Tag Archives: Private Education
With a new school year now upon us and kids finally settling down with their noses to the grindstone and lost tidily away with their books and assignments (yeah right) I wanted to make what I believe is a key message to parents. My daughter and I were recently discussing the catch phrases to name our generations. My mother is a “Baby Boomer”, I’m “Generation Y”, Jaiah is “Generation Z”. Each generation is described as having our own social distinctions and specific generalizations related to the era of our birth. For “Generation Y” , it’s those of us born from 1977-1994.
It occurred to me that our children, those descended from parents belonging to “Generation Y” have an advantage that we ought not take for granted. Our kids are born to probably the most literate, educated, liberated, exposed, technologically advanced, well-travelled, racially and ethnically diverse group of Black People alive at this time.
From a social and educational stand-point, this is a rather powerful tool in ways which can help us relate to our offspring. We really do have that “been there, done that” experience and at least in terms of all things mentioned above, we share many common traits in terms of generational social relativity. (That’s a mouthful of big words) AND we have Black Twitter which I believe is an undervalued resource in terms of networking, gathering input and direction for many topics of discussion, ideological influence and social commentary.
Now, having said that I believe that parents ought to feel empowered about the common bonds we share instead of being insecure about the challenges our kids face that we’re not so familiar with. Example, when I was a high school student, it was not commonplace for teenaged girls to be at school wearing shorts and skirts shorter than their vaginas : – | but this can also be used as a teachable moment by having a conversation about what is and what isn’t appropriate attire. You guys get my drift…
What I’m saying is that we all have the potential to be great examples and teachers to our children. If you feel that you have educational shortcomings, be the inspiration you want to spark in your learner. If you haven’t finished high school, I urge you to get out there and earn your GED to start. Take that college or university course you were always interested in. Aspire for higher learning because when we do, chances are they will too. Let’s expose them to the realities of our employment and show them what it takes to survive in the workforce. If you are unemployed, get out there and volunteer for a community initiative. If you are computer illiterate, take a free class at your local library. When we are involved and hands-on within our communities and we are open and expressive with our interests, passions and even our own insecurities, our children are exposed to a special confidence and they draw from that strength and eventually, they learn to do the same.
Based on the definition of “Generation Y”, children born to us should be the most socially and technologically advanced literate, educated and driven Black People on the planet. Sadly, this is not what is reflected in North American education and social statistics, business demographics or political diaspora.
In this world, education is not just about what we teach in the classrooms, it as much about what we teach in our living rooms. Every one of us has experience, skills and knowledge to share. Support your learners by inspiring them with the actions and experiences in your everyday lives.
Be that example of higher achievement and success. Be that good example of community involvement. Be that example of positive attitude, critical thinking and communication. Be that example of a hands-on teacher. Be their support system. Be that role model. We certainly have the tools, we certainly have the reasons to so,
Light reflected is enlightenment infinite.
As a new school year fast approaches, I’ll be posting articles which may help students and parents get ready to put their best feet forward this September. Although anyone can learn from this particular post, I emphasize that this is for Black students simply because of the reality. Expectations for Black students reading and writing abilities are much lower than the median for their non-Black counterparts. That’s it folks. In terms of literacy, our children are expected to naturally fare worse than their peers. I want to change this phenomenon.
Even without formal instruction, young learners will gradually learn the correct structures and rules of the English language. When a child is learning to read, they may use a variety of strategies to decode and understand the text but, in accepting this rule, we are first assuming that the student already has a good “grasp” of the English language. In terms of writing, we typically tend to gauge our child’s functioning skills by connecting that it is a reflection of how well they speak. This is a common mistake that many of us parents make. Although verbal skills and written skill are correlated, good speakers do not automatically make good writers. We all know people who speak effortlessly but give them a pen and they can barely string two sentences together. How about those of us who would simply die of embarrassment if people saw our writing through the lens of the autocorrect or spellcheck tools.
Many factors influence what determines good writing. Here are a few tips to help us parents support our children’s literacy needs. Getting into the practice of incorporating the things below can help develop writing skills.
- Good writing is clear and has an easily identified point.
- That point is supported with information.
- The information is clear, connected and logical.
- The words are appropriate and the spelling, grammar, punctuation and sentence structure are correct.
That’s it, four little tips to help our learners excel. In writing, practice might never make perfect but, it does help us to become better.
