Category Archives: Focus on Achievement

A 12 part series of problems and solutions facing academic success of children of color.

Cotton Pickin’ Paycheck-A 21st Century Journal of Escape from Slavery

by Joan E. Gosier

by Joan E. Gosier

I am so thrilled that I was able to publish this week my FIRST BOOK in a series of 3 future books called, “Cotton Pickin’ Paycheck-A 21st Century Journal of Escape from Slavery”. It describes some of the prayers and journal entries that I captured to keep me focused on the path that GOD put before me at various points in my life. I wrote the book to inspire my children and their children to DO THEIR BEST AND AVOID THE NAYSAYER.

My prayer is that it just inspires anyone to TRY TO DO.  So many messages are surrounding us to say that it is not worth TRYING UNLESS U ARE PERFECT WITHOUT BLEMISH OR STAIN.  That message I feel keeps people powerless, ashamed, and stuck in a place that makes them go into a cycle of dysfunction. 

So rather than WAIT until the book is perfectly completed, I thought I would put my theory to the test and show that sometimes imperfection allows us to see “If she CAN DO it, why can’t I?”  

Sort of like when a it pours down raining and a person rolls by with a smile in a wheelchair.  People with both working legs should feel a pang of guilt for being unhappy as they run to shelter holding their umbrella.  Every now and then, U may witness a soul, go BACK and help that person in the wheelchair…something that perhaps blesses BOTH PEOPLE in the end. 

If we ALL WAIT TO BECOME PERFECT TO DO OR SEEK OUR PURPOSE ON EARTH…I think we miss the point of JESUS coming to earth…IMHO.

I sort of have this theory that only an engine can move a train out of the station…NEVER THE CABOOSE.

So often we as a black community allow our focus and energy to remain on the CABOOSE and complain that it is growing too heavy of a load…but THAT is what a CABOOSE does.

Those who have the energy, vision, skill and will have to reduce egos and act as ENGINES. 

So we become the OVERGROUND RAILROAD

17 Comments

Filed under Early Child Education, Family Culture, Focus on Achievement, HBCU kidz, Inc., Parenting Resources

FOCUS ON ACHIEVEMENT #12 of 12 IN SERIES OF DISCUSSIONS

 

Achiever in Training

SMART GEAR KIDS LOVE 2 WEAR!

Focus on Achievement-#12 of 12 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

This article marks an important milestone in concluding our 12 part series in communicating a message to our audience “WE CAN CLOSE THE ACHIEVEMENT GAP FOR OUR MUNCHKINS AT HOME”.

 

So now our families are faced with preparing for an interesting holiday shopping season huh? Why not try something new and different in a new and different economy?

 

With the increased pressure from the financial bail out, it has been predicted that most Americans will be changing their spending habits on everything from education to healthcare needs. However the experts are all banking on one group to remain steadfast in its spending habits despite the crumbling economy! The Black woman. Why?

According to the research there is a 20% gap in the likelihood of a family deciding to buy “private label and generic brands” if it suddenly found itself with less money between black families and white families

According to a new study by ING, as much as 68 percent of Black women say they buy what they want in a good or bad economy.. A staggering 41 percent say they feel guilty about how much they spend on expensive brands.

[SOURCE: She-Lia Henry, controller for DiversityInc and president of the southern New England Westchester Chapter of National Association of Black Accountants (NABA)].

“Many were not taught good financial habits,” says Henry. “The African-American community spends more than any other ethnic group.” For many Blacks, budgeting is either not a high priority or is not done correctly. Among those surveyed, 72 percent of Black women said they strongly agreed with the statement “I wish I had learned more about money and investing growing up.”

A study asked 1,000 professional Black women and 454 non-Black professional women about their spending habits. It found that 40 percent of Black women shop to cheer up and that Black women are also more likely to shop impulsively.

The experts say that although it is “unclear whether recent Wall Street events will curb spending habits for Black women, especially as some 85,000+ face unemployment.

