By Sharon Stinson Gray, M.P.A
Saturday School. Suspension. Referrals. Expulsion.
What do these have in common? They coexist in our public school systems. They are ultimately defined and denoted as consequences, absent of counter incentives, for our youth and in particular our young urban African American youth, meted out by public school administrations across the United States of America.
This is an epidemic in one of the most basic forms. Locally. Socially. Worldwide.
Knowledge is power. Our youth is our future— these truths are without a doubt the essence and underlying foundation of our society as it relates to the future— our future, people of color. Our examination, from an educator’s point of view, proves there is a necessity, more so an urgency for intervention— from our communities, guardians, parents, churches, social workers, social groups, sororities, fraternities and the general public.
Education should exemplify our youths’ accomplishments, their rich achievements. It should embrace their unique and alluring creativity versus using a figurative tourniquet as a replacement, which ultimately has had horrific, often deadly consequences. This is not to say that public schools and administration are purposely or maliciously destroying our children and the education system; this is, rather, a careful examination of policy and methods used for behavior modification. This article is for the sole purpose of positive elucidation from our community so that solutions can be realized.
Positive reinforcement, as theorists confirm, is a powerful tool for our youth. On the flip side, studious students or students whom are mainstreamed for various special education needs should not be subjected to class disruptions and other deviant and unacceptable behavior. This, by all means, should constitute a consequence. The education process shall not be interrupted. Penalties are a necessity when extreme cases arises, but, as educators have examined and statistics continually prove, these penalties are less likely to reoccur when they are combated and supplemented with incentives and positive reinforcement. There are solutions. We are the solution.
All kids have a right to learn. Let us embrace this right and provide the most viable resources available for— our kids, our youth, our future. There are solutions. There are interventions. We stand as a community, iron-gripped and build vigorously from the ground up to make our world a better place for our future.
Below is a list of some intervention suggestions and other resources. It starts with education. It starts with caring.
* After school tutoring
* Sylvan Learning Centers
* Homework Hotline Educational Services, LLC
* School Notes
* Family Involvement with School Education
Our youth, our seeds shall be watered in order for them to flourish and blossom, most beautifully and uniquely. We shall groom, enhance and promote their greatness as we, the community, the adults, the educators, the learners, the parents, the churches, the providers, will continue energetically and enthusiastically to push forward relentlessly in the pursuit of greatness.