YES , THEY CAN!! If….Minority Students Can Achieve….

A Teragrid Outreach , Jesse and I partidipated in and learned a lot

Most of the people who are writing about the assault on a student by a policeman, have little or no experience working in the places of need and judge by what they think. Those students are not lost causes. They can be taught..You can shape an attitude. You can make a student love learning.

Larry Irving said this:

“No issue is more important than ensuring that our communities, particularly our children, obtain access to new technologies and become technologically literate. Our nation’s problems can’t and won’t be solved entirely by new technology, but these new technologies are tools that we can use to make significant changes in our communities.”

I like what Allan Jones wrote on the Internet.

He said ,”There has been a lot of debate over the young student who was forcibly removed from her classroom by police. It should never have reached that point. There is an old leadership principle I learned at the Naval Academy that has always served me well. It says simply, “Praise publicly and criticize privately.” If you are having a problem with a student in a class, don’t make a spectacle of the situation by humiliating the student in front of the rest of the class. You have the authority to win any argument in a classroom, but when you do, there is a greater loss. You lose any chance you had of having a rational conversation with the student you just defeated. But that is the minor loss. The major loss is the respect of the class for using your authority instead of your intellect to solve the problem. There is another old quote that applies to this situation. “Students don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” (John Wooden) Asserting your authority to win an argument means you haven’t taken the time to care about why the student is apparently misbehaving. It’s very important for students to care how much you know, so your have to show them you care about each and every one of them. — — That’s how I would have and always did deal with the situation.”

You can’t learn these skills everywhere..but certainly policemen or counselors should have these skills. Lots of people who have been successful with minority kids have a helpful attitude.

363_42724556326_8230_n copy

My dad taught in very difficult inner city schools and nothing like the assault ever happened. He did bring hungry kids home and one of the things that I remember is that he and another teacher bought a suit for the first black NBA player for his interview,and they were mentors to him. Earl Lloyd always remembered that and sometimes helped me when I was working the digital divide. He just needed that boost. Earl Lloyd remembered that and also helped students to conquer the various problems that they had to become literate.

Here is a funny thing. Once a student who happened to be white, committed a crime. Everyone was afraid of the student. He hid under my dad’s car and waited to ask my dad to take him to the police station. So it is not about color . It is about understanding…


One class I worked with was a class of mostly Hispanic and Black kids who were only not in jail because they attended this class in the Career Center where I was a teacher in residence. Ok , their main teacher was a policeman, and he wore cop shoes, but he knew how to work with the students. I also worked with them. The only problem I ever had was that sometimes they would tell me how to wear my hair.. some wanted me to use gel and I did not. But that was not a big deal.He read their faces as they came in. They were checking out the shoes of the adults who came in. Everything was not always peaceful but, he would do aside time, and some kinds of counseling. We did not lose a single student back to jail. We gave them confidence, and assurance and skills that they could use. We sometimes let them use educational games. Wow did I have a hard time keeping my scores up to challenge them. That was a challenge that they liked. I stayed up nights to learn those games.

What can you teach them? What about everything? This is a group of students seining who had never been seaside , or to a beach. Did they love me. You betcha. Did they learn. YES!!! Ok I used their love of crabs to get them there, but that is fair. ” Eat a Crab Lab?

See the  SERC Lab
This was a teacher workshop
Art was mosaics, writing a play about the bay, drawing the animals of the bay, creating a workbook for people who loved the bay, and writing a grant, the kids did this, to be able to take field trips to photograph the bay.

                               Seining at the SERC Center, Edgewater , Maryland.4894_115870586326_2833140_n

Another approach to students, is that of Dr. Jesse Bemley. He takes the best and the brightest and teaches computer science to them. In the middle o the ghetto…Very rigid. Specialized practice on presenting and being on point in sharing information. When I worked with him I watched in amazement as he transformed students. Students went on to work with the BDPA and other groups. Attitudes were left at the door. Besides, Dr. Bemley came from Mississippi and he could tell long stories about not having things, and a difficult journey to education. He would talk a student to death about opportunity … literally. I think the students were amazed at what he knew and his dedication to their achievement. If a child had an attitude it was locked at the door.

Dc Parents and interested mentors teach ESRI at the computer center on Naylor Road. We had help from people at the National Geographic to get ESRI and to start our project.

Dc Parents and interested mentors teach ESRI at the computer center on Naylor Road. We had help from people at the National Geographic to get ESRI and to start our project.

We went to conferences, did Saturday study and worked with Supercomputing for a long time. Dr. Bemley is still doing this work in his Naylor Road office. His son and daughter are computer scientists. ( It takes a village). He was able to bring a lot of students to a specialized event that SC had in our Washington DC area. Any attitudes that students had were parked at the door.

