. This top down education system is frustrating for teachers and in the end, it hurts the kids. From what I'm seeing, the kids are the last people being looked out for regardless of what people are told. The legislators love to run on education merely to let it be the first thing they don't have time for. Then they bring it back up at re-election time and then the cycle repeats. It's about time that communities hold the law makers to their promises and start trying to build the education system. Notice I said build and not reform. The current system clearly needs to be replaced. Reform will not get it to where it needs to be. Going forward as a country we need to put education back at the forefront if we plan for our country and our future to continue to grow we need to make sure our people are educated. If education fails so do we.

I would encourage you to take a look at what's going on in today's education system and try to collectively come up with some solutions to get us back on the right track. Talk to a teacher, talk to a student, talk to the school board and then put some of that talk into action. I always say that "1 concerned citizen is a thousand times more effective than 100 concerned and frustrated teachers." so help when and how you can and don't be afraid to voice your concern about the state of our education system. Take it from me, we need your help and our country needs your help. As always, take care and please feel free to leave any comments you may have. Thank you.