Sunday, April 13, 2008

Jesse Jackson, Marc Lamont Hill, Boyce Watkins Give Solutions to Black Students

Dr. Boyce Watkins and Marc Lamont Hill appeared on the Rev. Jesse Jackson show to discuss educational policy. Rev. Jackson asked Dr. Watkins and Dr. Hill to make recommendations on the educational achievement gap and how to support the problems experienced by black males. Marc Lamont Hill is a Temple University Professor and Boyce Watkins teaches at Syracuse University. Both men are regulars on CNN, FOX and BET.

Jesse Jackson runs the Rainbow Push Coalition, which is going to make the dropout problem one of its key initiatives this year. Jackson is putting together a panel consisting of Marc Lamont Hill, Boyce Watkins and other experts specifically to address this issue.

During the discussion, which took place on The Jesse Jackson Show, Jackson asked the panelists if race still matters in America. Both men agreed.

“There is a litany of statistics showing that black students don’t get the benefit of the doubt in our school systems,” says Dr. Hill. “Race matters in America and it matters in our schools.”

Dr. Watkins, who wrote the book “Everything you ever wanted to know about college” agreed with Rev. Jackson and Dr. Hill. He also added that money is critical to solving the problem.

“America is more capitalist than it is racist, sexist or democratic,” says Dr. Watkins. “If we do not put resources into the schools, the educational problems will continue to persist.”

Dr. Hill and Dr. Watkins are going to meet with Jesse Jackson this summer at the Rainbow Push Coalition meetings to further discuss this issue. Al Sharpton and other black leaders are expected there as well.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Was there a Book Under the Tree? Knowledge is Power

If you've shared a book with a child, you know the joy and excitement this small but meaningful act can bring. Did you keep that in mind when selecting your Holiday gifts? If not, start the new year out right, buy a book, visit a library, or share one from your bookshelves with a child. Children who are read to at home have a higher success rate in school, Children who read frequently develop stronger reading skills, Reading together helps grow the bond between family members.

According to the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, the Black community is still lagging behing when it comes to reading: White, non-Hispanic students had higher scores in 2005 than their Black, non-Hispanic and Hispanic peers at grades 4, 8, and 12. There were no changes in these gaps from 1992 to 2005 at grades 4, 8, and 12. This has got to change.

Our ancestors built pyramids and invented almost everything. Perhaps it was easier to excel then because positive role models were everywhere and excellence was not only a necessity, it was expected. We can duplicate that environment today. Read, read, read! The local black press has loads of information on positive contributions in the community. Sit down and read the papers with your child. In addition, there are now thousands of exciting multicultural children's books and history books to choose from. Although Black brick and mortar book stores are becoming extinct, bookstores online and offline are still the source for your broadest selections. There is bound to be some that your child would love and will also interest and inform you. Read, read, read!