A LESSON THAT OUGHT TO BE TAUGHT IN THE URBAN CLASSROOM

Photo from National Archives and Record Administration

Photo from National Archives and Record Administration

A lie is being deliberately spread among young black students in urban classrooms, namely that black people outnumber white not just in some big cities, but nationally. Young black people often believe that the US is like South Africa, with an over 80% black population and 9% white. Census data are often ignored in cities where black population outnumbers the white, with the excuse that whites have created a myth of their own numbers.

I know of at least one urban public school teacher who was chastised for telling the truth to her classes. Another actually perpetuated the myth, saying she did it to build self-esteem among black. But self-esteem is built on achievement, not lies, and students who learn those lies are inevitably doomed to crash when they must confront the truth.

Black people comprise 12.6% of the population in the US, while whites comprise 72.4%. What does this mean? It means that blacks comprise a small minority of the population in the US. But there is an important corollary to collective population numbers. They have nothing to do with individual achievement.

Every person of every race is an individual, distinct and different from every other person. Every black person is distinctly different from every other black person. Their genetics, circumstances, parents and all the factors that distinguish them may be similar in some ways, but never in all ways. No two people can live in the same space or  the same life. People are not collective. Nor are they statistics.

Despite what nefarious leftist and black skinned so-called “leaders” tell them, every black person is equal in rights and freedom to every other person, black, white, Asian, or any other ethnic minority. We are NOT a multicultural society. We are a society of individuals, each of whom brings his/her unique genetic makeup, heritage, and all the traits that make them individuals. Moreover, their experience is different. Aldous Huxley said, “Experience is not what happens to a man. It’s what a man does with what happens to him.” Genetics, upbringing and events are different for each and every person. It is what that person does with what he possesses that makes him a success or a failure.

But when young people are taught never to think of themselves as individuals, but only as parts of their collective, they do not develop the necessary initiative to go beyond those attitudes. Emphasis on the racist or prejudicial attitudes of others has convinced many black people that they can achieve nothing as a group until those attitudes are completely wiped out. They have been taught that yet more laws are passed to eradicate racism and prejudice. But state of mind cannot be dictated, and the passage of laws will not create success.

Lying about reality is a tactic to keep black people down and to treat them as a collective mass of votes, blindly supporting ruthless politicians and nefarious so-called leaders who know that without the lies, they would have no power. Truth sets people free and empowers them.

Racism and prejudice have always existed and will continue to exist. That is reality. But what people do despite them is what counts. Only individual and initiative creates success and, among black people, there are some stirring examples of what individual effort can accomplish. Economist Thomas Sowell, political activist and business man Ward Connerly, and retired neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson, have strived ahead despite these obstacles to achieve success and status.

Frederick Douglass is the most striking example of what an individual black man achieved despite a level of race hatred and prejudice that black people today can only read about. The racism of the Construction bears no resemblance to attitudes of racism today. Frederick Douglass should be the greatest icon among black people. They should celebrate his journey and read his autobiographies, both of them, and sing songs to him. His birthday, more than Martin Luther King’s, should be a national holiday, because what he achieved he did as a man and not as leader of a movement.

Yet many black students do not even know who he was, or, if they know his name, do not think of his achievements outside of the collective narrative that has been foisted upon them! The antidote to racism, which is a collective concept, is not to wait for attitudes to change or pass laws, but to educate black students that their potential lies in each of them as individuals, just as it did with Frederick Douglas

Colin Powell became a General and Joint Chief of Staff. He and Condoleeza Rice were Secretaries of State. They did not achieve those great things as “a people.” They did those things as individuals, proving beyond doubt what individuals can do with application, education, intelligence and hard work. Condoleezza Rice recounted words of hope from her mother that describe perfectly the attitude of an optimist who believed in her daughter as an individual. She said, “You may not be able to eat lunch at Woolworth’s, but you can become President of the United States.” This is not a myth. It is the truth, and there is no more moving speech one could give to a daughter or son to demonstrate the point.

In the memorable film “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” Sidney Poitier, as a young doctor, famously says to his father, “You think of yourself as a colored man. I think of myself as a man.” This is the key. The attitude that must change is among black people themselves, who must stop thinking of themselves as a people and begin thinking of themselves as persons. They must stop considering their skin color as a set of chains. In America, there are no chains, not really, and if one flexes the muscles of his honest potential, skin color will never be the deciding factor of achievement.

