TOPS, one of the nation’s most generous, merit-based state scholarships, has been under scrutiny since last spring’s financial doomsday reporting by then newly minted Governor Jon Bel Edwards. Time has run out for residents as “tuition is expected to be 50% more than expected.”
Katie Lobosco of CNN’s Money reports more on the crisis here.
Earlier this week, the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted to overaul the teacher education program in the state. Preservice teachers will now serve under a mentor for one full year and earn pay. The mentor teacher will receive $1000 compensation as well.
Naysayers decree the plan is not sustainable and short sighted.
“Donald Songy, the governor’s newly-named education policy adviser, said while one-year teacher residencies are a good idea, how to pay for the changes warrants a delay,” reported Baton Rouge’s daily newspaper, The Advocate.
“Our concern is there is not enough information around on how much the program will cost, especially for local school districts,” said Songy, former superintendent of the Ascension Parish School District.
I hope this post finds you in safe and dry settings. School is out for the rest of the week and I can’t help but wonder “How are we going to start all over again?” Procedures, classroom expectations, and schedules on repeat for teachers and students alike. But not only that, how are we to account for faculty/staff/students/parents/stakeholders mental state at this devastating and traumatizing time? The schoolhouse provides so much normalcy for our children and for us, the adults, too.
Q1: What was the scenario for you Friday, August 12 as you learned school was being closed?
Q2: Have you had any contact with administrators, fellow educators, parents, students, etc.? What has been the response?
Q3: How can we as educators continue to provide stability to our community as we always have, although our own lives have been drastically affected?
Q4: Does anyone else see the uncanny similarities to Hurricane Katrina? If children and teachers have to be displaced, how can we welcome them into our school climate?
Please comment below how you feel. I need this dialogue so much.
Consider yourself to be an advocate of education? Attend one of the statewide ESSA forums hosted by Louisiana State Superintendent John White to affirm your voice. White “will begin the dialogue with parents, educators, and communities on the opportunities provided under the new federal law and receive feedback on what updates need to be made to the state’s education system.”
View the schedule for meetings across the state here.
Laura Moser can be viewed as foolish to some. She may be referred to as this due to her uncommon subject matter,which is educators rethinking “How do I go about trying to educate urban students?” Positively, she refers to Mr. Edmin’s book, For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood… and the Rest of Y’all Too: Reality Pedagogy and Urban Education” to support her position. She places confidence in her solution that teachers should alter the way a lesson is taught to engage urban students.
Dissatisfying Personal Experiences
I’ve had my own personal experiences involving “White folks who teach in the hood.” Unfortunately, these “white folks” suffered from being inexperienced, panic-stricken,and overwhelmed educators. My teachers thoughts may have included, “My cushy job into this urban school and kids gave me such a hard time, and they were challenging, and they were trouble and it’s so awful.”These after thoughts are typically caused by “a white,”savior complex”- a well-meaning idealist who views teaching as their personal mission to save the world.”
As gloomy as this may sound, your presence with not automatically transform someone’s life. Just as well as you speaking to someone in the morning won’t change someone’s mindset. Your life as an educator will be a battle, from unspeakable disrespect to persistent taunting, students show no mercy regardless of your situation.
Then, I met Mr. Carline.
At the beginning of this school year, our 11th grade class was bestowed a well seasoned, talented, creative, devoted, and understanding teacher – Mr. Carline. Carline has done an excellent job with educating classes by incorporating popular trends or fads into the lesson. Student’s attention were grasped, the lesson was taught with little to no rebuttal, and exponential test score growth.
“How can I positively impact African American students of color education?”
As I reflect on the Young Scholar’s Society guiding questions of texts from a student’s point of view – my advice to teachers is to get creative and stay patient. Creativity and patience are virtues equally in this situation. A majority of urban kids have come from many different backgrounds just as much as their “white savior” teachers. Urban students also endure a variant of hardships ; therefore, rejection of the teacher is to be expected in the beginning. Mr.Carline suggests to future teachers to “first hand experience before teaching a full a class.” Work at a small group tutoring service. For an even closer educational experience, shadow a teacher similar to yourself in the same content area.
“How do we create and inspire students to learn?”
Firstly, to sustain positive cultures is to encourage and partake in urban culture. This promotes the positive culture by presenting it as a class discussion to obtain the student’s position and interpersonal feelings. Another approach is to choose a controversial topic concerning popular urban idols and have the students write a paper stating their position. Thus, engaging the students in a positive popular culture while still possessing an educational aspect of critical thinking, reflection, and composition.
Secondly, motivating and inspiring students to learn is a mountainous task. Obviously, not one for the faint heart, better suited for the witty and elite few. In regards to the question in whatever way possible “RELATE”. It can not be stressed enough that the educators need to have a connection with their students.
One way to do this may be to incorporate music because of its ability to break down color barriers. In the article, Ms. Mosers emphatically suggests using an abundance of this type of teaching suggested by Emdin, the author of the book. “For Science Genius B.A.T.T.L.E.S we had young people in schools writing raps about science content and these are kids who are kids failing science class, then when they have to write science raps are studying until three or four in the morning.” Another example, although far-reaching, includes bringing in a rap artist to school to impart knowledge to the students.“A graduate student I work with had Kendrick Lamar come into a school in New Jersey to compare his last album, to Pimp a Butterfly, to Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, and he was essentially the teacher for the day.”
Many educators should follow Emdin and experiment with some of the unorthodox methods of enlightening students of color. Finally, a reminder of how we can get it “right” is to take “An entirely different approach: actually trying to understand the kids you’re teaching, engaging them on their own terms.”
Precious White is a member of the 2017 LSU Upward Bound graduating cohort, whose voice as a student advocate rings louder than ever.
I believe an invaluable strategy to recruit, develop, and retain teachers and leaders of color is to create cohorts of high school seniors who are interested in education and allow them to attend professional education organizations. Once these young and brilliant leaders see the commitment, professionalism, and zeal of educators who look like them – the fire will catch on naturally.
Many students of color are influenced daily by educators of color. Allow them to “step into the shoes” of an educator – a professional who is taken seriously and one who advocates for his/her profession with the utmost respect. Allow students of color to help create updated “curriculum” and “workshops” which reflect them and their lives as valuable and human. I believe this will breathe life into the teaching profession once the stigma of “whining teachers” are lifted and removed.
Jalissa Bates, M.A.
Louisiana State University Upward Bound Instructor