Spreading Good News (Part 220 – Joyce Fields’ Published Editorial #3)

The goal of Spreading Good News is for readers to:

GET INSPIRED and/or GET MOTIVATED and/or GET INFORMED and/or GET AWE-STRUCK and/or GET A BREAK FROM ALL THE NEGATIVE NEWS!!

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BOOKS MAKE EXCELLENT GIFTS!  CHECK THESE OUT AND ORDER HERE: http://www.GoodShortBooks.com.

VIEW OUR CABLE TV AD HERE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2AXHTT8NGT8

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TODAY’S QUOTE

WHEN WE PUT OUR CARES IN HIS HANDS, HE PUTS HIS PEACE IN OUR HEARTS.

~ Unknown

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TODAY’S BLOG

In 1997, I wrote two editorials and submitted them to The Detroit Free Press. In 1999, I wrote one editorial and submitted it to The Detroit Free Press. In each case, they changed the title and published the editorial—verbatim!

It’s amazing how relevant these three editorials still are today—nearly 15 years later.

Here’s the third (and last) one, which was published on February 14, 1999.

Please leave a comment to let me know what you think.

 

NOTE:  Because the upload specs make the editorial less clear, I have included the full transcript first.

“Provide kids with role models, and sell them education”

When discussions are about improvements, the students are left out of the interaction.

The word is out that Detroit high school graduates are not job ready.  Well, according to Peter Jennings’ recent news report, it’s not just Detroit students who are being educationally shortchanged.  Of all the industrialized nations, United States students rank near the bottom in reading, writing, math and science.  And a whopping 90 percent of America’s students attend public schools.

We need to stop pointing fingers and look at education on a national level, then zoom in on our own particular areas.

It’s sad that society has not proved to children—all children—that education pays.  Unlike violence, drinking, smoking and sex, education is something they seldom see taking place.  When they look at movies and television, they seldom see actors and actresses playing roles of educated people.

No leaders have been tooting the horn, informing all young schoolchildren that this is the Information Age, and it is crucial that they learn well their reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic.  No leaders have told them that, no matter what they dream of becoming, if they know how to read, write and do math, they’ll be better at it.  No leaders have gotten them to “buy into” their own education; as far as the kids are concerned, going to school is something they have to do.  ‘Cause. . .

Most of us know that when the word “Detroit” or the phrase “urban area” is used, the emphasis is generally on black people, and black students seldom, if ever, see people in positions that show that education pays.  They don’t see black men and women in charge of major corporations; history books don’t show them black U.S. senators, vice presidents or presidents.  When they look around their neighborhoods and communities, they seldom see black lawyers, chemists, doctors, engineers or physicists.  And, considering America’s poor global showing, the average white child must seldom, see white lawyers, chemists, doctors, engineers and physicists.

It’s now obvious that so-called leaders in education have failed miserably.  They have failed the students; they have failed the business community; they have failed society.  This has been happening for more than 20 years.

Way back in 1974—that’s right, 1974—when I was the supervisor of Detroit Edison’s Word Processing Center, many new hires (black and white, male and female) in keyboard operator jobs were performing below average in grammar:  Their spelling skills were poor, their punctuation skills were poor, they had huge problems with homonyms (site, sight and cite, for example) and they were not being taught the correct way of preparing business documents.  I was amazed that teachers weren’t communicating with us to find out what we needed.  I was too busy running the center to communicate with the teachers, so I started giving little grammar lessons and got them to “unlearn” what they had been taught in school, then trained them on the way we did things.  At that time, I had no idea that the problem would continue into the ’90s.

Well, here we are in 1999, on the brink of a new century, and students in America—the world’s richest country, the world’s only superpower—rank near the bottom in core subjects.

What can Michigan and Detroit do to improve education for their students?  It doesn’t take a lot of sophisticated solutions.  And it doesn’t take a lot of money, either.  You can teach a child to read using a few books, a couple of pencils and a few sheets of paper, sitting under a tree, in the dark, with a flashlight!  Once that child learns to read and understand words, math and science become easier.

Most of the time, when discussions are about change or improvements, the students are left out of the interaction.  One of the first things we have to do is get students engaged in their own education.  We must be on a mission!  We have to fully explain to students the difference between the preceding Industrial Age, where education was not so critical, and today’s Information Age, where education is vital to their future success and ability to compete globally.

Today’s youth are visually oriented.  We need people in the business community and college/university instructors to provide public-service announcement videos, telling students what they need to know in order to function well and be successful in these environments.  These videos could be shown on local television, as well as in classrooms.

As we all know, our kids idolize athletes, singers, rap stars, and movie stars.  These people would probably be delighted to make public-service announcement videos, telling students about their educational experiences, their grade-point averages, and that they are high school graduates.  They could reinforce the concept that it’s cool to be intelligent.  Just as we sell—and students buy—gym shoes, sweat shirts, compact discs, cassettes and movie tickets, we can sell—and they’ll buy—education!

I wonder how many of our students actually know about America’s ranking among industrialized nations.  If we tell them, loud and clear, that students in other countries are giving them a big-time academic beating, I bet they would rise to the challenge.  Not only would they quickly become job ready, they would do us all proud by dramatically rising from the depths to the higher levels.  Let’s present them with the challenge—now.

 

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~ Joyce Fields

 

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About Line of Serenity (Joyce Fields)

As a thought leader for today's generation, I choose to be part of the solution and am doing things that positively impact people's lives. In addition to being a happy, married (since 1967!) woman, sister, aunt, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, I have over 40 years' experience in "Corporate America": Stenographer, Secretary, Supervisor, Analyst, Office Manager, Executive Assistant. I am also a professional proofreader and the author of eight books (seven non-fiction; one children's fiction--http://www.GoodShortBooks.com).
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4 Responses to Spreading Good News (Part 220 – Joyce Fields’ Published Editorial #3)

  1. Lena says:

    I loved the editorial. It is so true, you don’t need much to teach kids to read. Some people make it seem so difficult. What they need is consistency and knowing someone cares enough to make sure they learn it. I think we underestimate children and think they don’t want to learn, but kids love learning.

    I also, had to smile at the photo in the paper. The glasses….the hair. Nothing but a smile on my face.

    • Hi, John253! Thanks for the comment!! Yes, it’s my site; glad you like it. I wrote the editorials, but I also post information, articles, poems, etc., written by others–anything that I think would be inspirational, motivational, educational, useful to those who read my blog. I hope you come back often!

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