Improving education for African American boys
Lisa Jones Johnson talks about how to stop the cycle of disengagement and foster high academic performance
- Duration 10:52
- Date Mar 15, 2012
Lisa Jones Johnson talks about how to stop the cycle of disengagement and foster high academic performance
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I really appreciated so she is an author co-founder of global broadcasting partner and an attorney.
But Lisa Jones Johnson is here today because she's a mother who realize that her African American son it was being underserved in -- world of education so what's a Renaissance woman to do.
Well of course started pilot program for African American -- Five through KRK through five -- you're -- busy.
Busy lady -- -- where so many hats but I know your role as mother is very important to -- as with all mothers so tell us about.
The Mike roll learning foundation pilot program and why do you believe.
It's so critical Lisa.
Well it says essentially he said it's a K through five program it's essentially a cross between.
A whole school and a charter school.
And it is particularly critical was as you mentioned with African American boys these days.
They are being underserved I found that with my son he started -- in school.
Eliciting a grade ahead in both reading and math and to within a few months he regressed.
And I thought well you know what I can sit around I can complain or can do something.
And so the something was I started my own program and I approach UCLA's grad school education.
-- blackmail institute they got very excited to good on his long term.
Research project and then I went about trying to find a location and I ultimately ended up partnering with the Boys and Girls Club of Hollywood so.
We started it's going.
And we're really trying to change education not just for hearing loss and just so we're trying to really do something that we can roll out nationwide.
Okay so is it so -- up and running bear the Boys and Girls Club -- in Hollywood so -- it full time how many hours a day at this point.
Always full time the kids start at 7:30 AM and they go until 2:30 PM so it's a regular program.
And you know it's this first the semesters are a pre pilot.
And we're doing second grade but will be adding -- to grades every year since September.
Will -- second and third and then the next year will lead first and fourth and so we get to K through five so it is a regular program.
But the difference is that is an individualized learning program and so they the boys are gonna go as fast as they can if they need extra help they can.
But it's it's something that is to address the issue of teaching to the mean which is that.
You know they sort of is that the traditional educational policy.
Sort of dumb you down and so we're trying to say look we can have an individual individualized program.
That is focused.
And which really meets the needs of the children and -- imagine your teacher student ratio it is very desirable.
Oh yeah we have and it's essentially their five kids.
For -- there's a master teacher who rotates between two groups of five children.
Two classrooms of five and then there's a grad student.
I in the classroom at all times and so again the focus is on individualized learning program a lot of hands on work.
You know a lot of emphasis on the core subjects in the ideas for the kids to all be a minimum of one to two grade levels above any such.
And when you say course subject you're talking about the did.
And he said that if they accelerate -- they did that teachers there are are ready to go with the kids in and also pushed them to accelerate but when we are talking about.
I don't -- think -- -- I don't think there's much standard -- here's your pilot program there but you know we read we want to make sure the people know that they and the kids are getting the basics correct.
Oh yes oh yes we have math we have reading we have social studies.
We have history we have science we have art.
We have an hour of PE every day because this is an all boys program and boys have a much different energy level isn't sure you know -- girls -- And so we'd like to keep them busy keep them active and so it's really the way school used to be back -- and when you and I were in school when you actually had.
A full day that was devoted to learning and and that's really what we're trying to bring back.
Tell me is you say that you notice that your son had sort of fallen behind what was it that you.
-- specifically was -- something in his homework that you noticed what was his comprehension slacking what was it.
It was actually a combination of all of the above when he entered kindergarten we had -- tested.
And he'd been in a program prior to that during the summer and he tested -- full grade level above in both reading and math.
But when he got to his kindergarten class they didn't test and then they didn't challenge him -- so literally within three months.
He regressed back so much so that the teacher that he had during the summer came in and and showed his regular teachers work -- -- look.
What happened you know this kid was -- a grade level above now he's barely at grade level.
And it just continue to get worse overseas -- second grade.
And and so again I said look I can't sit -- I can't sit back here and have my son be a statistic.
And that is exactly I believe what would've happened if I hadn't been proactive and when I started talking to other mothers who had African American sons.
It was the same thing we all were experiencing the same thing and I -- you know I've got to do something about this and so I started reading the literature and realize that.
