Racism: America’s Generational Curse

Four Indisputable Truths

Diverse ClassroomCan you envision creating a model school with NO HINT of racism, prejudice, discrimination, or domination, based on the realization of Four Indisputable Truths:

  1. Racism is indeed America’s Generational Curse
  2. Every citizen has the right to the opportunity to realize their dream, to develop their gifts and talents, and make a self-determined contribution to America.
  3. America will greatly benefit if all of its citizens have equal access to opportunity
  4. Children are born to learn

The first step in realizing such a vision and creating the model is to openly examine the history and sociocultural and sociopolitical context of education in America…starting with Columbus, the Puritans and their encounter with Native Americans and ending in the present day. If we as Americans understand where we are as a nation and acknowledge the truth of how we got here, then we can begin serious discussions on how to change our nation citizen by citizen by rethinking education for the purpose of eradicating racism in America’s schools, and ultimately the nation.

Rethinking Schools

How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience and School

God’s Economy

The Four Anchors of God’s Economy

Read The Economy of God by Tom Meaglia

Ownership – Remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth. (Deuteronomy 8:18). The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it. (1 Corinthians 10:26)

Stewardship – Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men. (Colossians 3:23). In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has. (Proverbs 21:20)

Giving – One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. (Proverbs 11:24-25). And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35)

Contentment – I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all things through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:11-13)

Team Up for Women: Sawu Bona!

Breast Cancer Awareness in South Africa

Sawu Bona is a Zulu greeting meaning “I see you”.  I learned this phrase in November of 2008 when I had the honor and privilege of traveling to South Africa on a mission. I was a member of a five-person team with one goal in mind: to build awareness and provide breast cancer education to the women in rural areas of the KwaZulu-Natal region of South Africa. We used necklaces of variable-sized wooden beads to demonstrate the different sizes of tumors and the importance of early detection. We also used a model of a breast to simulate breast self-examination.

We worked with Mpilonhle, a community-based organization comprised of some of the most amazing women I have ever met. We touched the lives of nearly 400 people in workshops during the week we were there. This was indeed one of the most inspirational highlights of my life!



Journey Towards Mastery: Early Completion

In the pursuit of a Masters in Educational Leadership I decided to take two courses in the winter quarter at Capella University. This was a bold step given that I have a full time corporate career, a business as a Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant, and a very active three-year old grandson. So, this was an experiment to see if I could “hang”: managing a double course load, organizing my time to complete all assignments, and managing my professional life. It was tough…but I found out that it was also doable! Based on the results of this experiment I have decided to continue doubling the course load which means I will finish all the course work by December of 2011! The Bible says I can do all things through Christ, which strengthens me and His strength is exactly what I need to pull this off. Those of you who know the worth of prayer please lift a sistah up! Here’s a recap of my winter quarter courses:

Historical and Social Foundations of Education

This course was an in-depth look at the historical and social foundations of the American system of public education, beginning with the colonial era and ending with the Obama era. The conclusion I have reached is that systemic and institutionalized racism is a root cause of many of the ills faced by public schools today. There was much discussion of multicultural learning communities, culturally responsive teaching, and education as human development. I read quite a bit of the writings of Paulo Freire, an important 20th century educator and author of Pedagogy of the Oppressed,  who viewed education as either domination and control or liberation and freedom. I focused much of my own writing on the education of Native Americans and the boarding school experience.

Teaching and Learning in Diverse Populations

Much of this course was based on the work of Sonia Nieto, author of The Light in Their Eyes: Creating Multicultural Learning Communities, and Geneva Gay, author of Culturally Responsive Teaching: Theory, Research, and Practice.  Both presented major insights into the importance of recognizing the role that culture and language play in teaching and learning; the role teachers can play in transforming the lives of students; and culturally responsive pedagogy. Nieto addresses some of the changes in the past decade that explain our current sociopolitical educational environment – an increasingly diverse society, the influence of poverty, and the impact of NCLB. Gay demonstrates that students perform better and achieve more when teaching is filtered through their cultural experiences.

Journey Towards Mastery: The Achievement Gap

Strategies for Eliminating the Achievement Gap

As  an online Capella University student I am just beginning my new course, Strategies for Eliminating the Achievement Gap, as I advance toward earning a Masters in Education, specializing in educational leadership. The course addresses differences in student achievement due to cultural, gender, racial, social, and economic factors. The course examines current research and best practices with a focus on identifying those practices and instructional strategies most likely to eliminate achievement disparities.

My long-term goal is to develop an education model for a school that
1) is a high quality, effective, and productive learning community, where learning for all students truly is the top priority
2) is free of racism, discrimination, and inequity in any form
3) where a cross-functional, collaborative and engaging partnership exists between school board members, administrators, teachers, students, parents, and the larger community.

What’s Your Personal Brand?

Personal Branding

According to personal branding experts, there is a direct correlation between increasing personal brand equity and achieving success.   Personal branding is how we market ourselves to others.  This blog is my first step towards  truly discovering and developing my personal brand. I have begun research to better understand the process of personal branding, the benefits, and potential success outcomes. Here are some online resources I have identified:

Personal Branding 101

Personal Branding Blog

The Leadership Challenge