I had another friend,Manorama Talaiver, who taught in rural schools in Virginia and she worked with students who were minorities. She wrote grants and got funding and connected teachers and students to learning . What she did every Saturday? She provided opportunity. She wrote grants and did Robotics First with kids .. that was something else to watch. All of her students achieved. All of them. She built their confidence and involved them in team building.


My friend Mano works in areas of need in rural Virginia. There are lots of us who have the aptitude to teach students. Permission is something else.

My friend Mano worked in areas of need in rural Virginia. There are lots of us who have the aptitude to teach students. Permission is something else.

We need to make sure that all of our schools, not just those in affluent suburban communities, obtain computer technology., have access, and the teachers have professional development to fully use the tools . The tools are the first step.


Larry Irving also said

“Additionally, we need to make sure that all of our schools, not just those in affluent suburban communities, obtain computer technology.” this is extracted from a speech he made a decade ago.. and so we must add computer coding to the list.

Larry Irving 1998 Speech

Larry Irving 2015 Speech( It is awesome on it’s own)

Use technology to disrupt poverty!


NCLB? How Many Teachers Were Left Behind ? Will Things Change ?

Winning educational arguments is painful because it takes so very long. Many of us with the skills that are needed for the 21st Century classrooms have either left the classroom or been pushed out in the name of NCLB.

I remember the day that my principal had the custodian to throw away my AAAS hands on materials. Then I was transferred ( too innovative, too many hands on and project based learning. I am not the only one ). We wrote to each other. We changed careers.We left teaching and learning.

Finally! A Change

The Obama Administration does not support the rewrite of NCLB.  SIGH!!

Obama's stunning reversal on standardized testing: Why his latest comments could spell doom for

If you need the peculiar politics that brought us NCLB it is here. It is deep research for sure. In September 2015, Thirty -eight there are 38 states, plus the District of Columbia—the U.S. Department of Education just renewed Pennsylvania’s waiver from many of the mandates of the No Child Left Behind Act, for one year.

In 2000, George W. Bush took the stage at the NAACP’s annual convention and laid out, for the first time ever, an education policy overhaul he called No Child Left Behind. “Strong civil rights enforcement will be the cornerstone of my administration,” the Texas governor and presidential candidate announced to thunderous applause. “I will confront another form of bias: the soft bigotry of low expectations.”

Fifteen years later, NCLB is recognized less for its civil rights origins than for the era of high-stakes testing it ushered into American classrooms. Teachers have complained about having to teach to flawed and limited tests, and schools whose test scores have failed to meet the program’s test-based benchmarks have lost funding and in many cases have been closed or privatized.

After years of frustration with the program, Congress was weighing two bills to revamp it. And while the general consensus is that NCLB needs to change, the proposed measures are as politically thorny as the program itself. Both advocates of strong federal efforts to ensure education equality and opponents of a federally imposed testing regime have taken swipes at the legislation, raising the likely prospect that the reforms to NCLB won’t satisfy its defenders or its critics.

The cheerleaders for NCLB have been long gone except Margaret Spellings. I can’t even remember the name of the Black guy who was Bush’s champion of NCLB. Do you remember him?

We had this interim stage.

Until recently, we were all holding our breath. what would they do to NCLB Next?

Update 7/17/15: The Senate passed the Every Child Achieves Act on Thursday afternoon by a vote of 81 to 17. The House and Senate bills will now go to a conference committee, where a bipartisan team of legislators from both chambers will merge the bills into a final version for Congress to vote on and send to President Obama for a signature or veto.

Obama’s stunning reversal on standardized testing: Why his latest comments could spell doom for “reformers

“If you believe that the federal government ought to take a stronger hand in [school curricula] or testing, you’re going to be disappointed,” says Peter Cookson, a program director at the American Institutes for Research and author of Class Rules: Exposing Inequality in America’s High Schools. “On the other hand, if you’re the kind of person who think the federal government has too much authority over local and regional state education, this is not a game changer.”


 Some are hopeful: Lew Frederick says

“It has taken a while and it will take some time to see how well the rhetoric matches the action in the classrooms, but perhaps the ship of education, learning, has made a slight turn in the right direction. I do recognize a few of those phrases:”

Testing… Testing … Testing.. Do I Have Your Attention? I Thought So!!

child Head
What is Testing?
Bonnie Bracey-Sutton 
gerund or present participle: testing
  1. take measures to check the quality, performance, or reliability of (something), especially before putting it into widespread use or practice.
    “this range has not been tested on animals”
    synonyms: try out, put to the test, put through its paces, experiment with, pilot; More

    • reveal the strengths or capabilities of (someone or something) by putting them under strain.
      “such behavior would severely test any marriage”
      synonyms: put a strain on, strain, tax, try; More

    • give (someone) a short written or oral examination of their proficiency or knowledge.
      “all children are tested at eleven”
      This is just ONE definition of testing. What we are talking about today are the “tests” that are a measurement of success in schools as dictated by policy makers.
      Today the newspapers will be full of articles talking about testing, No Child Left Behind, PARRC, and Common Core. And others will explore assessments. Most people think about testing from their own experiences either giving or taking the tests.
      I used to love taking the tests. It was the one time when it was ok to be smart, to shine,to let people know what I knew. I went to Catholic Schools and we took a test in the fall and at the end of the year.You measured progress against your fall scores. And you were allowed to skip a grade if you were ready for the subject matter by the score on the test.