After the writing task has been assigned, it is helpful to begin with the basics; What are you writing and who are you writing for? Is it an essay? Short fiction? Book report? Research project? Thesis? Once the task is determined, identify the audience. Ensure that the target audience (teachers/peers/instructors/professors) can easily understand what they are reading. We may live in a ROFLMAO, SMH, WTF? Techno-social-media-short-form world but, in the realm of formal education; Spelling, grammar and punctuation all matter.
A learner who is in the habit of taking their time to write, then to proofread and edit will generally submit better written material.
Being able to identify and then connect the audience or reader to the content is very important. Writing which conveys emotion or feeling and even invokes sentiment within the reader demonstrates skill. Being able to hold the reader’s attention is an equally effective skill therefore, wording is paramount. In my experience, my students often try to impress me by using big words which isn’t a bad thing at all, in fact I encourage it. I am often affected and pleased by the effort however; Using relevant wording will often win over an audience easier than lofty wording or, by contrast using dull wording. These provocative tactics can sometimes backfire in either case by insulting the reader’s intelligence. I don’t know about you but for me, that’s usually an automatic turn-off. Students should be encouraged to explore language but, not craft sentences around words they feel will help them to show-off.
Don’t forget the content! The subject or topic being covered is the star of the show. The content must reflect the criteria of the assignment. I can’t name how often I’ve peer edited and at the end of reading I had no idea what the point was. This is a dangerous ground. Sticking to the point can be hard but, it ought to be the central theme.
The difference between being a mediocre writer and a good writer is a matter of semantics. It has nothing to do with talent! Being an effective writer is in understanding your own voice, identifying your weaknesses and writing around them. It’s being daring and risking being open in what you chose to write about. It’s about taking the task of writing beyond the course outline and using the parameters of the paper to do everything the instructor requires of you to get that ‘A’ and also revealing who you are as an individual.
Most importantly and I share this with my ESL students, but the rule is as true for native English speakers; The best way to become proficient in writing is to read, read, READ! I can’t stress this point enough. Avid readers tend to develop broader vocabulary as well as learn to identify and use various writing mechanics.
Parents, please understand that a good writing tutor might save you money down the road. Learning the mechanics of writing in grade 6, 7 and 8 will prepare your child for his or her academic future. By the time your child reaches high school and written communication becomes a major component of learning, they will already have the skills needed to easily express their thoughts, world views and opinions through writing. To write effectively is to communicate effectively which often translates into better marks and higher grades resulting in greater opportunities for bursaries, scholarships and other free money to put toward post secondary education.
It’s not that good writing requires formal education, it’s that formal education requires good writing.
Light reflected is enlightenment infinite.
I’m writing this article in response to the Paula Deen n*gger incident. First of all, let me start by saying that I am not the least bit surprised that a sixty-something year old Southern white woman is admitting to using the word n*gger. I’d be more surprised if she claimed that she’d never used the word in her life. I’d be even more surprised if this was never brought to light at some point in her career and I’d be extra surprised if it wasn’t causing a boisterous buzz within the Black community.
Now, this is not a pass and I’m not inferring that she should get away with what she did because our expectations of her should have been lower in the first place. What I am saying is that we must tire of these distractions and focus on the things which will inevitably propel us forward. Yes, I do believe this is a distraction. If this woman and her family are the biggest bigots in America; So. That’s their prerogative. As long as she isn’t cooking up and serving Black folks with some cheese grits and steamed collard greens, I couldn’t care less. She’s a branded millionaire. She can retire into obscurity and disappear from the public eye forever and my heart will never miss a beat. It effects me in no way and it effects you in no way either however; what it does do is spark useful dialogue to enhance the pixels of the bigger picture.
Get this angry when you spot structural racism within your respective cities, suburbs and communities. Cry foul when your local school district is still teaching Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” when Hurston’s “Their Eyes Were Watching God” is just as beautiful a love story and with just as challenging language vernacular to boot. Cry foul when your local business solicit our patronage yet they have nobody which looks like us working within their establishments. Which is why I prefer to support Black business but as usual, I digress.
You want to see change? Stop your own Black children and your friends from using this word. Stop giving our own people a pass! Black people have fought and struggled for freedom and to be physically free from bondage yet mentally enslaved with the verbal remnants of degradation is pathetic. I hate the word n*gger. I grew up in a black community where it wasn’t just taboo, it was unfathomable to utter such filth.