Not only were African American boys falling behind the boys generally are falling behind and that's why I decided to make it an all -- program.
And again the goal is to roll this out nationwide the goal is to create a template.
For a small group learning environment they can essentially be.
Adopted by activist parents across the country.
You know parents who are concerned -- who want the best for their children right and so it's not just for African American boys it's literally something that we.
We hopeful change the face of education for all children.
And who but you are focusing on African American boys as a starter Rick as you were African American clearly your your son is why did -- do you feel that.
It was -- situation again mainly for African American -- that there are falling behind in points in general what why is that.
Well I think that these.
The school system is you know has a certain in inbred biases let's say.
I think that you know African American boys tend to be labeled.
They tend to be labeled as behavioral problems.
You know -- types of behavior that they will do.
Is often times acceptable for other children.
You know I found that with my son they were certain things.
You know that he was doing that other boys were doing in yet in certain cases he was singled out.
And again I I found this to be the case across the board with other friends of mine who also had since the same age group.
And I think it only gets worse is they get older and they get.
From mark ten -- Kenny -- Terry mark missing her last name -- Fox News education is the nation.
In the nation is dismal and cost more and more each and every year we are -- -- paying into -- system.
That is not working.
Our kids are not being taught as they should be -- actually a feel that we need to get rid of the department of education and allow each individual state to take.
And one more coming here -- -- from all for jury saying we need to scrap the No Child Left Behind it was a horrible experiment.
I was in fort -- whispered -- -- when it was proposed not for now.
Huge failure actually predicted so it -- that you -- On the right track here where people are saying look we've got to take the classrooms back and our own our own hands.
Education back their own hands if we want to make sure that our kids are getting the proper foundation.
And beyond so you have people excited what happens if someone once dated tips and -- their kids how much is it will it cost.
And where did they go through to get it.
-- can't answer all of your -- and.
That sort of the first thing is they should go to our web site.
Micro learning foundation dot org WW dot micro learning foundation dot org.
It is a tuition fee free programs so that is a huge plus we are.
Enrolled in the top of the California virtual academy and so it's an online.
But obviously this is a classroom situation and so there is -- tuition we do of course expect to parents to be involved in terms of fund raising and just generally.
But it is a very very unique program again we are part of her research program at UCLA we're also talking to doctor James Comer at Yale.
Who's done that huge amount of development work about getting involved in this well so.
It is it a real opportunity for parents who really care about their son's education.
And has decided that they're just not gonna sit back right it's like you know -- deal moving network got man and they do something about it here you know these -- for parents that believe that they can do something and they don't have to sit around and complain.
And sort of take what's given to them will it.
It's certainly certainly fascinating in and are you saying that the parents who student.
Are taking part or played -- take part in this program that they have to get involved but I want to make sure.
For the parents understand that yet they may have to get involved in the fund raising efforts but it's not solely on their shoulder so I ask you.
How are you in terms of getting some -- the private funding state funding would ever it takes to get this up and running and to sustain this program.
Because I think people need to jump on board here.
-- I agree.
Well in the short term that we are.
You know relying on private donors and foundations have raising -- My background is in the media have been in entertainment this is my entire career and so.
-- that we are creating certain media vehicles that will be funding.
Sources for the program in fact.
We have actually already produced a CD is called my favorite bedtime stories -- and it's a CD of a six year old boys and girls in reading their favorite bedtime stories.
Two other children and -- the goal for that CD.
Was to have something that busy moms and dads can -- in.
You know -- to -- their kids could hear bedtime story but also non English speaking parents.
Who are able to read a bedtime story to the children English are now able to do this and so we're partnering.
And hope to partner in fact with major retailers.
As well as others in order to get this out and we're looking at again at a unique type of distribution model we're not trying to just sell this off the shelf so.
We're looking at some very very creative ways of financing the program.
Will Lisa good luck with this I mean I think a lot of -- agreed that we've gotta fix our education system for shore.
It's my girl learning dot org correct Mac micro learning about micro -- micro learning no micro learning foundation.
-- or are glad I might have allowed micro learning foundation that or might -- learning foundation dot org check it out -- -- good it's -- good on you Lisa Jones Johnson good luck with it.
Good to see you and things here time.
Thank you so much -- thank you for having me appreciate of course of.