Education and Community

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By  Stanley Kinard

Condolences go out to the family of Mr. Arnell Lacy, a longtime resident of McDonough Street.  At his funeral, I met Ms. Virginia Hawkins, who I was amazed to find out is 99 years old.  I indeed felt blessed when she informed me that she reads my column on a regular basis.  Oh what a blessing to see an elder in good health and sound mind.  There is so much that we can learn from our elders and what some people call senior citizens.  They have a wealth of knowledge and experience that we don’t utilize.  In developing a new pedagogy for teaching kids, senior citizens must play a role in the education of our children.  Years back, there was more emphasis of intergenerational education and we need to bring these programs back into our school system.
Residents are urged to come out and vote this Tuesday, September 18th, 2007 for Ms. Diana Johnson for Surrogate Judge.  Ms. Johnson was recently endorsed by Rev. Al Sharpton; Mr. Roger Toussaint, President of the Transit Workers Union, Councilpersons Charles Barron, Al Vann and Letitia James, Congresswoman Yvette Clarke and a host of other clergy and elected officials.  Ms. Johnson is also endorsed by The Daily News.  History will be made if Ms. Johnson is elected as the 1st Black ever elected to this position in Brooklyn.  It will set the trend for Charles Barron to become Brooklyn’s 1st Black Borough President in 2009
Great news at Boys and Girls High School is that Mr. Chris Smith, a former student, was recently named Assistant Principal in charge of Performing Arts and Community Affairs.  Mr. Smith, a prot‚g‚ of Frank Mickens, is a resident of Bedford-Stuyvesant and has served as a Special Education teacher and coordinator of student activities for the past few years.  Back in the day, he was affectionately called “Little Mick.”  Principal Spencer Holder has made an excellent choice as he moves forward in establishing his leadership at  Boys and Girls High.  We expect to hear about many new initiatives as this very challenging school year develops. We shouldn’t have to pay kids to go to school.  If schools were relevant to students’ cultural experience they would be excited about going to school.  In a recent plan to combat poverty released by Mayor Bloomberg , students and parents can earn up to $5,000 if they do the things as outlined in the plan. Under the plan, students will receive $25-$50 per month for 95% school attendance.  They will receive $600 for every Regent Exam that they pass.   Now that the mayor has realized that his initiatives for school reform have failed, he is doing what he knows best.  That is, to use his money to buy whatever he wants as he bought the election to become Mayor of New York City. 
While there is value to a reward system, I don’t like the approach; however, critics believe that we should wait prior to passing judgment of this program.  Many parents are supportive of the program because they can earn up to $5,000.
The Adelaide Sanford Institute will host a daylong conference Saturday Sept. 22nd at Medgar Evers College.  The conference is titled, “Creating a Culture of Success for Students of African Ancestry.”  This conference is sponsored by The Adelaide L. Sanford Institute an outgrowth of the Brooklyn Education Task Force.  Some of the presenters include Dr. Lester Young, Dr. Frank Mickens, Bernard Gassaway, Dr. Adelaide Sanford and Dr. Edward Joyner.