But if there is a change, according to some analysts, it won’t be from an expensive brand to a generic brand–it will be from an expensive brand to nothing at all”.

According to a recent P&G survey, among Black women, 77 percent are “concerned” about how they’re portrayed in media, and 71 percent feel they are portrayed “worse” than other racial groups and 69 percent say such images negatively influence teens.

So I boldly ask the question why can’t this year our black women and our men prepare to invest in our families versus being tracked and mocked by consumer analysts for our wasteful spending habits?

Why can’t this be THE year that we invest in products and companies that are working to uplift, inspire and support our black children in image and self-esteem?

According to a 2006 Yankelovich MONITOR Multicultural Marketing Study there was a 24% gap in the belief that “My roots and heritage are more important to me today than they were just five years ago” between blacks and whites. I often wonder what is driving that gap. Like is that gap driven by our historical ties to family reunions or is it a renewed interest like the one I personally experienced from watching the Hurricane Katrina fiasco?

This same study noted that there was a 37% gap in the belief that they “make great effort to become more connected with my heritage” between blacks and whites. Personally, I know for a fact that I did not truly appreciate how little I knew about much of my own family roots until I proactively started asking questions and creating a scrap book for my munchkins in the fall of 2005. A complete change to my life sparked by Hurricane Katrina and later with Hurricane Wilma. Our family decided to DO something about this problem in our community.

We formed a company that seeks to inspire and celebrate the beauty of the black child and uplifts the black family surrounding the child.

According to the financial experts, “Between 2001 and 2055, African Americans will transfer $1.1 trillion–$3.4 trillion of their wealth to offspring; Black women are expected to be the gatekeepers of this wealth transference.”

But did U know that there will be 200 Black-female college graduates for every 100 Black-male graduates by 2010? The number of master’s degrees conferred to Black women increased 149.5 percent between 1991 and 2001. This all comes down to the fact that Black women reportedly have the highest labor-force-participation rate among women in 2004 at 61.5 percent, versus 58.9 percent for whites!

 

Our gift giving to our children can act as a catalyst for change and improvement this 2008 holiday season!

So please follow my logic. Stop wasting money and invest in our FUTURE DREAMERS, LEADERS AND ACHIEVERS!

There was a 15% gap in percent of first-time kindergartners whose teachers reported that the students pay attention “often” or “very often,” between black children and white children (source: Status US Department of Education NCES Status and Trends in the Education of Blacks pg. 47). If our children are not paying as much attention in kindergarten…what will happen by college? Are they even thinking about college at such a young age?

The children in my extended family do! They already see the connection to learning each day in school to answering the questions such as:

  • “How do things really work in life?”
  • “What do I need to know to be a pilot?”
  • “What do I need to know to be President of the United States?”
  • Or my favorite, “Mommy, what is the highest number I have to (be able to) add to be a doc-tor?”

 

Well isn’t it coincidental that, according to the 2005 U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey there is a 13% gap in adults with at least a bachelors degree between blacks and whites?

So it seems that there MAY be a correlation between inspiring an interest in learning new things at any early age and having increased future opportunities!

Now I guarantee that if U actually try some of our unique and inspiring gift products, U will find that they actually work to inspire a different mindset in our future leaders, dreamers and achievers. We truly believe that we are investing in our future through our little gifts of love.

This fall season, why not review in your home what are the differences between “name brand” vs. generic brands in ALL products purchased? U may be surprised to see how some things ARE truly unique and one of a kind and others are just a decorated box.

Self-confidence and perceptions of value are such important gifts to give our children. Ask a child what things have impacted him or her being able to enjoy learning so far this year. For example, “What have U learned so far this year that U did not know already?” Listen carefully to the response. It may reveal that he or she is NOT engaged in the learning process or is not able to communicate what he or she is being exposed to in school.

Take time to hear what specific information God has placed in your heart to teach a child. My mom always used to say, “Proverbs 4:5 Get wisdom. Get understanding!”

Really explore just how much your child feels that spending more for a brand name is critical to fit in with his or her peers and what value is that going to bring to his or her life in the long term? Is it a quick fix or is it perhaps a mask for deeper esteem issues?