I’m not black. I am an American of Italian stock, raised in Massachusetts in the 40s and 50s, in a town where racism was almost nonexistent. I went to public school with black kids and had them visiting my house. I don’t know quite why, but we simply did not think of skin color as a particularly dominant factor in our relations. To some, it may seem officious of me to say all the things I’ve said in this article, but they are my honest observations. Unlike many for whom they are a cliché, I actually take Martin Luther King’s words seriously. People should be judged by the content of their character rather than by the color of their skin. But only when people break out of their own stereotypes will other people drop those stereotypes and recognize them as persons.

Trust me on this. Take it to the bank. Waiting out seismic changes in societal attitudes is futile, while acting despite them is positive. In fact, it is the only hope of reigniting the flame of the American Dream, not just for black people, but for all people.

FJ Rocca is an independent, conservative writer/blogger of fiction and non-fiction, most interested in the philosophy of American conservatism. Clarity is more important than eloquence, but truth is vital to human discourse. You can find out more about FJ over at http://www.candiddiscourse.com/.

 

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Professional Resource Review: REFLECT AND WRITE and WRITE WHAT YOU SEE

KellnerPDResourcesAwhile back I mentioned Henry “Hank” Kellner’s fictional work. Kellner is a retired, conservative, English professor.  Shortly after the post, Kellner contacted me and offered two professional resources for review. I had a little time to play around with these at the end of the last school year , and I am very impressed with the quality of the resources.

The first one you see pictured to the right is called Reflect and Write: 300 Poems and Photographs to Inspire Writing. I like how the book is designed. Each page includes a poem, a photo related to the poem, a quote at the bottom related to the poem, and keywords that are in the poem. This gives a student a lot to pull from if they often struggle with getting started in their writing. In addition, the poems in the book are short, so that they don’t consume a lot of class time when working with them. Reflect and Write can be used to feed both quick-writes and longer writing projects.

I love this resource! I had the ability to try out one of the activities out of the book toward the end of the year. I was very impressed with my student’s engagement and quality of writing. Even some of my students that often didn’t care much about writing, or any work for that matter, showed great interest in the writing activity.

Reflect and Write also includes a CD with all of the pages, so you can easily display them on a projector that is connected to a computer. The book is recommended for grades 7-12, and I would agree that this is accurate.

The second book pictured is called Write What You See: 99 Photos to Inspire Writing. Every page includes one black and white photograph, a quote, and ideas for writing or possible opening lines. Some pages include possible key words that tie into the photos as well.

I did not get to work with this resource at the end of the year. A colleague of mine, someone who has taught for 20+ years, borrowed the book. He left an activity for a planned absence using the multiple pictures from the book. Those that teach know what can happen when you leave writing for a substitute. The report from the sub (she was a retired librarian) when he returned was that she had never seen students so engaged in a writing activity. This teacher reported to me that the writing that was left behind was surprisingly good, and that he was going to buy the book to use in his classroom next year.

Write What You See also includes a CD with copies of the pages in the book. If you are looking for a resource that will get your reluctant writers to engage, this may be a book worth purchasing.

If you teach English at the secondary level, I highly recommend these two writing resources. I have linked the titles of each book to their Amazon page. Go pick up a copy of these and give them a try in your classroom this coming school year.

 

 

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Filed under Book Reviews, Classroom Resources, Professional Development

JUST HOW BIG IS PEARSON? WELL…PRETTY BIG

pearsonI don’t believe in big government, and I especially don’t believe in big government and big business colluding. Many on the political left often blindly attack big businesses. In the context of education, I think they are rightly justified to criticize big business. Big corporations can be a big problem when they have cornered the market. Sadly, many leftists don’t quite realize the thing they rightly disagree with often funds the party and politicians they tend to vote for. To be fair, the same can be said about many Republican voters. They blindly vote for a party that doesn’t represent a true separation between government and business.

Someone recently shared a Google Doc with me that shows just how stunningly Gigantic London based Pearson really is. The title of the document is What Pearson Owns (Or Has a Significant Interest In). When you really think about how much these guys control, and how much of education they have their fingers on, it should concern you a little bit.

