60 Minutes aired an intriguing segment on The Harlem Children's Zone.
These charter schools fascinate me. I wonder how long the money will flow. I wonder how much teachers make. I find myself wondering how they will ultimately change the face of education. The truth is that too many of our students are not succeeding. And while some believe it is strictly the fault of the teacher, others recognize the impact that the students themselves, and their parents, have on the process.
In the 60 Minutes segment, Ed Bradley--my favorite of the group, tells us how The Harlem Children's Zone is reaching out to the community and, specifically, the parents. Geoffrey Canada, the founder of the charter school, states:
"Middle-class families know education begins at birth. Poor parents don't know that," Canada explains. "We're just trying to tell the parents, 'Look you have to start giving them the kinds of stimulation that’s gonna help those brains develop.'"
And whether we are talking about pre-school aged kids, elementary or junior high or high school students, this is certainly true.
Yes, all students can learn. That does not mean all students will. And yes, parents play a role. That does not mean they will. And yes, teachers have a great affect. That does not mean they will--but it also doesn't mean that all teachers must follow a script!
Geoffrey Canada also talked about his ability to fire teachers based on their performance. I've mentioned before that if schools had competent administrators and less exclusive central offices where the buddy system seems to be the mode of operation, I would trust them with my career.
Ultimately, in the final analysis, it was pleasant to see that parent involvement is at the foundation of what appears to be a successful operation.