Week of November 3-7
On Wednesday of this week I had the chance to spend time with seven students and two staff members at the 12th Annual It's Time to Talk: Forums on Race hosted by the YWCA of Minneapolis.
The students in attendance lifted my spirits with their thoughts and views on education. They understand the current realities of their respective situations, but they also understand that they control their outcomes. One young lady stated how important it was for her to understand her African history and that she was not getting it at school. The student’s mother provided her with an African American studies college textbook to encourage her desire to learn about her past. With the knowledge gained from her reading, this student developed the courage to share what she’d learned with her teachers at school and asked them to incorporate the information into their classes. As another student asked later that evening, "If we are all different, why are we expected to learn the same?"
Former Minneapolis mayor RT Rybak delivered the keynote speech about how disheartening it is to know that in Minneapolis you can predict the academic outcome of a child based on the color of his/her skin. We know this isn't a phenomenon occurring only in Minneapolis, but it's something we need to change for the betterment of our city. This effort is going to take our entire city. We must all play a major role in the success of our young people.
All children here in Minneapolis want to learn. As educators, we must determine what it is that motivates our students, tap into it and let learning happen for everyone.
The work continues.