    Sadly , testing has become the engine of schools. That is, the tests run the schools and have for some time.

    All of a sudden, the engine may get a new signal. Parents and students have been protesting and making it known that the amount of testing has gone overboard.

    protesting testing
    Study: Students Take Too Many Redundant Tests
    An in-depth review of testing in the nation’s largest urban school districts concludes assessments are redundant, misaligned with standards, and often don’t address mastery of specific content.

    Review of 66 Urban Districts Gauges Scope of Practice  ( ED Week)

    Students across the nation are taking tests that are redundant, misaligned with college- and career-ready standards, and often don’t address students’ mastery of specific content, according to a long-awaited report that provides the first in-depth look at testing in the nation’s largest urban school districts.

    The comprehensive report by the Washington-based Council of the Great City Schools examines testing in 66 of the council’s 68 member school districts, looking at the types of tests administered, their frequency, and how they are used.

    But hey, I am just getting started. This is another interesting view of testing..

    Robert Pondiscio

    Obama’s Empty Testing Talk

    Teachers, read and enjoy!!

    The vast majority of tests that our children take are driven by states and school districts, as well individual schools and teachers, not by Washington. The best the president can do is use the bully pulpit to encourage less testing and even then there’s reason to be skeptical.

    The amount of time kids spend on testing is not the issue. It’s what the tests are used for that matters. Like my speech example, when you use standardized tests to make high-stakes judgments about schools and teachers, they are no longer a mere diagnostic. The testing tail wags the schooling dog. “

    In minority communities we have learned that the tests are one way out.

    The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation shows us that even with the testing showing up who can bridge the gap, there is an uneven playing field.  Equal Talents, Unequal Opportunities and we know that there is an Achievement Trap.


    “Today in America, there are millions of students who are overcoming challenging socioeconomic circumstances to excel academically. They defy the stereotype that poverty precludes high academic performance and that lowerincome and low academic achievement are inextricably linked. They demonstrate that economically disadvantaged children can learn at the highest levels and provide hope to other lower-income students seeking to follow the same path. Sadly, from the time they enter grade school through their postsecondary education, these students lose more educational ground and excel less frequently than their higher-income peers. Despite this tremendous loss in achievement, these remarkable young people are hidden from public view and absent from public policy debates.

    Instead of being recognized for their excellence and encouraged to strengthen their achievement, highachieving lower-income students enter what we call the “achievement trap” — educators, policymakers, and the public assume they can fend for themselves when the facts show otherwise. Very little is known about high-achieving students from lower-income families — defined in this report as students who score in the top 25 percent on nationally normed standardized tests and whose family incomes (adjusted for family size) are below the national median. We set out to change that fact and to focus public attention on this extraordinary group of students who can help reset our sights from standards of proficiency to standards of excellence. This report chronicles the experiences of highachieving lower-income students during elementary school, high school, college, and graduate school. In some respects, our findings are quite hopeful. There are millions of high-achieving lower-income students in urban, suburban, and rural communities all across America; they reflect the racial, ethnic, and gender composition of our nation’s schools; they drop out of high school at remarkably low rates; and more than 90 percent of them enter college. But there is also cause for alarm.

    Back Camera

    There are far fewer lower-income students achieving at the highest levels than there should be, they disproportionately fall out of the high-achieving group during elementary and high school, they rarely rise into the ranks of high achievers during those periods, and, perhaps most disturbingly, far too few ever graduate from college or go on to graduate school. Unless something is done, many more of America’s brightest lower-income students will meet this same educational fate, robbing them of opportunity and our nation of a valuable resource. This report discusses new and original research on this extraordinary population of students. Our findings come from three federal databases that during the past 20 years have tracked students in elementary and high school, college, and graduate school. The following principal findings about high-achieving lower-income students are important for policymakers, educators, business leaders, the media, and civic leaders to understand and explore as schools, communities, states, and the nation consider ways to ensure that all children succeed:”


    With the problems of unequal learning landscapes, and limited access, and lack of good teachers, in rural, remote, distance and poverty areas these students are not back to the future but back in the day, using old technology and missing the excellence of 21st Century initiatives that should, should make a difference.”