Look at how others who are consistently around your child feel about the above ideas and options. Explore if these behaviors are ones that should continue or is it best that they be broken and healed in a tight economy?

When U look at different branded products from companies why not choose the ones that provide school rebates, savings bonds, coupons, rewards, special programs, gift products or other incentives that encourage success for the children in the community? Does the company give back to YOUR child? Why or why not?

Doesn’t it make good sense in this tight economy to seek out and support businesses that offer programs/products/services/initiatives that positively promote black children and their achievement?

Visit sites such as www.BlackParentConnect.com and share an email to 2-10 friends on why they should join and frequently shop for their children’s gifts. Spread the word if U previously had a good experience with a business.

This series is intended to be a work in progress. What I am doing as an individual, and what others are doing as well. Together we can learn some new things and reinforce some things we already knew. What do you think? Can we work together?

 

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.

 

CONTACT:

 

Joan E. Gosier

 

954-302-4540

 

JoanGosier@HBCUkidz.com

 

1 Comment

Filed under Focus on Achievement

FOCUS ON ACHIEVEMENT-#11 in a Series of Discussions

Achiever in Training

SMART GEAR KIDS LOVE 2 WEAR!

 

Focus on Achievement-#11 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

“If a man will not work, he shall not eat.” 2 Thessalonians 3: 6-18

Why would there be a 26% gap in unemployment 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. 114

Every now and then, I like to reflect upon my career life prior to marriage and motherhood. I used to put in extremely long hours everyday and even had to go into the office to catch up on many weekends. One Christmas, I recall flying to Baltimore to visit my mom, lugging an extra suitcase full of files and documents, and trying to take advantage of having a few weeks to get a head start on the New Year for my employer.

My mom was shocked! She asked, “Why would U bring work home to do over your vacation break?” It was funny to try to explain that I had so much work to do that this was a perfect time to get organized and prepare for being ahead of the game when I returned to work. She thought I was a workaholic. However, there are simply some things one must do to get what U want in life. Sometimes it seemed to be hard for my mom and others to equate the amount of work that I had to put into my job to the lucrative paycheck that was deposited into my account each month. The funny thing was that at home I was taught the need to work. It was in the real world that I learned that anything worth having does not come easy, and if it is easy than it rarely pays a lot of money. I believe it comes down to choices.

Today, as I think about what I want to teach my children about the correlation to work, life and happiness, I want to make it simple enough for a 4 year old to comprehend. One day, last year, I visited my daughter’s kindergarten classroom. The substitute teacher allowed me to have about 30 minutes of circle time with the munchkins. We talked about the importance of coming to school prepared to learn and how it relates to being happy in life as a grown up. I asked the kids if they knew people who were walking around “grumpy, mean and bitter”? We all made faces to display these emotions. I asked them have they seen grown ups who were caring, smiling and encouraging?

We role played this as well. I asked them, “How would U like to feel when U are a grown up? Like this or like that?” As I reiterated the expressions they rewarded me with hearty laughter and engagement. Of course no one wanted to be the grumpy troll. So I asked them, “Why do U think people grow up to be grumpy? Do U think they wanted to be that when they grew up?” One kid volunteered that the grumpy people in his life don’t work and complain all day at home. Another one shared how her sister flunked out of school and is grumpy all of the time. My daughter and some of the other kids had expressions on their faces like,

“Wow! Glad nobody is that grumpy in my house!”

So I went on to explain that sometimes when people are unhappy about the choices they have made it is hard to be happy and to cheer someone else on to be great. So you may feel stuck. So we talked about how it feels to be stuck in quick sand and can’t get out. I explained to them that school is an opportunity to have a rescue squad to keep them from ever getting stuck. “U are given new tools, make new friends and given a safe place to think and to make smart choices that will help U find your way towards your deserved happiness. Your school work will prepare you to one day be able to achieve all of your dreams if U are willing to work hard and stay out of trouble.” We went on to further discuss the issues surrounding staying out of trouble which in their classroom meant to “Stay on GREEN and stay off of BLUE”.

