My students are part of a community whose voice is not heard in the political system. I would like for them to understand how to see two sides of an issue, make a decision about that issue, and then have the confidence to share that voice - even if they are challenged in their view.
My students are generally low-income minority students who come from an often ignored part of California.
They have faced great challenges - poverty, gangs, drugs, family and community crisis, and low expectations. Despite this, they have emerged from their challenges stronger people.
These students are going to defy the cliche. They know more people that have been in jail than people who have been in college. So many around them have chosen the easy path. When they had a choice, they chose to be part of our school even though they were told that it was the most academically challenging. When we moved to a new school this year, they chose to come with us - leaving behind friends, a comfortable situation, and a school many of them had known for three years. They chose the path of greater resistance.
These are the people I want to see as the leaders when my children are growing. Our small school is focused on giving students the tools and the confidence to be those leaders.
"Who is a person?" "Who is an American?" "What can we know and say?" Simple questions with not-so-simple answers. For too long, the answers have been negative when they were directed at people like my students.
While reading this book, my students will have the opportunity to develop the skills to change how these questions are answered. They will be asked to see both sides of the question, debate the issues with a partner, and present written evidence of how they see the answer. Finally, they will be asked to apply the question to their own experiences.
The students who use this book are part of my AP and Honors Government classes. I am not going to be satisfied simply giving them the minimum expectations. They need to do more than earn credits for high school graduation. They need to do more than get accepted to universities. I need them to be ready for success at those universities. This book is more like what they will get as they move forward. Please help them be successful.
The world of education is barraged with the idea of the achievement gap between students of privilege and students like mine.
I don't think this is true. There is an opportunity gap. Given the same opportunities as students of privilege, I feel that my students will achieve greater success than we can even hope for. Please be one of the providers of this opportunity.
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