    “As we strive to close the achievement gaps between racial and economic groups, we will not succeed if our highestperforming students from lower-income families continue to slip through the cracks. Our failure to help them fulfill their demonstrated potential has significant implications for the social mobility of America’s lower-income families and the strength of our economy and society as a whole. The consequences are especially severe in a society in which the gap between rich and poor is growing and in an economy that increasingly rewards highly-skilled and highly-educated workers. By reversing the downward trajectory of their educational achievement, we will not only improve the lives of lower-income high-achievers, but also strengthen our nation by unleashing the potential of literally millions of young people who could be making great contributions to our communities and country

    More to confuse you?Look at this!! Large and Small Graphic

    Dipti Desai is a professor of the arts and art education at New York University. She teaches both pre-service and in-service art teachers. As she watched what was happening in the world of education, she decided to create a graphic to illustrate the “Educational Industrial Complex.” Readers may know that when President Dwight D. Eisenhower was leaving office after his second term, he warned voters to be wary of the “Military Industrial Complex.” Who knew that in 2015 we would have to keep our eyes on the “educational industrial complex,” a combination of corporations, philanthropies, government agencies, and the organizations that promote privatization and high-stakes testing?


What is News? Learn from the Newseum!

by Bonnie Bracey-Sutton

The Newseum is a treasure chest of resources for teachers. I attended a teacher workshop that was interesting, exciting and which provided many resources to use in understanding the news.

News is the power in Washington DC.without any lessons, but it is imperative to have a handle on what is news.


The city of Washington , DC is all about news.

What is News?

Today, there is constant news that comes from television, radio, the Internet, and other sources. People have access to ways of resourcing news using technology , being able to gather resources in photos,radio, videos, and print. The news is constantly evolving and changing even in a day. We create news with our devices.

To help teachers teach, the Newseum offers many resources. These were shared in a workshop for teachers and many resources are also available on the new Newseum website. The Newseum says that there is more to every story.


We gathered and selected workshops to be involved in.

An added benefit was that we met teachers from many schools and we networked and shared ideas. But the main ideas we shared were focused on seeing the news , understanding it, and learning how to let students think about how news is gathered. It was fun to do a newsletter on the Civil War. Why? We had to report from the Northern point of view or the Southern point of view , and we had real life examples to look at and see .. just how the news can be slanted , or even wrong. It was fun to see how wrong some of the news was at that time.




We had a workshop to think , decide, talk about what makes the news and what is news today vs. news before all of the digital platforms.

                                                    What a Building!!



The building itself teaches. As you wander around there is so much to see and learn. This video gives you some idea of how immersive and interesting the site itself is.There is a glass elevator that ascends to the television studio and showroom. There is a cafeteria and a gift shop and the usual tourist amenities and you can pre-arrange parking.


The Newseum

We as teachers were involved in various types of lessons to teach us how to use the news, and to teach how to get a perspective on the news.

My choices initially did not use much technology in the lessons, though they were very  interactive. There are digital lessons from the museum and one of the workshops was to learn how to use the new digital platform which is here.


                 This is the Newseum Digital Classroom 


Here you can log in and have access to the digital resources, and get information the process is easy.There are 15 galleries, 15 theaters and lots of gallery space. Then there are the television tours and workshops. So much to see.

Students in the Washington DC Metropolitan area and that includes the whole metropolitan area get to visit the Newseum free of charge. Register for a free visit. For students coming to Washington for a class trip, the Newseum makes it easy to organize a visit. It is worth the trip!!

The New World.. the Old World met.. It was not all about Columbus!! How About those Spices

We are getting ready to “celebrate ?” Columbus Day.


Most people have not been lucky enough to get a good perspective on what happened when the two worlds met. I was a teacher learner at the Smithsonian when the Quincentennial happened and in planning, they dug deeply into history that few of us were taught. Teachers in the Metropolitan DC area were involved in the workshops and the planning. We worked with Julie Margolis.


The main book we used to form ideas was “The Columbian Exchange:Biological and Cultural Consequences of 1492. We had lots of other books, and activities and even a garden that was on the museum grounds and on the grounds of a school.( Some of the research papers we studied were included in the book that became the exhibit handbook..

What is Black History

This student is searching for home, which for her is South Africa

Dr. Herman J. Viola , a curator emeritus at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History also gave us several workshops. He , a specialist on the history of the American West,  served as director of the Museum’s National Anthropological Archives in addition to organizing two major exhibitions for the Smithsonian. “Magnificent Voyagers” told the story of the United State Exploring Expedition of 1838-42, and “Seeds of Change” exhibit which we are referencing here, he examined the exchange of plants, animals, and diseases between the Old and the New Worlds as a result of the Christopher Columbus voyages of discovery.

