Wednesday, August 26, 2009

how can we as individuals help city school students?

Even though the Youngstown Early College (YEC) was awarded the highest rating in the state's report card system - an "Excellent", meeting 11 of 12 indicators and a performance index of 103.9 out of 120 - the city's school district as a whole did not fare as well.

While I am curious as to what percentage of city residents actually have children of school-attending age, the desire to make life better for the kids of our city should come as a responsibility to all city residents, if not everyone in the metro region.

- - -

now an open question, looking for honest answers:

so besides paying our property taxes, what can we as private citizens do to improve the education and well-being of children that are growing up in the city?

I'm looking for ways individuals can help.

I'm looking for names and programs and suggestions such that people that come to this blog in the future will see outstanding solutions in the "comments" section.

big brothers-big sisters?



The Stage said...

is it necessary to create new programs when these programs already exist? we have a big brothers big sisters program, after school groups, junior achievement, community theaters, museums...the oakland returns to ytown city schools this fall with its children's touring theater group...the problem isn't a lack of's a lack of connectivity.

Youngstown City Event Calendar said...

true, maybe we can put something together to tthat would bring all these groups together and then couple them with community activists and organizers who will be willing to donate the time and energy to tutor and mentor. I would love to help put this together

Kiwanis Club of Youngstown said...

The Kiwanis Club of Youngstown has been trying to help students in the city schools for years. Please include us as you organize the various groups.

Janko said...

what is the contact information (email, phone number) for the Kiwanis Club of Youngstown and can you briefly describe the programs you are operating to help city school students?

downforce said...

Constructive dialouge is a good start. Plenty of questions that need pondered. All the programs and tutors etc. are a wonderful asset and aid what the education system is trying to do. I have children in the system and see daily, parents who dont value education as a means to a better life. Some seem too consumed with their own struggles and seeking ways to numb their pain.
My question, how do we educate adults as to the extreme importance of educating their children to best prepare them for a future of positivity and progress instead of status quo?

Christopher Barzak said...

I've often pondered the same question that "downforce" asks in his post. Many of the problems in the city schools are not due to the city school system itself, nor due to the lack of organizations attempting to help. I do think Brooke has a point that perhaps the organizations could perform in concert together, creating stronger efforts if connectivity was established between the individual organizations. But we will still have to deal with many of the problems at home for our city children, who often are growing up in poverty-stricken homes, which come replete with despair and all of the many related issues that desperate people turn to as temporary respites from that same despair, creating more problems in the process.

There was an article in the Vindicator yesterday about a woman who visited Warren Schools to teach teachers how to interact and how to relate to children of poverty-stricken homes. I agree with everything the Vindy summarized in regards to what she advised. Unfortunately, if you follow the link to the article and read some of the commenters on the article, you will find what I think is probably a good representation of how many middle and upper middle class folk in the region think in regards to people who live in poverty, and their children. In summation: they're black, they're criminals, they're not doing what they need to do, they're not my problem.

Which is the very problem our region faces: an underlying racism that is actually not so underlying as it is unconscious in the white population. Many of the people who hold these particularly racist and classist beliefs are unable to see that they are racist and classist.

So, perhaps we can try to figure out how to educate parents in these broken-down homes in regards to the importance of education for their children.

And perhaps we should also focus on educating the middle and upper middle classes of the region that the problems of poverty that plague Youngstown and Warren's African American populations are not something "those people" deserve inherently, and are in part problems because of a refusal to truly integrate the races in this region. Whites in the burbs, blacks and Others in the urban sectors, along with some bohemian whites and intellectuals and die-hard community organizers.

If we begin to talk about educating poverty-stricken parents, we must also begin to talk about educating the white middle and upper middle classes in terms of how the problems of the urban poor are also their problems, and perhaps that they are partially the root of the problem, if you go back far enough, and trace the problem down through the previous generations and their refusal to integrate completely.

Much of the racism in this area can be traced back to corporate mill owners turning African Americans and Caucasians against each other in the workplace. If perhaps we could teach these two populations that they have far more in common than they realize, and that the enmity between these groups was seeded and fostered by the owning classes that once dominated the manufacturing industry here, we could perhaps begin to heal some of the race and class issues we are dealing with in our region.

How to go about it? No clue, really. It's Big Stuff. And much of it revolves around belief, which is the most difficult thing to talk about with people, who are often very attached to their beliefs, regardless of their validity.

Liz Hill said...

The Wean foundation is having the 3rd annual nonprofit conference on 9/22 at YSU -
see here
One of the breakout sessions is called Public School and Nonprofit Partnerships. I am new to the area and don't know what the history of the foundation is, but this might be an interesting discussion place to coordinate the work of these groups.