Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday passed with no mention at our school and community. I waited for a single student to speak out - but at our school where we have a 95% African American and Hispanic American population - not a single student mentioned it! We want to change this!
Our school is a Title I school located in one of the poorest congressional districts in the United States.
We are located next to a Bronx jail where there is a daily line of inmates coming in and out. The South Bronx is known more for poverty, crime, drugs, gangs, and failing schools than academic opportunities. In our community, the statistic that the majority of African American males go to prison rather than college rings true. Many of the dreams that Martin Luther King Jr. argued for remain unrealized in our community. The focus on test scores and standardized curriculum have ignored civil rights teachings, and many of the civil rights leaders of history are unknown to our students. How can we change this?
While the new Common Core, National Standards and all the educational reforms have very valuable benefits - the problem is that they neglect public speaking, landmark civil rights speeches, the civil rights movement, and civil rights leaders. The only reference is an occasional test question, perhaps a couple lessons on their birthday - but that's it. So thanks to Donors Choose and Pricewaterhouse Coopers - we have started to change this with monthly writing contests centered around a landmark civil rights book. This month we hope to focus on the landmark civil rights book "Call to Conscience' which contains the speeches of Martin Luther King. With this book and a laptop we will be able to utilize writers workshops so that our students can work in small groups with a civil rights book and a laptop to create, edit, discuss and publish their work. We used this very successfully during Black History month thanks to Donors Choose, we now hope to make every month Black History Month!
"I have a dream!" "Fourscore and seven years ago!" "By any means necessary!" "Ask not what your country can do, but what you can do for your country." I asked my 9th, 10th and 8th grade students who said these quotes and the vast majority had no idea.
This is tragic but not surprising given the emphasis on standardized testing. So help us bring back the story of the civil rights movement through an essay contest at our school! Thank you!Read More
|Samsung Series 5 Chromebook XE500C21 - 12.1' - Atom N570 - Chrome OS - 2 GB RAM - 16 GB SSD • Best Buy||$379.99||1||$379.99|
|A Call to Conscience • AKJ Books||$11.06||1||$11.06|
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This classroom project was brought to life by PricewaterhouseCoopers and one other donor.