Columbus, we are told, was no heroic “discoverer” of a New World; as some now see it, he was a villain who pillaged and polluted another old one. At the very least, some say this was not a “discovery.” The approved word for the year of 1992 was “encounter.” There is a whole other discussion on the origins of the maps and the history of map making.

Also, strike the term “celebration.” Many Native Americans viewed the Columbus Quincentenary as more properly an occasion to mourn the destruction of their civilizations. The golden mean, that was taught by the Smithsonian Institution, was the neutral idea of “commemoration.”

The Smithsonian’s “Seeds of Change” exhibition was a marker to think differently about the two world coming together in – the largest ever mounted display by the National Museum of Natural History – it did not focus on Columbus himself, although it refers to his voyages and contained quotations from his journals.

Here is a different take on what Columbus was looking for. Can you say spices?

Do you know that this is a different way of thinking about why Columbus went to the “Indies”

And here is a map0d0ae1e3-f061-4e7e-a9ee-348d1bdd6992

The theme of the “Seeds of Change” at the Smithsonian was the biological and cultural exchanges that transformed two old worlds into one new one – a popularization of ideas introduced two decades ago by historian Alfred W. Crosby Jr. in his book.

There is a darker view of Columbus , presented here.. Everyone does not agree about the cultural exchange and encounter.

                                                Elements of Change

Often discussed were the horse, tomato, potato, corn and disease. ( tobacco was not mentioned, Slavery was inserted).

The five ``seeds`` that Columbus sowed on both sides of the Atlantic with his voyages to the new world that were presented were  sugar, corn, the potato, disease and the horse, Margolis told us.

“The transfer of these items changed the world,“ Corn, for example, was unknown to Columbus and the rest of the world.


In 1493, when corn was first exported to Europe, people there fed it to livestock, thinking it unfit for human consumption. But by 1700, corn became a staple, especially in Africa, where it contributed to a population growth that in turn fed the slave trade to America. Think sugar cane, rum, and the triangle of slavery.



The horse, too was depicted, as a seed of change when the Spanish used it to conquer the Americas. Horses roamed America in prehistoric times, but were killed off during the Ice Age; Columbus reintroduced them to the New World, to which they were well adapted.Horses, for example, are depicted as having increased Indian wealth and leisure time, while inspiring an array of crafts and clothing. But their use by Indian societies also is said by some to have promoted contact, competition and warfare among tribes.


.The Tomato

Margolis pointed out to us that Italian cuisine with its tomato sauces could not have come into being without the American tomato brought back to Europe by Columbus. A 6- by 8-foot sculpture was in the exhibit, “Spaghetti Meets Tomato,“ by artist Roark Gourley of Laguna Beach, Calif., shows a whimsical, climbing tomato plant towering over a red-and-white checked tablecloth and an array of common Italian-American dishes.“`Spaghetti Meets Tomato


“I had tried different things, none of which I liked,” Gourley said. “I had a food fight between Columbus and a kid that didn’t work out. I kept tinkering with it until the idea of spaghetti and tomato, which is so simple, hit me.”The finished piece looked to be constructed entirely of food, but is deceptively intricate in its design. The spaghetti noodles are made of a resin-glossed clothes line, the cheese of sliced-up rubberbands and rice made of real spaghetti noodles

When we visited we had a list of the foods from the New World and a list of Old World Food.

It was fun to make a menu using only foods from one list.

For other readings that cast a different light on the importance of the Columbian Voyages read this book ” Precious Cargo” The Author says

“The discovery of the Americas was a watershed event for food that forever changed history and triggered unforeseen advances in agriculture, enterprise, and commerce that allowed the development of the modern world. Admittedly, this progress came with horrendous problems, like slavery and the destruction of indigenous societies and species, but I don’t believe it serves any useful purpose to make moral judgments about historical events. The purpose of Precious Cargo, is simply to tell the many stories of how and why western hemisphere foods and crops conquered the rest of the world and saved it from not only culinary boredom, but mass starvation as well”

The Tomato History has origins traced back to the early Aztecs around 700 A.D; therefore it is believed that the tomato is native to the Americas. It was not until around the 16th century that Europeans were introduced to this fruit when the early explorers set sail to discover new lands. Throughout Southern Europe, the tomato was quickly accepted into the kitchen, yet as it moved north, more resistance was apparent. The British, for example, admired the tomato for its beauty, but believe that it was poisonous, as its appearance was similar to that of the wolf peach.

Sugar cane is viewed more harshly still. As visitors enter the darkened section devoted to this fifth “seed,” they suddenly find themselves in the simulated hold of a slave ship. Originally brought from Europe, sugar cane grew even better in the Caribbean, where its production for European use stimulated the slave trade and caused the ravaging of the native terrain, the exhibition argues.

