Excerpt from the introduction to The Trouble With Black Boys … and other reflections on Race, Equity, and the future of Public Education, by Pedro A. Noguera. Just started reading it this morning in the carpool.
“I do not make light of the difficulty in addressing the needs of troubled students. Children who come from homes without adequate supervision, guidance, and support post a tremendous challenge to the educators charged with serving their academic needs. I also do not take the positions that schools should be expected to solve these problems by themselves. Charged with the task of educating disadvantaged and neglected children, many educators find themselves overwhelmed by their needs, many of which have little to do with academic learning, but are much more related to their health, unmet social needs, and emotional well-being. In cities, towns, trailer parks, and housing projects across the United States, there are growing numbers of children in such circumstances (Children’s Defense Fund, 2006). If our society is to find ways to reduce the numbers who end up permanently unemployed, incarcerated, or prematurely dead, we must do more to address their needs, especially while they are young.”
Later on in the same introductory essay:
“Despite all of the ways in which educational reforms may have taken the soul out of education — overemphasizing testing and underemphasizing learning, treating teachers like technicians rather than creative professionals, humiliating schools that serve poor children instead of providing them with the support and resources they need — the fact remains that through education, we have the potential and power to open minds, tap the imagination, cultivate skills, and inspire the innate ability in all human beings to dream and create. This is what makes education such a special endeavor, and this is why public schools remain our most valuable resource.”