Sunday, August 06, 2006

The New Face of Summer School et al

The New Face of Summer School - Washington Post

Students Double Up on Math and English - AP

It is interesting to see that the new face of summer school in 2006, despite this title, still looks like the old face of summer school circa. 1970. It was then that classmate Herman Robinson and I, as impending catholic school seventh-graders, took pre-Algebra in public summer school, with the kids who had not fared so well that previous school year. Our goal was to get the ‘jump’ on the coming year, as well as to hangout at East High School where classes were taught.

With this background, it came as no surprise when my impending tenth-grade daughter suggested, this past May, that she could go to summer school to attempt to better her ninth-grade Algebra grade. I made a deal with her that she could go on a ‘movie-date’ if she managed an ‘A’. She missed her early first date by 3 points and settled for a B+ and an iPod instead – whew, that was close for poppa!

The willingness to put forth extra effort in the process of learning has always been the hallmark of ‘striving’ in America. I was proud that my daughter was willing to work hard for something she wanted, even while working as a lifeguard and fulfilling swim team workouts.

While parents and educators should indeed be concerned about their kids becoming early-stage workaholics, this is not my worry. Too many Black kids suffer from not having the educational work ethic that matches their professional dreams. This disparity is the greatest challenge to their future, not working too hard.

James C. Collier


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