Winston-Salem chronicle. (Winston-Salem, N.C.) 1974-current, July 09, 2015, Page A7, Image 7
FORUM America, what do we do after Charleston? Marian Wright Edelman Guest Columnist "For in a warm climate, no man will labour for him self who can make another labour for him. This is so true, that of the proprietors of slaves a very small pro portion indeed are ever seen to labor. And can the liber ties of a nation be thought secure wnen we nave removea their only firm basis, a con viction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever ..." - Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, Query XVIII "The Negro race in America, stolen, ravished and degraded, struggling up through difficulties and oppres sion, needs sympathy and receives criticism, needs help and is given hindrance, needs protection and is given mob-violence, needs justice and is given charity, needs leadership and is given cowardice and apology, needs bread and is given a stone. This nation will never stand justified before God until these things are changed." - "Declaration of Principles" of the Niagara Movement, a forerunner of the NAACP's founding. I am a native South Carolinian. Charleston is my maternal ancestral home. My great- grandmother was born during slavery. My great-grandfather, 1 have been told, was a plantation overseer. Never have I been more proud and more ashamed of my dueling ancestral heritages than in the aftermath of the terroris tic murders of nine Black Christians engaged in Bible study at Charleston's his toric Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church by a young wnue man miectea oy wnat ur. King canea, arier President Kennedy's assassination, "a morally inclement climate." The young White visitor to the weekly Bible study came with a troubled spirit and racial rage inflamed by a White supremacist website. He was enabled to become a mass killer by readily accessible and largely unregulated guns - over 310 million in citizen hands and only 4 mil lion in America's law enforcement and military hands. But his dastardly deeds were bathed in an amazing spirit of forgiveness among the victims' families. I hope this latest chapter in America's pervasive histo ry of domestic terrors against millions of Black citizens victimized by slavery and Jim Crow terrorism, denied full citizen rights throughout our history, relegated to subhu man three-fifths status in our Constitution and treated like beasts of burden to fuel our unjust economic system can be squarely confronted. Until the United States sees and cures its profoundly evil birth defects of slavery, Native American genocide, and the exclusion of all women and non-propertied men of all colors from our electoral process, these birth defects will continue to flare up in multiple guises to threaten our Black community's and everyone's safety, our nation's future, and render hollow our professed but still inadequate commitment to ensuring equality for all. Slavery was followed by thousands of lynchings and racially instigated terrorism through hate groups like the KKK during the Jim Crow era. And it continues to be reflected in the unjust racial profiling and killings of Black boys and men by law enforcement agents and a mass incarceration system. Millions of Black and Latino chil dren and people of color are trapped in a cradle to prison pipeline lodged at the intersection of race and poverty. That Black children are the poorest, most miseducated, most incarcerated, most unemployed, and most demo nized of any group of children in America is a continuing legacy of slavery and Jim Crow that must end now. Let's seize this latest tragic racial terrorist act to confront our history and how we teach our history. And we must all act together to reject our present day racism in all its structur al, cultural and hidden manifestations with urgency and persistence. We must pass on to our children and grand children a more honekt and just nation and a future free of the violence-of-r^cisw, poverty and guns. I believe we are called in the aftermath of the Charleston massacre, the latest in a long and egregious history of unjust Black deaths, to confront the realities of our true history so that a new generation of White youths does not carry forth the poison of racial supremacy and White privilege. We also must act so that millions of Black, Native American and Latino children, soon to be the majority of our country's children in a majority non white world, do not have to continue to struggle against overt and covert culturally ingrained racism. We must firmly reject all symbols glorifying slavery and hatred that divide us. We must reject all efforts to subvert fair and democratic election processes including the precious right to vote. We must end mass incarceration and ensure equal justice under the law for all. We must confront massive inequality of wealth and income and end poverty, begin ning with child poverty now. It is time to commit America to become America and to close the gap between creed and deed. After this Fourth of July, let's send a ray of hope throughout our nation and world that we are committed to honoring our dream of equality for all. What an amazing grace moment we have been given to help our nation move forward together. Marian Wright Edelman is president of the Children's Defense Fund. For more information go to www.chil drensdefense .org. Learning what makes summer programs effective for middle school students Tiffany Gueye Guest Columnist Editor's Note: Building Educated Leaders for Life (BELL) will partner with school districts, business and philanthropic groups in four North Carolina cities this summer, including Winston-Salem, to help an estimated 4,500 elementary and middle school students boost their reading and math skills while partici pating in a camp-like expe rience. Summer learning can increase student achieve ment. But when it comes to middle school students, how can we continuously improve our approach and produce the greatest return on investment for children, families and schools? In 2012, a Social Innovation Fund (SIF) grant from the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation and the Corporation for National and Community Service gave my organization, BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life), an opportunity to conduct a randomized controlled trial and better understand how and why summer learning yields positive student out comes. This study was particu larly unique and important because little evidence exists about effective learn ing models for middle school students. MDRC, the research firm responsi ble for conducting the eval uation, designed the research to learn more about how summer learn ing programs can improve the academic achievement