From virgin rain forests to sugar cane plantations, a diorama re-creating a slave dwelling and narration of an account of slave life by actress Whoopi Goldberg.


New World Foods: corn, potato, tomato, bell pepper, chili pepper, vanilla, tobacco, beans, pumpkin, cassava root, avocado, peanut, pecan , cashew, pineapple, blueberry, sunflower, petunia, black-eyed susan, dahlia, marigold, quinine, wild rice, cacao (chocolate), gourds, and squash.

Here is an indepth game to play to learn a lot more from the NMAI.

When Christopher Columbus arrived on the Bahamian Island of Guanahani (San Salvador) in 1492, he encountered the Taíno people, whom he described in letters as “naked as the day they were born.” The Taíno had complex hierarchical religious, political, and social systems. Skilled farmers and navigators, they wrote music and poetry and created powerfully expressive objects. At the time of Columbus’s exploration, the Taíno were the most numerous indigenous people of the Caribbean and inhabited what are now Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. By 1550, the Taíno were close to extinction, many having succumbed to diseases brought by the Spaniards. Taíno influences survived, however, and today appear in the beliefs, religions, language, and music of Caribbean cultures.

Had horses really been extinct in the Americas until Christopher Columbus shipped them there on his second voyage? they wanted to know.

And was it true that diseases imported by the explorers and conquistadors had decimated as much as 90 percent of the native population?

And why was tobacco not included I assume that it was not politically correct to tell about it.

TOBACCO: The Early History of a New World Crop
Hail thou inspiring plant! Thou balm of life,
Well might thy worth engage two nations’ strife;
Exhaustless fountain of Britannia’s wealth;
Thou friend of wisdom and thou source of health.
-from an early tobacco label

Tobacco, that outlandish weed
It spends the brain, and spoiles the seede
It dulls the spirite, it dims the sight
It robs a woman of her right.

-Dr. William Vaughn, 1617
As these two verses show, tobacco use has long been a controversial subject, considered by turns a vice, a panacea, an economic salvation and a foolish and dangerous habit. However, it was perceived, by the end of the seventeenth century tobacco had become the economic staple of Virginia, easily making her the wealthiest of the 13 colonies by the time of the American Revolution.

The Old World encountered tobacco at the dawn of the European Age of Exploration. On the morning of October 12, 1492, Christopher Columbus set foot on a small island in the Bahamas. Believing himself to be off the coast of Asia, the Admiral dressed in his best to meet the local inhabitants. The Arawaks offered him some dried leaves as a token of friendship. Those leaves were tobacco. A few days later, a party from Columbus’ ship docked off the coast of Cuba and witnessed local peoples there smoking tobacco through Y-shaped tubes which they inserted in their noses, inhaling smoke until they lost consciousness.


Disease– Controversial subject ….

The exhibition’s section on disease included fascinating pre-Columbian sculptures from Peru’s Moche culture, which for some reason (we never learn why) excelled in the depiction of medical deformities. There was a case devoted to the argument that, in an exception from the more common transfer of infections from East to West, syphilis may have been brought back to Europe by Columbus’ crew. No space, however, is allotted to countervailing theories, including the notion that Europeans might at one time have misdiagnosed syphilis as leprosy. Discussions continue about the effects of disease.


European exploration of tropical areas was aided by the New World discovery of quinine, the first effective treatment for malaria. Europeans suffered from this disease, but some indigenous populations had developed at least partial resistance to it. In Africa, resistance to malaria has been associated with other genetic changes among sub-Saharan Africans and their descendants that can cause sickle cell anemia.[1]:164

Before regular communication had been established between the two hemispheres, the varieties of domesticated animals and infectious diseases that jumped to humans, such assmallpox, were strikingly more numerous in the Old World than in the New. Many had migrated west across Eurasia with animals or people, or were brought by traders from Asia, so diseases of two continents were suffered by all occupants. While Europeans and Asians were affected by the Eurasian diseases, their endemic status in those continents over centuries resulted in many people gaining acquired immunity.

By contrast, “Old World” diseases had a devastating effect when introduced to Native American populations via European carriers, as the people in the Americas had no naturalimmunity to the new diseases. Measles caused many deaths. The smallpox epidemics are believed to have caused the largest death tolls among Native Americans, surpassing any wars[13] and far exceeding the comparative loss of life in Europe due to the Black Death.[1]:164 It is estimated that upwards of 80–95 percent of the Native American population died in these epidemics within the first 100–150 years following 1492. Many regions in the Americas lost 100%.[1]:165

Similarly, yellow fever is thought to have been brought to the Americas from Africa via the Atlantic slave trade. Because it was endemic in Africa, many people there had acquired immunity. Europeans suffered higher rates of death than did African-descended persons when exposed to yellow fever in Africa and the Americas, where numerous epidemics swept the colonies beginning in the 17th century and continuing into the late 19th century.

