Thursday, November 8, 2007

reading and writing, again

Day 7 - nada.
Day 8 - word count 3012. Not much, but it's there.

I attended the conference "Facing the Challenge of Reading Problems: Focus for Educators", sponsored by the Western New York chapter of the International Dyslexia Association. It was spectacular - super inspiring. Their "keynote" speaker was Rob "Sparktop" Langston, motivational speaker from Atlanta, Georgia who claimed to be "learning disabled" but prevailed through elementary, middle, high school and college, through hard work and the advocacy of his mother, himself, and his teachers. His talk truly affirmed the importance of acknowledging and building upon the student's existing strengths, and the ultimate goal of helping students become productive members of society. He pointed out that reading and writing and math are man-made tools needed to succeed in our society, and we teachers are the gatekeepers. He compared reading and writing skills to surgery - what do you say to the child who isn't born with those skills? You say, you can learn, you're smart, work hard, and be a productive member of society. He started the talk with a story about speaking to juveniles who were serving hard prison time due to the severity of the crimes, and given the high percentage (he claimed 80) of prisoners who had learning disabilities, he challenged educators to keep these kids in school and out of the penal system.

I'm tired. I'll continue this discussion another time.


jenamoured said...

yeah, i'd like to keep my kids in school and out of the prison system, too.

roller coaster teacher said...

Ok, I know it's cheesy and self-serving to believe "stay in school" is the magic answer to life's problems - but IT'S TRUE!!!

jenamoured said...

it's at least the answer to some of life's problems.

Orchid in the Bronx said...

Just finished "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn," and Francie Nolan (and her mother and grandmother) would say the same! Education is everything. I believe it.

roller coaster teacher said...

Amendment: "Stay in school" makes all life's problems EASIER to solve. Conversely, drop out and make life's problems harder.

I saw this when I worked in fair housing law. Housing discrimination reached across race and socioeconomic categories - but victims who were poor were least successful in enforcing their legal rights. OK, the legal system in general is stacked against the poor. Can you say OJ?