I think maybe the most stunning thing about this document is how little contrast there is in education around the world. This much interest cobbled up in one company borders on dangerous.

Anyway, interesting document, curious what thoughts you may have. Just so you know, I’m not saying the document is 100% accurate. I have not fact checked it, but many of the random searches I performed as I went through it showed that the products/services are Pearson’s:

So, here’s the idea:

 

I want to start with a list of companies, products and resources that Pearson owns (or has a significant interest in). I’d like to crowd-source this list. If you’re interested, just add to the list and post a link where you found it. At some point, I want to create a web-based search that will allow people to type it in with a simple “Is this owned by Pearson?” question.

Companies, startups, websites, etc.

http://www.place.nesinc.com/

Publishing Imprints

Pearson has a number of publishing imprints:

In Brazil

(Links below lead to sites in Portuguese)

http://www.pearson.com.br/apearson.asp?pag_id=13&area_pai=12&id_p=0Wall Brazilian

  • Branch of the Wall Street Institute School of English
  • Part owner of Companhia das Letras (Publisher)
  • Casa do Psicólogo (Psychology and Education)
  • Grupo MULTI (ELT)
  • PTE (Tests for learners of English as a foreign language):
  •      Young Learners – ages 7 -13
  •      General – ages 14 and up

Public Ed:

  • NAME system

Private Ed:

  • COC system
  • Dom Bosco system
  • Pueri Domus system

http://www.objetiva.com.br/noticia_detalhe.php?id=256

  • Editora Objetiva: Alfaguara, Suma, Fontanar, Foglio, Ponto de Leitura (Publisher)

In Canada

Properties of Pearson Canada

Publishing

  • Penguin,
  • Viking,
  • Prentice Hall,
  • Addison Wesley,
  • Allyn & Bacon
  • Longman

Textbooks

  • Pearson Achievement Solutions,
  • Allyn and Bacon, Merrill,
  • Pearson Australia, Heinemann,
  • STEPS PD,
  • Marilyn Burns Education Associates/Math Solutions,
  • ETA/Cuisenaire,
  • Teacher Ideas Press.

Testing/Assessement

Under Pearson Technology Group

  • FT Press publishes high quality books in the areas of General Business, Finance and Investing, Sales and Marketing, Leadership, Management and Strategy, Human Resources, and Global Business.
  • Peachpit Press publishes the books that educate professionals and innovators in graphic design, desktop publishing, multimedia, Web publishing, and general computing, A to Z.
  • Que Publishing works to produce superior books designed to make people’s lives easier, more dynamic, and more enriched. With over 20 years experience dispensing practical advice on computers and technology, Que takes pride in their ability to provide tools needed to enhance personal and professional lives.
  • SAMS Publishing is focused on teaching working programmers, developers, and systems administrators the skills they need to build and maintain leading-edge technology. From introductory tutorials to comprehensive reference books covering operating systems, networking, databases, web development and design/programming.
  • Addison-Wesley Professional publishes high-quality and timely information for programmers, developers, engineers, and system administrators.
  • Prentice Hall Professional Technical Reference has been a leader in engineering and technical publishing for more than 70 years. With networking, wireless, e-commerce database, and Unix lists, PHPTR is the official publisher of Sun Microsystems, IBM, Financial Times Business Books, Hewlett Packard, and others.
  • Cisco Press is the only Cisco Systems-authorized book publisher of Cisco networking technology and Cisco certification self-study materials designed to help networking students and professionals prepare for Cisco certifications and master a diverse range of technologies.
  • InformIT is a leading information technology portal that publishes technical articles, tutorials, and sample chapters in key technology areas. The InformIT Safari Bookshelf delivers the full text of over 1500 fully searchable books online. InformIT’s Exam Cram 2 offers guidance for those seeking professional certification, including free practice exams. The InformIT bookstore offers competitive discounts and free domestic shipping on all orders.

Press, Links, Information about Pearson

  • Great article on Pearson’s role (and start) in Texas  http://www.texasobserver.org/the-pearson-graduate/
  • MicroDocumentary about Pearson https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dz3OdGrC-UI&feature=youtube_gdata

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Filed under Big Education Companies