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.
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?
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.
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.
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!