Debate on the origins of syphilis has been raging for centuries. New genetic evidence supports the theory that Christopher Columbus brought syphilis to Europe from the New World. According to the study, genetic analysis of the syphilis family tree reveals that its closest relative was a South American disease that causes yaws, an infection caused by a sub-species of the same bacterium. [14]

But wait.. there is more.. There was gold, and silver and huge Emeralds… there were ships that took that treasure to Spain. I certainly remember the Emeralds. Probably not as important  as the cocoa bean which made chocolate a choice commodity.

How Do We Improve the State of Teacher Diversity and Assist with Professional Development?

Man without identity programing in technology enviroment with cy

I am from a generation that was taught with 20 year old books and schools in a sad state of being. We could read, and write and do math but the subjects were limited and access to the best of teachers was not usual. Of course there was no technology, and sadly there was no science. Often science gets shoved to the back of the curriculum map for minority students and teachers.


National Geographic Education , NASA , NOAA and NSF projects have shaped my knowledge. There is a gold mine of resources at


Most minority teachers do not have access to exemplary professional development even when it is for free because they don’t know about it or they cannot access and learn using technology. There is always the George Lucas Educational Foundation site, Edutopia.  It’s free. There are online assists, but a lot of the webinars are focused beyond beginners. Autodesk University has a series of webinars, as does ISTE, for teachers to learn how to use the technology. Autodesk Design Academy (

ISTE has a series of PLN’s which help teachers to explore, be involved, learn to innovate, and have mentors for learning.

The White House has initiatives too,



It is true that before my time Einstein visited Lincoln University to teach physic but few people know of that mentoring. I know it because my uncle taught at the University in Pennsylvania that he visited , there is a photo on line of Einstein in the classrooms there.

     Internet of Things? Or just plain access and contact?

Today we are talking about technology. Who has it? You really don’t think everyone even in the US has access ? Broadband? Tools and well trained teachers? If you think that you must be dreaming and you may not know how to measure broadband speed.

Professional development is an interesting puzzle. There is a mindset for involving the use of technology. It is called TPACK. You use it for ideational scaffolding and inclusion.

Here’s the problem. Many teachers in rural , distant, urban, and difficult schools do not have access to technology in meaningful ways and do not have a mentor or technical help that is available to them . So there is fear. There is not a lot of time within the schedule and even though we know that digital pedagogy is important.

Some people cling to the tests as the anchor for finding out what our students know. Sadly in the places where the technology is limited there is a problem that few speak about and that is that the technology that is available is needed to give the tests, so teachers have to release the technology for testing. Certainly most of them will not complain.

Punya Mishra​ has a solution for the professional development. He got funding to link a University to teachers working in schools of need and they work through the summer to be involved, learn, create, innovate and share their learning as they earn a Master’s degree. Publications and lessons are shared. It is one of several ideas to change the skills of teachers working in places of need.

BPDA and LISTA too champion students and teachers. These organization help. They have chapters and mentors who make a difference. I mentioned NSF. There are projects that help to integrate new practices and ideas called CyberLearning.

They ask these questions.

  • How can cyberlearning help empower the next generation of diverse learners?
  • How can we create innovative technologies that draw upon sound theories of learning through productive collaborations among researchers, designers, learners, and formal and informal educators?
  • How can we foster an inclusive design community that balances real world problems and settings with promising cyberlearning approaches?
  • How can we integrate contributions from multiple research projects for broader impact (e.g., combining our theories or combining our tools into a common infrastructure)?
  • Approximately 150 leading researchers along with students, educators, designers, industry experts, and other stakeholders will work together for two days at Cyberlearning 2016 to accelerate the community’s collective work and impact. Here is the call for participation.


The State of Teacher Diversity in American Education
Albert Shanker Institute
Teacher Diversity in the U.S. is an area of concern. The teacher work force has gotten less ethnically and racially diverse and more female, a development which has had an adverse effect on students, particularly on males of color. It is an impediment to the broader goals of equity and social harmony. ASI is working to better understand teacher labor market trends and identify promising interventions aimed at increased teacher diversity in K-12 education.

This report shows that nationally, progress toward greater diversity is being made, but it is quite modest compared to the need for more minority teachers. In the nine cities studied—Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.—the picture is much more bleak, and there are only a few pockets of progress, surrounded by serious setbacks.
You can download the report at the link above.

There is a report that many are looking at the OECD report? what say you about that?

