Focus on Achievement-#10 in a Series of Discussions
By Joan E. Gosier, CEO of HBCU kidz, Inc.
Definition of GAP [a problem caused by some disparity]
Pronunciation: \gap\ Function: noun
Science +Math +Artifacts of Culture +Reading +Test Taking Tips (S.M.A.R.T)=Gap Closure
“Where there is no vision, the people perish” Proverbs 29:18
Why would there be a 29% gap in voter participation between blacks who completed college vs. blacks who did not finish high school?
Source: US Department of Education NCES Status and Trends in the Education of Blacks pg. 124
I asked a couple of kids on our church picnic the other day about their views on elections in general and of course THIS 2008 PRESIDENTIAL election. It was very insightful. It was about 6 kids riding with me to a camp picnic who were aged from 10-12 years old. They all thought REGISTERING to vote meant U were declaring to run for office for some strange reason. In hindsight, I think they have it confused with registering for the army or something.
I also heard from them that they NEVER discuss current events at home. One young man explained to me that he failed 2nd grade. I probed. He confides that he hates to read. He never reads the paper. He failed Social Studies. I told him, “I can pretty much determine EXACTLY WHY U failed Social Studies!” He of course asked,”How?” I told him, “Social studies is the study of society. It is something that MUST be READ and DISCUSSED. If U hate to read and DON’T. If U don’t discuss current events outside of your classroom….How can U become proficient in studying society and how it works?”
He kind of looked like…”Hey, that makes sense!” So I began to try to engage the kids into what interested them and how being registered ties to that goal.
Ultimately, I pulled out my Barak Obama campaign letter from my purse. They were really impressed with THAT! I told them when the campaign asked for my pledge and I gave it…they told me that Barack Obama LOVED ME at the end of the call!” They were psyched! They wanted to know HOW did they get my # and WHO were these people?
I explained to them when U are NOT registered…NO ONE KNOWS U even exist. How can they call your house or mail something to your home when U are not even registered? I told them when U meet adults who feel that their vote doesn’t matter CHANCES ARE…they are NOT REGISTERED TO VOTE and/or they have most likely NEVER RAN FOR ANY OFFICE.
I explained to them that when/if U ever run for an office U soon learn that EVERY VOTER IS IMPORTANT and U cannot ignore anyone before the final ballot is counted. We talked about if they participate in their elementary school elections. They said they did. I asked if they plan to run for an office. One very sharp, articulate and outspoken young lady was all over it! The others looked less sure about the question. I probed.
One 11 year old girl said she thought she wanted to run for Treasurer…BUT…she wanted to know how much the President of the U.S. makes. I told her very little for the amount of work-LOL. Explained it is more about the power and prestige than the paycheck. She explained that she wants to get paid. So I told her if she thought she would enjoy being a treasurer…get the experience, fine tune her skills and strive to be a CFO where she could earn a $300-400K salary working in Corporate America. She piped up then! She asked, “How does that work? Is that a month or what?” I giggled and said “Uhm…I think U would be striving to earn that a YEAR!” She said, “Kewl!”
However different their motivations and early views about life, I do tend to agree with my church school students who told me when asked “Why do U want Barack Obama to win the election?” They all shouted, “Cause he got a good head on his shoulders!”
How do we close this gap and address this very important topic to our munchkins who will be the pool from which our future leaders and achievers will evolve?
My 4 and 5 year old used to ask me many questions about why Nelson Mandela was in jail as we often study famous people in history. They wanted to know why Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was behind bars in his photos too. My explanations always tie the sacrifice that others made to ensure fairness and equality for them and their children. I emphasize that voting rights is one of those things that indirectly determine who goes to jail and how long do they stay there?
Personally, I think children should know that the schools they attend if they are in public school or the schools that people in their family if they are fortunate enough to be in private school are funded by every day citizens who pay taxes. If these people decided they donât want U to get a good education or they decide they don’t want to fund it through their taxes, U will not have what U currently have today. I cite the many benefits of having a FREE education and tie it to local school board election process. Once when I substitute taught a group of high school students who were enrolled in a “Sports Marketing and Fashion Designer’s” course, I illustrated on the chalk board the economic value of that class should they make it big as an athlete, rap star or entertainer.
We concluded that for every hour they were learning things that they may one day have to pay a fashion consultant or agency could be worth $400.00 per hour. So I suggested that the next time a friend or classmate tried to distract them in class to just remind them that they are costing them $400.00! I couldn’t help but laugh when I would hear the kids shout it out to each other in an effort to get their assignments completed in class.
My husband and I typically arrange our schedules so that the munchkins are available to go with us to local and state elections. They understand that it is important to do. We show them our voter registration card and let them go through the process of pushing the electronic ballot. They are anxiously waiting for the November Presidential election.
I recommend visiting sites such as the following to gain great ideas: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/jimcrow/struggle_president.html
For all intents and purposes, this gap between registered and unregistered voters can practically vanish this month! We can do this!
The Achiever in Training and S.M.A.R.T curriculum are exclusive copywritten and proprietary programs developed by HBCU kidz, Inc.
For more statistics and academic resources please visit http://www.HBCUkids.com and click on “Educate.” To comment on this article, visit the Blog. To communicate with other concerned Black parents, please visit http://www.blackparentconnect.com.
For more information about the program or the limited edition gift collection, visit http://www.HBCUkids.com. The site contains information and ideas to proactively promote positive images for African American children and their families. Contact Joan Gosier at 1-888-HBCU-kid.
Joan E. Gosier