of middle school students and to better understand the context in which summer programs are implemented. The research found the impact of summer learning may be greater on students' math achievement than on reading achievement. It also found that it is possi ble to deliver high-quality programming that middle school students will volun tarily attend at a high rate. We plugged the find ings from the study into our continuous assessment process, along with data collected annually from pre- and post-program formative assessments, teacher & parent surveys, attendance records and quality metrics. Since 2012, we have focused on enhancing three core pro gram elements that are closely tied to strong stu dent outcomes: staff train ing, curriculum and assess ment. When it comes to train ing, we have learned to bet ter harness schools' talent to prepare staif to hit the ground running at the start of the summer. We also have learned to better har ness schools' talent in cus tomizing training and pro viding ongoing coaching and support to improve the quality of instruction. By shifting to a "train the trainer" model driven by school and district partners, we have increased the alignment between sum mer programs and school culture & priorities while creating leadership and professional development opportunities for teachers. We transitioned to Common Core-aligned reading and math curricula, which incorporate more non-fiction texts and alge braic reasoning. While it is tough to measure, the bene fits of creating extra time and space in the summer for teachers to plan, collab orate and experiment has yielded benefits in terms of increased comfort and familiarity with CCSS standards and assessments, leading to increased quality of instruction. Another advantage to the new cur ricula: It's fully consum able. Students can bring books and other materials home at the end of the pro gram to read and share with siblings and friends. The change to consumable cur riculum has reduced costs, eliminating the need to manage, transport and store program materials and sup plies. We also learned more about and improved the summer assessment process so that teachers and scholars are in position to succeed. We began utiliz ing computer-adaptive assessments aligned with Common Core State Standards to help teachers better use time strategically to teach the skills scholars need most. These assess ments can be administered quickly and easily by deploying iPads and lap tops, minimizing the time required for assessment and improving the quality of insight into scholars' learning needs. This transi tion has necessitated strong relationships to utilize schools' computer labs in the summer and employ mobile solutions to connect schools that lack appropri ate technology. Our recent experience investigating summer learning for middle school students also has sharpened our sense of what else we need to learn. The study was conducted at schools implementing BELL's model for the first time; now we need to learn more about the impact of well established programs. We need evidence from large scale studies that can yield stronger conclusions. And we have more to learn about how to best measure student outcomes because academic achievement is only one piece of the puz zle when it comes to rais ing smart, healthy, confi dent and determined stu dents. We've increased our focus on socio-emotional learning in addition to building core reading and math skills. A big part of this is fostering a "growth mindset" that helps schol ars learn that despite any challenges they can improve, overcome adver sity and take ownership of their success. That requires an emotional buy-in from middle school students as a precondition for academic progress, so setting a posi tive tone and culture from Day 1 is a must. The sum mer is such a great oppor tunity to cultivate a can-do mindset as teachers have more time, space and flexi bility to support scholars' individual needs. We encourage schools, community organizations, donors and partners to con tinue exploring these ques tions to gain a deeper understanding of how and why summer learning boosts student achieve ment. Every question and every answer will help us better meet the learning needs of adolescents. Dr. Tiffany Gueye is the chief executive officer oj BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life). She holds a PhD. in education al research, evaluation and measurement from Boston College and sits on the board of the Center for Effective Philanthropy. A Democracy North Carolina summer brings grassroots experience BY VASHTIHINTON, KEITH CHAPPELLE AND AMANDA Bmjps This summer, Linda Sutton, a croud * native of Winston Salem, N.C. and known freedom fight er, is working with three bril liant college students in die Piedmont Triad area. Her goal is to expose us to the world of full-time organizing and all that it entails, and how to work together with various peo ple in the Triad. From phone banking to canvass ing downtown, we have been able to do it all. As interns for Democracy North Carolina, a nonprofit and non-partisan organiza tion we have focused on civic engagement, research and advo cacy. While this sum mer may be the busiest summer of them all because of the federal court hearing on North Carolina's voter sup pression laws [sched Sutton uled for July 13], we are truly enjoying ourselves. We have met with elected officials, community lead ers, and many members of their community. Each day Submitted photo In the photo (L-R) are Vashti Hinton, Keith Chappelle and Amanda Billips. presents something new, munity organizing aner tne and the foundation is being internship comes to an laid for us to continue com- end. "This summer has been extremely busy, but I have learned and am still learn ing how valuable grass roots organizing is. People don't understand what it takes to be at the very root of it all, doing all the dirty work because you believe in a better tomorrow." - Vashti Hinton "It is at the heart of the community where change emerges. This is something I learned from studying history and political sci ence, but I have been able to experience this firsthand through my internship. If you want to bring about change for the better, it is imperative that you have the active support of your % community." - Keith Chappeile "We really do not real ize what things entail until you are actually doing the hands-on, grassroots work yourself. You cannot com plain about how things are if you are not engaged yourself. I urge you to get involved immediately, for if you don't, as my supervi sor often reminds us, 'for evil flourishes when good people do nothing'. Our democracy depends on your participation." - Amanda Billips For more information, contact Linda Sutton at 336-870-2168.