Each of us can play an important role in improving schools. We address what we can do not just as individual parents, community members, or civic leaders, but also as people willing to work together to dismantle the poor conditions while we re-shape new ways of operating.
To the Business Community:
Are you willing to provide internships or shadowing experiences, so when we ask the students what they want to be when they grow up they have been exposed to environments outside of their immediate community?
To the Principals:
Are you willing to organize the school schedule to provide academic personal attention and opportunities for credit recovery for these students? Are you willing to think twice before classifying our boys as special education students? Are you willing to support discipline policies that keep students in school, not send them home?
To Community Members:
Join in to make the community better by having more successful schools in the neighborhood.
To the Parents:
Are you willing to turn the TV off and sit down and help the child with his/her homework or simply talk to him about his daily issues? Contact the Indiana Partnership Center to get assistance, when needed, on how best to help your children in school and relate effectively with teachers and administrators. Know that with parenting always comes challenges; absolutely no one is immune from them. Take steps to learn more about the damaging impacts of media on children and we can all be more discerning of TV, films, music, gaming, books, and newspapers while we raise strong, intellectually gifted and emotionally healthy children.
To School Board Members:
We recommend joining forces with parent groups that have a particular focus on creating changes that include all children in advancing educational missions. These are the groups that often have felt left out of the fold and are too often reactionary because of this exclusion. Identifying these brave groups of parents entails getting at the grassroots levels.
To the News Media:
Report of the schools that work, offering the scope of problems that exist across school districts. Disrupt the equation between poor people and poor performing schools by pointing out the conditions that contribute to class- and race-based disparities, and strive for accuracy of information by including direct quotes of people and by achieving an understanding of communities with which one has little familiarity.
To the Teachers:
Are you willing to use instructional practices and curriculum that build on the strengths of these students? Are you willing to embrace the concept of how students learn and how they learn are equally important? Are you willing to challenge them academically and not accept haphazard performance?
To the Faith-Based and Nonprofit Organizations:
Are you willing to open your edifice for tutoring programs, parenting sessions and/or recreational programs and other activities that have the ingredients of belonging --- displacing the gangs that too often fill that gap?
To the Elected School Union Leaders:
Are you willing to combine support for contractual obligations and a flexibility for the school and teachers to connect to the instruction, curriculum and school policies that will place the success of these students as a mission of the union? Seek guidance with university faculty to determine why and how certain union policies do not work. Evaluate who sits on unions and whether or not each and every member has shown a commitment to benefiting the educational success of all children and not merely a few.
To College and University Faculty and Staff:
Take the best of what research and theory has to offer and provide the resources for teachers, school administrators, as well as parents, to help craft or improve schools. Recognize that tenure status allows for certain freedoms in speaking out against racist, elitist policies, thereby, it is essential that the academic community take bold stands with superintendents and elected official on findings related to the education debt, that is, issues like racial and class disparities in academic achievement.