Schools overcoming the challenges of poverty
Posted by on April 21, 2014
Failing the kids who need us most
In an opinion piece in The Hechinger Report, Pamela Cantor writes that many of our schools are failing to educate black and Latino children, and quick to punish them. To change this, Cantor says we must understand the challenges that children in poverty bring to school every day, and intentionally design learning environments to counteract these. We must use what we already know to intentionally design and build fortified environments for teaching and learning — fortified to reduce stress; to promote strong connections to adults, peers, families, and communities; to aggressively address academic recovery; to deliver rigorous and engaging content; and to promote attributes common among all successful students. A fortified school environment is filled with adults who fire up their students, expand their confidence, increase their stamina, never give up on them, and never let them give up on themselves. Imagine what could happen if every school had the knowledge, skills, and tools to create this kind of learning environment, Cantor writes. Initiatives like the president’s My Brother’s Keeper are important because they help convene all stakeholders — the private and nonprofit sectors, philanthropy, faith communities, educators, and government. With continued collaboration and perseverance, we have a real chance to change the trajectory for millions of young men, and women too.
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