How degrading and I truly believe that when Black people say it, they are out of touch with their pride, identity and personal integrity. Further proof that re-education ought to be at the top our our collective priority list.
All in all, I’m upset that I can no longer cook along with Ms. Deen because I can’t in good conscious support an admitted bigot and I hear they fired her anyway. But, one monkey don’t stop the show and I refuse to allow this distraction to get in between me and my good priorities and those are to do my part in shaping a positive future for myself and the loves of my life; My People.
Oh and one more thing, the media is calling for her to donate millions to the NAACP and other “ethnic” institutions in retribution for her actions. I say BS; If money is accepted from the same hand that was only yesterday trying to dress Black folks up like a scene out of “The Help”, then we should stay on mute an sit idly by while the Paula Deens and the Ms. Hilly’s of the world say it like they mean it while we eat their sh*t.
Always remember, Light reflected is enlightenment infinite.
For the last few weeks my articles have focused on the mis-education of our children so today, I’m going to postulate my antithesis.
I want to talk about my platform of re-education and the benefits that I believe will help re-define our social conditioning, strengthen our communities and broaden our cultural perception as Black Canadians.
When I talk about re-education, I’m speaking in terms of the following.
Through exposure to Black literature and the teachings of Black professionals, scholars , authors, experts, social commentary etc., we can better guide our children along the pathways for learning with examples of scholarship from those who came blazing the trail before them. We can then introduce a multitude of career options that may not be offered or advertised within the traditional education model. For example, agricultural science; we elders ought to educate and encourage our children about land ownership, commercial farming, nutritional, environmental and dietary sciences. These are career paths which are not typically encouraged and but, why not when most of us came from agrarian and agricultural societies?
2) Economic & Financial Sciences:
“The definition of education for Black students is the; The art of teaching our children to acquire, protect and maintain power.” (Dr. U. Johnson) This is where we need to focus on the shift from working for to owning and operating their own successful business ventures. We must encourage entrepreneurship and calculated risk taking in terms of building viable Black owned business and not simply training them to be employees. We must encourage our children to support Black owned businesses, enterprises and social services so that we can begin to acquire financial and therefore political power within and over our communities. Remember, children grow up and being fully functioning, productive, pro-active and capable citizens is their right and the essence of truly being free.
3) Understanding Political Science and The Law:
There simply isn’t enough representation for Black people BY black people in Canadian politics. Other ethnic groups seemed to have realized the importance of political visibility but, even with the election of Barack Obama to the US presidency, this is slow to become a priority within Canadian society.
We must start seriously learning about the laws that govern this land if we are to ever slow the rate of our youth falling off the beaten track and landing in jail cells. Our children need to learn about the correlation between poverty, crime and punishment so they can practice critical and logical thinking about their choices and ultimately their futures.
4) Social Sciences:
Unifying, appreciating and protecting the family unit. Understanding acceptable social etiquette, manners, behavior and teaching our children to practice a standard of conduct which dispels negative stereotypes about our youth and Black people in general and also discourages racial discrimination. Learning to be good denizens of our communities, the environment and socially responsible people is the foundation for their personal integrity and cultural pride. We need to build and encourage solidarity.
I believe that a focus on re-education in these four areas but not limited to these four areas is a great way to forward a healthy and bright future for Black Canadians.
I believe that “Black History Month” and it’s inadequacies should be done away with and instead, principles and foundations for permanent Black Cultural Education instilled at every step of the education and learning process. The Blacklit101 workshops that I am designing for the fall 2013 will be a step in the right direction for our children.
It takes a village to raise a child so if you can contribute to this educational venture in any way, please reach out to me! Any input, assistance, time and insight is welcomed and truly appreciated.
One day, our children will likely be better parents than we are because of it.
Light reflected is enlightenment infinite.
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verb, spoiled or spoilt, spoil·ing, noun
verb (used with object)
1. to damage severely or harm (something), especially with reference to its excellence, value, usefulness, etc.: The water stain spoiled the painting. Drought spoiled the corn crop.
2. to diminish or impair the quality of; affect detrimentally: Bad weather spoiled their vacation.
3. to impair, damage, or harm the character or nature of (someone) by unwise treatment, excessive indulgence, etc.: to spoil a child by pampering him.