Basically, they have a behavior thermometer that basically goes from green, to yellow, to red down to blue. Blue means the child is going to be sent to the principal’s office. I shared my personal thoughts that one should never be on anything BUT GREEN. The munchkins quickly disagreed. They offered reason after reason how and why yellow was o.k. too. There were two little boys who had BLUE several times already. I asked them a few questions about what it was like, did they enjoy it, was it fun, did they feel happy when they went, etc. Well, one shocked his classmates by explaining how he did not enjoy it all. They all practically gasped because he got a very serious and sad look on his face. It seems that they all figured he had a ball when he would be sent packing out of the room. I explored this revelation with the group.

“What types of things do U get when U are good? What are your favorite things that you like to do and have?” They all perked up again and began sharing all of the wonderful toys and dolls that they loved to play with and dress up. So I asked, “How do U feel when these things are taken from U or U are told that U will not get anymore?” They all shared their sad feelings of having time-out or restrictions from various fun activities. So I probed again, “OKAY. GREAT! So why would U strive to do something that does not bring U joy? Why would you make a point of NOT DOING what U need to do to make yourself happy?” They all looked up at me with wide-eyes and then one shyly admitted, “I don’t know.” Another more outspoken one said, “Sometimes it FEELS GOOD to do BAD THINGS!” Well, I later learned that that is a catchy phrase from one of today’s modern cartoons.

However, overall, we as a group concluded that if GREEN is the best reward that gets the MOST CHOICES why would U not strive for the choice that makes U happy vs. sad?

I actually began asking my munchkins what they wanted to be when they grew up when they were two years old obviously not expecting nor requiring a response from my cooing bundle of joy but just planting the seeds of self-expoloration and marveling at the gigantic world being their oysters. As I did more and more research and really started to learn more about their unique temperaments and God given gifts, eventually they began to babble back to me somewhat coherent yet consistent responses! For example, yesterday was my oldest daughter’s 6th birthday. When we asked what she wanted for her big day. She immediately asked for a Doctor kit because she thinks right now she wants to be a doctor, scientist, teacher and life guard. “So a Doctor kit would be the perfect gift!” she proudly explained to me. We spread the word to family and in the mail the other day comes a wonderful “OPERATION SURGEON” game from her Auntie.

Daddy and I obliged to honor her special request for a brown pediatrician Barbie and a Doctor kit that specifically had a stethoscope. My youngest was thrilled to wrap and later present these gifts because she knows how much her big sister truly wants to be a doctor. She, on the other had, proudly declares her desire to be a pilot, then an astronaut and then a life guard. So we must find her a rocket ship by December or a pink airplane she insists!

It can become really hard to find your passion once U hit the real world. That is why I always try to encourage my high school students when I am substituting to CHALLENGE THEMSELVES to find their inner voice that will guide them to what makes them happy, excited and thrilled to be alive each day. As a past career consultant, I used to give my clients a standard checklist of things to do such as the following:

1) Determine a list of past jobs or assignments that satisfied multiple needs (income/purpose/enjoyment)

2) Compare the potential opportunities to select a career path that leads to stability and success especially for long term needs of the children in the home

3) Seek out career counselors/job specialists that can assist in developing a 5-10 year career plan of action. Almost every town and city has a WORKFORCE center that provides FREE assistance.

4) Visit career sites such as http://www.jobseekersadvice.com/

5) Determine 2-3 reasons why permanent unemployment or underemployment in the family is unacceptable.

Just as my kindergarten munchkins prayerfully learned last year, these reasons will become worth striving for each day. Hard work, persistence and focus will make it well worth the effort in the end. Our munchkins deserve the best academic preparation, and they REALLY need us to give them the best opportunities during our productive years as well. We can do this!

This series is intended to be a work in progress. What I am doing as an individual, and what others are doing as well. Together we can learn some new things and reinforce some things we already knew. What do you think? Can we work together?