Researchers remind us of this work

Ed Tech researchers would remind them about the field of Media effect research and the classic articles from Kozma and Clark.

Ahmed Mohamed is one student!!Why Not Support for Science and Math for All Minority Students?


The story about the young student in Texas who made a clock lets us know that there is also a deficient in the knowledge of science within the teaching force.

What We Know About the Delivery of Science and Math for Minority Students

Bonnie Bracey-Sutton – September 19, 2015

We are not doing enough!!! Many of the initiatives that are coming from Industry are too short, too limited and do not bridge the gap. Teachers themselves may not have sufficient subject knowledge or appropriate skills because of poor quality, or lack of, teacher training.Preparing teachers with the right skills:  Teachers should be equipped with knowledge and teaching skills that can provide relevant guidance to promote effective practice and support improvement.There may be more community support for READING science than actually doing science.

Technology is an ever changing learning landscape and if one has only a little of the knowledge needed to be secure in the delivery of information, there is a problem.


First,  read the report from Pew on the state of science and math for minorities.
. The report was not a surprise to seasoned educators , legislators, and researchers who work with the minority groups. We have similar reports for each group.

Not much interest has been shown in the Pew Report that tells us
here is a significant gap in knowledge about scientific concepts along racial and ethnic lines in the U.S., according to a new Pew Research Center report released last week.

The Report states that ”When asked a series of 12 science-related questions, whites, on average, fared better than blacks or Hispanics. While the average number of questions whites answer correctly is 8.4, for Hispanics that number is lower – 7.1 – and drops to 5.9 for blacks. (There were not enough Asian respondents in the sample to be broken out into a separate analysis.)”

“Our latest findings are consistent with previous Pew Research surveys and with data from the General Social Survey (GSS) conducted by the National Opinion Research Center. These differences tend to span multiple scientific disciplines, from life and earth sciences to physics and energy-related questions.”


In the two separate weeks before and during the report we have learned much about the needs of Hispanic learners.

Those of us in education know that there is a terrible gap in learning math and science and seemingly the technology has advanced the gap. While many are seeking the Internet of Things. IoT, there are rural, distant, urban and tribal students who cannot advance to the level necessary to do basic use because of factors that impede their learning. Access is a problem as noted by the FCC. Tool access and ownership are a problem, as well as the support needed to successfully use the tool or tools. Well trained teachers? We know that the best of teachers are not necessarily teaching in the areas of difficulty.Inequitable distribution of well-trained teachers is a problem and even in the groups doing broadening engagement there are few minorities involved as mentors.

 The right to education that stimulates active learning and inspires imaginations can only be a reality when the transformative power of education is fully realized, however too many children and young people – especially the disadvantaged – are leaving school without learning anything of value . 

Many of them just leave school. The dropout problem is a reality in education .

There is consistent evidence that teachers are the most important school-based factor in determining learning outcomes, second only to what children bring to school. There remains a marked deficit in both teacher numbers and teaching quality, which has an extreme impact on learning outcomes for children.

The Pew Report shares some of the problems which are not unknown in the learning communities of these children of America.


Most American Indian children attend public schools where disparities occur both at the k-12th educational level, and at post-secondary levels. During the 2010-11 school year, there were 378,000 AI/AN (alone) students in the U.S. public school system, comprising 0.7% of the total public school population (Aud, Hussar, Johnson, et al., 2012). In comparison, during this same time period, there were 49,152 students in Bureau of Indian Education Schools (Bureau of Indian Education, 2011). The high school dropout rate for Native American students is alarming and in previous years has reflected a rate as high as 50% (Herring, 1992). More recent research indicates that American Indian enrollment, retention, and graduation rates are lower than any other ethnic group (Harrington & Harrington, 2012). While estimates show some improvement for American Indians/Alaskan Natives having earned a high school diploma or equivalent, the figures still speak to their trailing behind their Euro-American counterparts by 12% (NIA, 2011). An awareness of the constant tension for American Indians children’s experience in public schools must be acknowledged in order to address it. There is more. You can find it here.


Lots of group are doing broadening engagement to try to reach the students. Some groups even work within the community.  But schools are another story. There are school boards, administrators, supervisors, and experts and technology teachers.. Regular teachers are at the bottom of of the pyramid. In the event at Microsoft, the presenter from DC suggested that teachers did not have TIME to be technology literate.

We know that time, exposure, knowhow and practice are important to the excellent use of technology. We know that mobile technology makes a difference but if you do your work on a phone there are restrictions. We know that many students can’t do Make Fairs because of the cost. I don’t care if the students do STEAM, Maker Faire or Hands on Science. There are many ways to make a difference in student lives. The initiatives of the White House have been wonderful. The problem is in getting the schools to adopt them and make them an important part of minority student learning.