Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Take Over of the Indianapolis Public Schools

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Well Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, an ardent supporter of No Child Left Behind legislation is attempting to take over several of the Indianapolis Public Schools. His Superintendent of Public Instruction, Dr. Tony Bennett is meeting with seven IPS schools for public input regarding this decision. The schedule and the schools in consideration of state takeover are listed below. Citing poor academic performance as his reason, Dr. Bennett would like to use the authority granted to him under Public Law 221 to manage the schools.

I had a chance to quiz the superintendent at a public forum. My question was “What makes the state feel as if they have the magic formula to get results the current administration fails to get?” I also wanted him to know that it is easy to create schools for good kids, kids that test well and give the desired results needed for a school to be passing. They put these kids in magnet schools, private schools and charter schools. However, what about the massive amount of kids with behavior problems and without options? These are the ones that usually become community problems due to suspension and expulsion. The superintendent said that the state would not take over the schools in question. Instead, they will hire private contractors with success records in other locales. He also put the blame on teachers, saying people come to him with comments like, “You don’t understand,” how hard it is to teach poor black kids. So it is the teacher’s fault, in his opinion. Since Bennett went racial, let me say, I agree there are some bad teachers. Most of the bad teachers are misplaced, having nothing in common with the culture of the kids being taught. While I am not saying that only black teachers can teach black kids, in consideration of race the ratio is off balance: The percentage of black teachers is in no way reflective of the percentage black students in school districts like the Indianapolis Public Schools.

Since it is the teacher’s fault that the schools are failing, my question to Dr. Bennett is a follows: Since all the schools in consideration of takeover are in locales like Gary, East Chicago and Indianapolis, “How in the heck did these districts get all the bad teachers?”

The public is invited and encouraged to attend one of the following meetings. All meetings will begin at 6:30 p.m. in each school's auditorium. The schedule is:

May 31: Broad Ripple Magnet High School for the Arts and Humanities, 1115 Broad Ripple Ave.

June 1: Arlington Community High School, 4825 N. Arlington Ave.

June 8: Emmerich Manual High School, 2405 Madison Ave.

June 9: Northwest High School, 5525 W. 34th St.

June 13: T.C. Howe Community High School, 4900 Julian Ave.

June 20: Emma Donnan Middle School, 1202 E. Troy Ave.

June 29: George Washington Community High School, 2215 W. Washington St.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Too Blog or Not Blog
It has been awhile since I've updated this blog. Alot of research into the blogs of others has occurred and it is clear, if this blog is to be, its got to be one of the best in the whole world (LOL. It's going to take work. There's much learning to occur. Yet I consider the limitless possibilities of blogging...People can become famous as a voice which normally could not be heard under normal circumstances. So the trick is to generate many hits in order to be well read by others. It's not that I seek fame for the sake of being famous. Instead, my goal is to enlist others in the war for the minds and souls of urban youth. This is what I call, bridging the gulf that has developed between the normal and abnormal...For instance, it used to be normal that young people didn't go to jail or die early. Now the things once clearly abnormal has become normal. In other words, this blog has to stay true to its purpose of bridging the gulf. All things written in the blog must conform to that overriding purpose.

I notice my Facebook updates usually reflect my experience as a mentor and youth worker. So it is clear, this blog should do the same. One of my updates spoke of a name that I heard on the news... I am almost one hundred percent certain that this name was one of my former students of a mentoring program called Young Champions. I feel bad for the student and wonder is it fair to consider the failures instead of the successes. It seems that he was one of four involved indirectly with a homicide involving three other youths. Mentoring is a tough field. Its bad when the one you mentored goes astray. It's worst when the church and society really doesn't acknowledge the good a mentor brings.

And so, will this blog be ignored or will it generate motivation to act...Jesus was concerned about the lost sheep. Focusing on the failures is sort of like the action of the shepherd that went in search of the one lost sheep. Oh, one closing note, they just showed a photo of the alleged killers on the news. It was my old Young Champion.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

the value of a mentor

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The value a mentor has to society should be measured, acknowledged and rewarded. Shouldn’t society rather see young African-American males employed instead of being tempted to live a life of crime? So today, I took on the role of mentor.

I remember how hard it was as a young man to find employment. I had nobody to help me understand or walk through this process. I even had education and a strong family support system in place. Those passed on a daily basis without these advantages are too many to count. Today, the least I could do was take Rich and Rob to various employers, places that would hire felons.

Both Rich and Rob started the mentoring process very early. Now they are in their mid twenties. Both have spotty employment records. Both were real knuckleheads as youth. Neither finished high school on time. One still has no G.E.D. Both went to church as youth and raised hell both inside and out. Rich blames me for being a Christian. Let me correct this, he acknowledges me as the one responsible for introducing him to a relationship with Christ…Rob never really embraced that "Christianity thing." Neither was old enough to have been written about in my book, Understanding and Ministering to Hip Hop Youth. Neither have children.

I am writing about today’s experience for two reasons. The value of a mentor needs to be recognized. Secondly, there needs to be some good news to report about when dealing with urban and "hip-hop" youth. Neither Rob nor Rich are locked up with extensive criminal records. Given their background as young black men, that is an encouragement. I can check on past youth and students in two ways. If they are on Facebook, this means that they are doing relatively well. At least they have computer skills. Otherwise, I can check the Department of Correction web site and find usually find the rest.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Today there are about three articles swelling in my head. I'll deal with one. Usually, my method is to relate all things to my mission in life, Bridging the Gulf that has been generated especially within the African-American community. There has always been a generation gap. But the influence of hip-hop culture as taken this gap to a "whole, other level." What do I mean? Hip hop is teaching our youths a lifestyle and belief system that is contrary to many of the traditions, belief and teachings of the Christian church. The Bible says there is a blessing in meditating on the law of the Lord both day and night. Well, Hip Hop youths do and can meditate on the destructive words and thoughts of gangster type lyrics. It is possible to meditate on lyrics leading to death both day and night.
As they say, Garbage in, garbage out. Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. In other words, we must "guard our hearts." I have given many Biblical references and would tell you exactly where they could be found if it mattered. Hopefully, like me you know that we can bank on the Bible. Just some thoughts for your consideration. Check out my book Bridging the Gulf @ publishamerica. com. Leave me a comment