Article: The Families That Can’t Afford Summer

[I recently took on the task of finding something for the boy who brings books on the bus something to do for the summer. I have a reasonable grasp of the options for 8th graders here but wasn’t sure about the 3rd grader-sized summer opportunities. So I started sleuthing. The first several stops on the…

Article: Money, Race and Success: How Your School District Compares

[This article got a lot of attention when it was published (at least among the folks I’m friends with on facebook and in real life). The subtitle says it best, “Sixth graders in the richest school districts are four grade levels ahead of children in the poorest districts.” The charts are beautiful, as my friend…

Article: Why America’s Schools Have A Money Problem

[Check out where you live. Where I grew up is an island of grey in a sea of orange. Where I teach is a little too small on the map to really discern the details. But the phenomenon certainly applies, with school districts in close proximity that have vastly different per pupil expenditure. This article…

Article: Summer Jobs for All City High School Students

[I couldn’t agree more. One of my priorities is matching students with summer opportunities, which in 8th grade often doesn’t mean paid work (much to my students frustration). My summer experiences in high school (mostly babysitting, but also other opportunities) gave me confidence, experience, responsibility, independence, and, of course, money. These positions mostly appeared through…

Article: Black America and the Class Divide

[Du Bois and his “Talented Tenth” circulate in my head with surprising frequency. When I consider my students and their futures, the idea of a class of leaders among African Americans rings in my ears. One of the goals at my school is to send select students beyond the top public schools to the region’s top parochial and independent…

Article: A Prescription for More Black Doctors

[Xavier University is a tiny HBCU in New Orleans that hits way above its weight in sending students to med school. The secret to their success is, in part, in creating a cooperative culture, instead of the usual competitive one that dominates pre-med courses at most universities. How does one build a cooperative culture in a…

Article: Education Gap Between Rich and Poor Is Growing Wider

[Though this is hardly news, the statistics are sobering. I’m not sure how to fix these issues. Clearly, teaching is insufficient — we need a living wage, improved teacher pipelines, incentives for teaching in poor districts, and a clearer national emphasis on reducing this gap. “Poorer, less educated parents simply can’t keep up with the…

Article: What Do Poor Kids Need? Try Asking Them

[“Houston, we have a solution,” the alternate title for this piece, sums it up accurately. Houston, TX, not the first city I think of when I’m cycling through my rollodex of progressive cities is home to an organization called Neighborhood Centers. It not only asks poor kids, and their families, what they need, it empowers…