85% of Detroit's population is black with 35% of the city in poverty. Per a report in one of Detroit's local newspapers only 70% of Detroit adults are employed or graduated from high school and 80% of children attending DPS are in poverty. Detroit will never again become a vibrant city if the education level of its population does not rise. What does the city need to do to turn this around and what will it cost? There are no overnight solutions and to expect significant results in less than a decade is setting up the city to fail.
Experienced educators know what needs to be done. A plan needs to be developed and implemented that includes shaping core success skills for the student to learn. Students need to associate hard work and effort with success. Students must expect if they put forth the effort success will happen. In order to learn students must practice. Students must learn persistence in their quest for knowledge. These traits are learned from ones home life with parents playing a central role in character development.
Schools can help with these basic skills..Detroit needs to accept reality that because of high poverty and unemployment rates and many single parent households, children in the city need additional support from the school.
Detroit Public Schools, DPS, must find a way to overcome these issues. All communities face these challenges but Detroit, because of the above circumstances and decades of neglect by the city's institutions, the problems are more acute. Proof that Detroit's children can form these skills is demonstrated in professional sports such as football, basketball and the entertainment field where blacks dominate at a rate far in excess of their share of the general population.
Good Habits Matter
It is near impossible to work hard to achieve if you have little hope. In today's world it is recognized that a high school education is not enough. Many of Detroit's students see little hope of attending college because the cost of doing so makes it prohibitive. This is where a program like Kalamazoo Promise comes into play. It is a program available to any high school graduate from a Kalamazoo public high school who graduates and qualifies to attend college. He or she is guaranteed free tuition and books to any public university in the state. This assures the student that his academic efforts will not be nullified because of the family not being able to afford a college education.
It takes more than brains to do well in school. It requires discipline, the willingness to struggle and put in extra effort, the ability to focus and not give up. What separates the good athlete from one who is average has as much to do with being ready to do what must be done between games, including practice and personal training, as it does with ones God given abilities.
The same is true in the academic world. The city's schools must accept the challenge of instilling a good work ethic which does not allow one to give up.
In Eastern culture the willingness to struggle to overcome obstacles to learn is praised and encouraged. NPR has a eight minute podcast comparing the difference in approaches to learning called "Struggle For Smarts? How Eastern And Western Cultures Tackle Learning" which is worth hearing.
Per the narrator "I think that from very early ages we [in America] see struggle as an indicator that you're just not very smart," Stigler says. "It's a sign of low ability — people who are smart don't struggle, they just naturally get it, that's our folk theory. Whereas in Asian cultures they tend to see struggle more as an opportunity.
In Eastern cultures, Stigler says, it's just assumed that struggle is a predictable part of the learning process. Everyone is expected to struggle in the process of learning, and so struggling becomes a chance to show that you, the student, have what it takes emotionally to resolve the problem by persisting through that struggle."DPS Needs A Plan And Resources To Implement It
What do you think needs to be part of the plan? To Be continued!