Thursday, March 27, 2014


*Commentary from Barry Brown (Business, Education & Entertainment Consultant)

--- Senior Program Coordinator/Trainer/Presenter with The "Make A Way" Education Program 

As I travel around the country keynoting, conducting breakout sessions and sharing "Make A Way" Education Program materials with education conference attendees, I usually hear the same stories no matter where the school is located in the United States.

In a recent visit to a high school, I was informed that two upper-class football players are facing tribunal for having sexual relations with a female sophomore on the school elevator.

I was also informed that a substitute teacher got into a physical altercation with a student that physically challenged them.

You see, these are just a couple of examples of what is going on in our schools across the country.

One of the ways to find out what your children are doing at school is to physically visit the school on a frequent basis. All of the top performing schools have one thing in common for sure, parent volunteers and participation.

With the tremendous advancement in technology, parents of a particular class (i.e. Class of 2014) may choose to start a Facebook Group to highlight successes and to discuss issues and brainstorm on solutions.

Expectations of our young people is very important! As parents and adults, we literally cannot afford to continue to coddle them because they will actually grow up and not be able to handle any type of adverse situation. We have socially promoted too many young men and women that end up being these very disruptive 17-18 year old 9th graders. We have to teach them to be accountable for their actions and push, pull and encourage them to move forward in their lives in a positive and productive manner!

Now parents, I understand that many of you are out here working your behinds off to take care of your family, but we have to take the time to invest in our children. It is a sacrifice, but it is more than worth it. If we do not show our children that education is important, then they will not take education seriously:

- Do you know if your child can read well or at all?
- Do you know your child can't verbally express themselves very well?
- Do you know your child is late to school everyday?
- Do you know your child is late to every class, every day?
- Do you know your child refuses to be a student at school?
- Do you know your child wears a headset and listens to music in class all day?
- Do you know your child is texting and using social media all day at school?
- Do you know your child talks on the phone during school all day?
- Do you know your child uses profanity in front of and at adults everyday?
- Do you know your child is in the stairwell or at their locker kissing?
- Do you know your child is walking around the school all day or leaving campus frequently?
- Do you know your child is in a gang?
- Do you know your child is selling drugs and stolen merchandise?
- Do you know your child is using drugs?
- Do you know your child has a gun?
- Do you know your daughter is pregnant?
- Do you know your son is about to become a teenage father?
- Do you know your child has a STD and/or HIV?
- Do you know your child is FAILING almost every class?

This is what is going on at too many schools across this country everyday! It's embarrassing and terribly sad!

I can go on and on, but I digress because we can save a lot of our children as long as we are willing to love, teach and discipline them.

Instead of buying our children designer shoes, clothes, and phones, let's invest that money into tutors and/or a professional learning center to at least get our children up to grade level, and preferably well above grade level!

We actually have an epidemic, and there's not enough people talking about the situation in our public schools across the country. If we continue socially passing our children, not holding them accountable and not disciplining them. What should we expect from them as a adults? It's actually very scary. I am really understanding that this rising generation may truly be the 1st generation that does not do better than the one before it. That's a dim view of the future for a lot people. What skills do they possess now? What kind of professional skills are they capable of learning and developing? Where are these young people going to work? What kind of businesses are they going to start?

If your child is one of the young people that is achieving and coming to school to be an actual student, then it is imperative that we create and maintain high level learning environments for the young people that want to learn and grow! We have to nourish our best minds and students putting forth effort just as much or more than the energy we put into the young people that literally run around the school all day and cause our better students to suffer.

I understand that a lot of parents are in denial, but once we face reality and decide to put the work in with our children to make sure we give them the best educational support and encouragement that we can; we will see the light shine in our children! It's us as parents and adults that make the difference, and we can do it!

Schools are being consolidated (*closed) and more prisons are being built. Parents, guess who they are building these jails for, our children ---

  • Data reported (Ed Week) for the 2010-11 academic year marks the first time all of the states used a uniform measure to calculate graduation rates, in accordance with a compact signed by the nation's governors in an effort to improve accuracy and accountability.
    Significant jumps in the percentages of black and Latino students graduating were an important factor in the improved nationwide graduation rate, according to Ed Week. The full report, and the spotlight stories focusing on efforts to get dropouts back in school, is well worth reading. I was particularly interested in the data on young adults ages 16-21. Here's what that group - 27 million -- looks like nationally:

    • More than 20 million are in school, either K-12 or higher ed;
    • 5.1 million graduated but are not enrolled in a post-secondary institution;
    • 1.8 million young adults (which, not surprisingly, includes a disproportionate percentage of minorities) have left school without a diploma. Of those 1.2 million of them -- 66 percent -- are not working.

Parents, get involved, stay in tune with your children and set expectations for your children. We all have to do it. Superintendents, Administrators, Teachers and Staff, we all have to want our students to learn and not just prepare for standardized tests. Let's truly educate our children so that they grow into skilled and productive adults. Our children have the capacity to learn, and will learn if we LOVE, TEACH & DISCIPLINE them.  


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