This program overalll seems to have merit and it is quoted as saying that"there are signs that the culture he is creating is having an impact. Attendance and, more important, engagement in school are on the rise." The objections that I have are that it only targets young black males--how about the other male students? We spend so much time teaching that people are all equal and to not judge a person by their skin color- -the program seems to be somewhat reverse discrimination. I really did not like when he asked the boys, "Who does better, white girls or African American girls?" This really seems to be setting up feelings for animosity. I like the idea of what we are now doing at Jordan Road with the mentor groups in 7th and 8th grades. A good study would be to be to see if these groups are more beneficial being coed or would separate boy/girl groups be more effective. Diane ennis
Yes, Diane, the middle school's mentoring program does seem to address many of our students' need for a positive connection with an adult at school.
Unfortunately, I don't know how realistic it is for us to have a color-blind society. It seems that as much as that is an Ideal for us to strive for, reality paints a different picture. If we ignore race differences, then real issues may not get addressed at all. If we acknowledge racial differences, are we exacerbating them?
The same is true with gender differences. At what point in addressing them are we being sexist? The main difference that I can see between racial and gender differences is that while racial differences are societal in nature, gender differences have roots in biological differences. So I am more comfortable discussing students in terms of gender than in terms of race. That may be why I found certain aspects of this chapter troubling.
I have no objections, but I'm sure many parents would. "Why do just the African American males get the pep talk?"
They might also object to the technique, since it is an "in your face" confrontation. But why not show them the possibilities of the future and let them think about what they want their life to be like? Who wouldn't benefit from being taken on tours of colleges to see what else is out there? I think it's a tremendous reality check. There aint no hiding from reality so let's help them make good choices by showing them what the wrong choices offer. I didn't feel uncomfortable about any of it, although I only highlighted one line, "McDonald is standing against a tsunami of popular culture that glamorizes the thug life for black male adolescents." What an accurate description of our youth's influences.