The topic for this article came about during a recent discussion with a good friend of mine. We were conversing about the resolve to not spoil our children due to the disgusting effects spoiling has on the attitude of the child and worst, how dangerous it is to instill an undeserved sense of entitlement into a child.
According to the above definition of spoiling courtesy of dictionary.com, spoil essentially means ruin. Now, I’m not telling anyone how to raise their kids, that’s on you. This is strictly a matter of opinion based on experience and personal ideology. It is your right to raise your child as you see fit and if spoiling them rotten is your thing, power to You! HOWEVER, it then becomes your responsibility to ensure that decent morals, values, principles and work-ethic are instilled into that child to combat the negative effects of over indulgence.
In other words, recognize that in spoiling your child, you may in fact ruin them so, as parents we must find a way to create a balance that is healthy to the development of the personal integrity of that child.
In re-educating our children, perhaps it’s time to take a new approach to how we reward our children. For example, many of us grew up knowing that come June, if we passed we would get a present for “grading”. In my house, I say “HELL NO! Your present IS grading.” The attention you paid in class, the hard work you did and the homework and projects you handed in on time resulted in you passing on to the next grade and this is your reward. Everything that you learned that propelled you to the next level in your academic achievement is your reward. This is my personal philosophy.
Look at it like this; Every day us responsible parents come home from work and prepare meals, sit through countless hours of homework and test preparation, help with last minute projects, practice for spelling tests you name it. There is no reward for this other than knowing that we’ve done our duty in supporting our children and that through our engagement and support, they stand a better chance of becoming successful in their endeavors. We’ve simply done what we are responsible for doing. You don’t get a prize for doing what you’re supposed to do. Not in the real world where the majority of us dwell. That’s just how life is. I believe that early in life, kids need to learn this and deal with it.
In spoiling our children, we are creating sociopathic monsters; Ignorant, name-brand-clad-shallow-tech-junkie-no manner- having little fools running around believing that everyone owes them something and never learning that hard work, dedication and commitment are the only things that will get them anywhere in life.
We know that spoiling our children is detrimental in various ways and encourages negative behavior, immaturity and dependence. But, when we spoil our children with reward systems for doing things that they should already be doing for themselves, i.e. household chores, homework, good test results, grades and such, we undermine the natural course of developing positive self-esteem, confidence, independence and responsibility through following a task through to completion simply because that is what is required. This is how our children learn the coping skills necessary for success in society.
Begin teaching your children that through diligence and assiduity; they can dominate any industry in the global market and be as successful as the icons they idolize.
Spoil them with modelling positive behaviors, encouragement, inspiration, enthusiasm, and most importantly, leadership. Guide them along the pathway to achieving their dreams.
If after reading this you’re not on-board to quit ruining your child, that’s fine though, at least consider the “rewards, treats, presents and tokens of appreciation” you give. Instead of material things, instead invest in science, math and writing tutors so when it’s time for graduation they’ll have done well enough in school to access more scholarship money. You’ll save a fortune in the long run! Invest in music lessons and sports to help build their confidence and shape their attributes and strong points. Spoil them with listening to their plans and believing in their goals. Spoil them by enriching their exposure to the arts and to life in general so that they become well-rounded whole individuals. This is ultimately what our children deserve, they are entitled to this.
Think about why you are spoiling your children. Is it to make up for something? To shut them up? To make yourself feel better? To keep up with the Jones’? Whatever your excuse is, fix it. Do something about it before it’s too late and your monster turns on you and everybody else in society and we fight back. Think of the consequences a negative and foul attitude brings. Remember the lazy person you can’t stand at work and the other takers you know in your lives. Do you want someone to paint your offspring with that brush? You’re not doing your child any favors when you spoil them. Home disabilities can quickly turn into learning and life disabilities. You know better so do better.
Besides, we ought to love our children enough to not proactively ruin them.
Light reflected is enlightenment infinite.
Why is it when a black woman is passionate about something that she believes in, she’s suddenly mad or angry? Difficult? Obtuse? Rude? Defensive? Scary?
I recently had a conversation with someone about obtaining space in my community for a Black Literature workshop that I’m facilitating in the fall. I was contacted and asked to explain the nature of my workshop and the W5 on what it will be about. When I very patiently, pleasantly and professionally explained what the plan of programming would be, the conversation turned dramatically.
