Education in the "New America"
Our American system of public education functioned through a series of World Wars, military conflicts and cultural evolutions. African-Americans attended college in record numbers, gained entry into corporate America, started businesses, and became active participants and leaders in the political process.
Education was considered an opportunity for advancement by all: a stepping stone to generational wealth. Parents raised their children to come to school with an attitude of respect for the institution of learning and the "keepers of the dream", the educators. In addition, only the most poverty-stricken family would send their child to school without the necessary pencils, erasers, notebooks, or paper necessary to complete the class work required on any given school day.
Unfortunately, in the "new" America, the student demeanor of readiness, preparation, respect, or an "attitude of gratitude", is not as evident in today’s typical urban classroom. Large numbers of urban students come to class without a writing utensil, not because they suffer economically, but because they are making a statement. For some students, this behavior communicates that education no longer serves as a legacy that has been instilled in them at home or in their respective communities. They do not value the education process. Preparation, for life or for the classroom, is not a priority.
Sadly, for many students, the lack of academic preparation at school (class work) or at home (homework) communicates another important statement: "The system of education--school-- is not relevant to their daily lives." Increasing numbers of America’s adolescents are being raised in circumstances (e.g. extreme poverty, drug and sexual abuse, divorce and separation, chronic family illness, unavailable healthcare, and just plan old "riotous living") that are "challenging" at best.
Whatever the reason, many of our young people do not verbalize or demonstrate a sense of self-worth, let alone family pride and a sense of destiny or purpose. They simply do not carry within them, a dream---or the "the village" has failed to provide an environment where their dreams can be conceived, carried to term, and birthed."
The painful irony is that we are faced with this crisis in a "new America" where our citizens are living better than Americans have lived at any other time in history!