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 

CONTACT:

Joan E. Gosier

954-302-4540

JoanGosier@HBCUkidz.com

Leave a comment

Filed under Focus on Achievement

FOCUS ON ACHIEVEMENT #10 IN A SERIES OF DISCUSSIONS

Achiever in Training

SMART GEAR KIDS LOVE 2 WEAR!

 

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 don’t 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

http://www.education-world.com/a_curr/curr271.shtml

http://curriculalessons.suite101.com/article.cfm/voting_and_your_children

http://www.ehow.com/how_2228476_teach-kids-electoral-college.html

http://www.usnews.com/articles/news/50-ways-to-improve-your-life/2007/12/20/teach-your-children-how-to-vote.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.

CONTACT:

Joan E. Gosier

954-302-4540

JoanGosier@HBCUkidz.com

6 Comments

Filed under Focus on Achievement

FOCUS ON ACHIEVEMENT #9 IN A SERIES OF DISCUSSIONS-Entry for July 8, 2008

Achiever in Training

SMART GEAR KIDS LOVE 2 WEAR!

Focus on Achievement-#9 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

“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” Mathew 5:5

According to  Bishop T.D. Jakes in an article written earlier this year:

“Roughly 50 percent of African-Americans do not even own their homes, and I think we have so much we could do together rather than keep score on who is winning a battle that shouldn’t even exist between us.

In light of Alan Greenspan confirming what many of us have already suspected — that we are in the midst of a recession, I would ask all churches as well as the media to help guide and encourage us through the storm of fuel bills, lost homes, lost jobs and the untold effects of this recession…”

I see this article as providing a battle cry to churches of all ethnicities and denominations to not allow the perceptions of the few to distract us and prejudice us from the needs of the many.”

Well, likewise, I see our Focus on Achievement topic for this month as a battle cry to individuals who have eyes and ears.  Eyes to read this message I am trying to convey and ears to FINALLY stop and hear the voices in your family and friend circle who are crying out for help.  This summer we see and hear people all over the country in financial turmoil over various mortgage issues and refinance challenges.

Why is there a 29% gap in the rate of homeownership between black households and white households?

Source:U.S. Census Bureau 2005 American Community Survey

Well, I believe that it always begins with a choice.  Determine at home is there a desire for a new home.  Look around at your surroundings.  Are U happy?  How much of an impact does your happiness play in your interaction with your munchkins?  I have to admit that there is nothing more relieving than to be able to run outside in your own yard and play an impromptu game of kickball.  We cherish this opportunity with all of our hearts because I recall the feeling of confinement when I lived in an apartment.  I know how it feels to be stressed when a fire in your building threatens your home due to no fault of your own.  I can recall the feelings of unfairness when a neighbor’s roach or rodent problem quickly becomes yours despite how clean your parents keep the apartment.  So the question is not one of entitlement or fairness, but does it really make a difference in the achievement of a child?

I often wonder why homeownership seems to be such a controversial concept?  For example, I once had an investment advisor tell me that the worst thing that I could do for myself as a single young professional earning an annual six-figure income was to purchase a home.  When I asked him for his rationale, he explained that homeownership was more than a mortgage.  There would be insurance, taxes, new furniture, new appliances, maintenance bills, landscaping expenses and a whole host of problems to go along with being an owner vs. a renter.  Of course with my daddy’s teachings from my childhood that “home is where U can paint the walls without asking for permission”, I nodded in agreement and terminated my relationship with him.  Why?  My instinct told me that he had another agenda in play.  Yes all of those expenses are real.  However, he failed to educate me on the fact that there are significant tax advantages to homeownership as well as a sense of accomplishment that cannot be measured in terms of dollars but sense.  Anyone who has ever played monopoly knows that it is always better to collect rent than to pay it to someone else.  Factually, I later learned that this advisor was in the process of trying to buy his very first piece of real estate…a new condo.  So was it a tall glass of “hater-ade” being served to me?  Who knows or cares but my point in sharing this is to say that only the prospective homeowner can choose if and when ownership is appropriate.  From a child’s perspective, why not have a discussion on what impact the stability of owning where U live has on him or her being able to enjoy learning?