A ‘pleasant’ conversation went from 0-99 in less than 2 minutes. All of I sudden, I could tell that no matter what my plans were, they were not welcome at least by this one gate-keeper. Without getting into the meat and potatoes of the discussion, long story short; I was reminded of why I never wanted to pursue a career in the public school machine.
First and foremost, I make no apologies for my stance on how the public school system is designed for us to fail. I am a product of the aforementioned system and therefore can attest to the systematic foolishness promoted and “taught” from within. Therefore, if I am of the opinion that our Black children can and will benefit from the support of private programs geared specifically toward them and only them and designed by the very people who from whom they are the essence; That’s my prerogative.
This little run-in with this gate-keeper has simply reinforced my mistrust of outside influence from school board officials and people who do not belong to the Black community.
Allow me to clarify, in regards to this initiative; Any and all brainstorming, discussion, collaboration, financing, strategizing, planning and actioning will be completely FUBU and that is FOR US BY US. We have allowed too many hands to stir our pots for too long and it simply hasn’t gotten us anywhere. I can write my fingers to the bone discussing the reasons why I believe that there is a need to re-segregate components of our Black children’s learning environments to restore the educational deficit that have resulted from the public school and the traditional private schools but why?
If you are a Black person or Black parent reading this, you already understand because you’ve experienced it at some point or another no matter what level of success you’ve attained. If you are not a Black person or the parent of a Black child and you are reading this, then no matter what I write, you will never be able to comprehend the chasm of ignorance that is being purposely created in the formal education system in North America. You have likely always been taught by people who look like you and attended institutions that were designed with your future in mind. We don’t have this in common and it’s ok. It is what it is but, I’m not going to be ‘inclusive’ for fear of being politically incorrect and making someone feel left out. If you’re being left out of the conversation, it’s on purpose because the conversation simply doesn’t concern you. I’m not angry, I just happen to love, care for and feel the innate need to protect and nurture my own and I value those things much more than I fear offending anyone else’s sensibilities or their insecurities about not being included.
It’s foolish, naïve, silly and downright stupid to EXPECT middle class people who do not look like our children to educate our children. PERIOD.
Now, after having said all of that, I am still working on securing a venue for the first workshop that is completely independent of the PDSB school board or entity which is an obvious conflict of interest. Which segues into my upcoming article:
“WE NEED AN INDEPENDANT BLACK PARENTS ASSOCIATION IN PEEL REGION!”
I haven’t written it yet but wait for it. It’s coming soon my people. One idea, one action at a time…
I’ll keep you posted and as always,
Light reflected is enlightenment infinite.
“Man that school shit is a joke
The same people who control the school system control
The prison system, and the whole social system
Ever since slavery, nawumsayin?”
These Schools ~Dead Prez
Consider These Challenges…
Do You believe that as parents, it is our primary responsibility to educate our children or, are you of the mindset that it is perfectly acceptable to turn our Black children over to the public school system and have that duty outsourced?
Do You believe that our children can effectively learn from people who do not look like them and may not be truly committed to educating that child.
Do You believe that your children will and can rise to the level of your expectations? What are the expectations you have for your children? Do You believe that they matter to your child?
Do You believe that if the educator doesn’t truly care about or value the child being taught, that they are then unable to grow that child academically?
Do You believe that the real reason many of our children are not learning is because the people responsible for their learning couldn’t care less?
Do You believe that children need to feel content, valued, wanted and comfortable before they can effectively learn?
Do You believe that education content and curriculum today is relevant?
Do You believe that negative stereotypes are affecting the quality of education our Black children are receiving?
Do You believe that the mis-education of our children is not on purpose?
Do You believe that there is a deliberate and systematic effort to eliminate preparation for life after high school for Black people?
Do You believe that access to opportunity is equal across the board?
Do You believe that racism is no longer a threat to your son or daughter’s education and career opportunities?
What do YOU believe?
I urge You, dear reader to please leave honest feedback and comments on this as it was posted to inspire conversation and I’m interested to know your thoughts on these questions. This is an open forum designed to help us unite as parents, educators and social activists on the battlefield to stand in the gap for our children.
Light reflected is enlightenment infinite.
PS! I urge you to try and get a copy of the below book by Dr. Umar Johnson. I will be adding it and a few others to our ‘Black Literature’ list that I have been very neglectful in growing!!!