One of the faculty who had worked with an elementary school where the teachers visited the homes of each parent shared how they start each meeting with a simple, yet profound question: "What are your hopes and dreams for your child?"
This billboard looms ominously over a busy thoroughfare in a troubled neighborhood. A creation of the Ad Council, it is designed to reduce school truancy. In fact, it is more likely to have the opposite effect by making dropping out seem acceptable.
We all win if we embrace, "The Hispanic Moment." We must invest in second and third generation Latino youth and simultaneously promote their assent to the middle class and create workers to offset the costs of a graying society.
In the ten years since the launch of No Child Left Behind, these efforts have intensified. The results have been unimpressive. Graduation rates continue to falter and students and teachers alike are becoming more disaffected. So what's the real problem here?
It is imperative that we start treating all children the same by giving them equal opportunity to maximize their full potential. We cannot reduce poverty if we continue to relegate our kids to low expectations.
Something that really made a difference in my life was having the support from my teacher and mentors at Central High School. Maybe if more young people had supportive adults around them then they wouldn't give up so easily.
The idea that strong relationships impact student success shouldn't be anything new to educators. But the implication -- that race, background and gender are not destiny, and that focused interventions produce tangible results -- is enormous.