"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

"There is a growing technology of testing that permits us now to do in nanoseconds things that we shouldn't be doing at all." - Dr. Gerald Bracey author of Rotten Apples in Education

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

UrbanFUTURE. A Lesson to Study and Understand How Education is Supposed to Work.

I'm trying to be optimistic in the midst of the takeover of public schools not only from the Federal Government but also special interests. When you are in the middle of information overload and the "crises" we are finding ourselves in continually according to this administration, sometimes you need to stop, take a deep breath and look for the positive aspects in the situation.

I recently had an opportunity to sit down and talk with two authentic education reformers from UrbanFUTURE. This is an privately funded organization that:

...is a “connector” of the Family, School and Community in impoverished urban areas. At the core of the model is the student whom we challenge to see and believe in his/her possibilities. At the apex is the family, the student’s primary educator, who is supported by representatives from the community and the school. UF staff brokers the connections and is housed within the school building making it the hub for family and community to convene. In this way we are addressing generational poverty at an individual and structural level.

This group provides one-on-one tutoring in elementary and middle schools and "a recent evaluation by St. Louis University shows that students read two to three grade levels higher after only one school year in UrbanFUTURE programming". What I found most interesting was UrbanFuture's philosophy:

The UrbanFUTURE mentors, staff and programs are committed to upholding the following core values: Individual Dignity, Character Formation, Family Commitment, and Academic Growth. This organization is an asset to these inner city students and it teaches them the core values which are ultimately most important in life: those of morals and values.

This is a dedicated group of administrators and teachers and it is trying to make a difference in young people's lives one at a time. It is in desperate need for more volunteers and/or mentors. If you are in the St. Louis area and could volunteer as little as two hours a week, please contact UrbanFUTURE.

Constitutionally minded education reformers are insistent that more governmental control and more mandates are not the answers for educational success; real education demands personal attention to the whole child.

Volunteering in UrbanFUTURE is an extension of this belief and truly helps children. It doesn't "teach to the test"; it provides authentic educational content.

UrbanFUTURE has been proven to help students...please consider helping children who desperately need assistance they will never obtain from the Department of Education. If you are not in the St. Louis area, seek out opportunities in your town to mentor a struggling student. These kids can't wait for the newest "miracle mandate" to free them from failure.

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