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For many of them, as they look at the world, 'their' world, education does
not appear as a necessity or even a benefit. We know that it can change
things, but they don't, and they don't see it changing anything. The great
majority of the people they know in their neighborhoods who have gotten an
education are most likely still in the neighborhood, either working crappy
jobs or, at best, working and maybe just making ends meet. But there is a
flaw in this: the effect exists not in spite of the education but because of
sheer numbers and supply and demand of jobs and labor. What the kids often
do not see are the ones who do make it. They often move out of the
neighborhood; that was, after all, part of the idea of improving and moving
'up'. And historically, many of these actually avoid going back to the old
community. Yet these are the very ones who need to make their presence
known if conditions are going to improve. Because the only way many of
these people did move up and get out was exactly because of the education
they acquired. I don't have any real basis for making that comment, but
feel certain that it is/must be true. Of the few who wouldn't say that,
some will be involved in crime in one way or another, and others will have
come upon fortuitous circumstances one way or another. But those are about
the only ways I can think of to 'get out'. So, which ones are short term
dead ones? Which ones have greater and lesser risks and drawbacks? Which
ones are ones a person can be proud of? Which ones can a person take back
home and say, "I accomplished this?"
> Our students see Joe-Shmoe down the street selling dope with a brand new
> no high school education; our students see that as success.
Similar here in Cleveland. Talked with a teacher about 10 years ago who had
a 13 y.o. who supported his mother and family; owned his own car (but
couldn't drive it so he had a driver), etc. He was bringing in about $1,300
a week. She had no idea what to say to the kid. I wonder what he's up to
> If any of you have ideas on how to show students success lays beyond
> the project walls, please send them to me!
Off of what I said above, if you can figure out how to discover who these
people are who moved up and out, contact them and encourage them (set up a
funded program, or just volunteer) to come back and talk with the kids. Not
as outsiders, but as people with the same neighborhood roots. There ought
to be some who are now lawyers, even judges, accountants, bankers,
executives, etc. They're out there. Perhaps they only need to be reminded
of the battle they fought and won; perhaps there was someone in their
beginnings who encouraged them that it was worth it. Couldn't they do the
same for other children?