Determine at home what information God has placed in your heart to teach a child about homeownership and wealth creation.  According to blogger Tamar Rasyth, “By the time our children are 20 years old they should have a home completely paid for and tens of thousands of dollars in the bank. They should know financial responsibility as well as they know their ABC’s and popular music.”  Her website posts creative and unique tips on how to generate wealth through intelligent investing in heirlooms, real estate and other appreciating assets for children.  Tamar asserts, “You can be the one to break this cycle within your sphere of influence.”  Her informative article is at http://richeswealthprosperityinallaspects.blogspot.com/2008/06/passing-your-wealth-on-to-your-children.html

Have you ever just asked a child how he or she feels about his or her current neighborhood?  I recently posed a question online on “Can U embrace yourself and leave the hood behind?”  Many people responded with the fact that their childhood environments taught them valuable lessons that have helped them in life.  I have also heard from people who feel that their inability to leave their childhood environments have prevented them from growing into responsible and adventuresome adults.  I believe there is no right or wrong answer to the question.  William Shakespeare said “To thine self be true!” or as Russell Simmons says, “Do You”.   But please be sure to hear what comes from the mouth of babes too!  How do the other people who are consistently around your child feel about the above ideas/options?  Are they the type of people who would help them grow beyond the environment or would the kids be better off in a totally new environment?

It is really not true that all community resources for learning are maintained the same.  We all know this fact.  I recall in one community that I lived in the public library was closed down for months due to a faulty air conditioning system.  The children had no where to go for resources for over 6 months!  It took community activism to get the publicly elected officials to move on the project.  Imagine if there were not activists living in the community?  Who would have done what?  It truly takes a village so if everyone moves out of the community what happens to those who cannot move away?  What about the children?  Can homeownership occur right where one is currently renting?  Should it occur?  I think it depends on the impact on the children.  Whether you plan to move or not, I believe it is always a good idea to FEEL FREE to DECIDE.  Why not explore all options?

1) Determine the process of becoming pre-approved to purchase a new home

2) Compare the potential opportunities to build equity in real estate

3) Call the real estate professionals in your community to get a list of top rated schools

4) Visit sites such as http://www.schoolmatters.com/  and www.JoanGosier.com

5) Identify a neighborhood school that will encourage a love of reading and exploring the world

 

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.

 

  CONTACT:

 

 Joan E. Gosier

 

954-302-4540

 

JoanGosier@HBCUkidz.com

 

 

 

3 Comments

Filed under Focus on Achievement

Focus on Achievement-#8 IN A SERIES OF DISCUSSIONS-Entry for June 13, 2008

Achiever in Training

FOCUS on Achievement

Focus on Achievement-#8 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

“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” Mathew 5:5

Our 12-part series is intended to open up a dialogue using proven problem solving technique. Since November 2007, we have covered various topics each month that address academic achievement gaps that are significantly impacting our future leaders and achievers.   The next couple of months of our FOCUS ON ACHIEVEMENT series will explore some of the economic challenges that feed the gap between black and white students.  Our goal is always to encourage collective thought and effort to roll up our sleeve, work together, and use our creative genius to GET IT DONE.  I am reminded that Satchel Paige once wisely acknowledged, “None of us is as smart as all of us!”

Does it surprise U that there is such a wide gap in household incomes between black families and white families?

  • There is a $7,600.00 gap in average yearly earning between black males and white males
  • There is a $13,800.00 gap in average yearly earning between black females and white males 
  • There is a $19,683.00 gap in median income for households between black families and white families
  • Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census based on March Current Population Survey, 2000

    Source U.S. Census Bureau 2005 American Community Survey

    A lot can be done with $19,683 each year.  Yet it is not how much money you earn that measures wealth, but often prosperity can be determined by how much you keep, how well your returns perform on your investments and how well you and others enjoy all that you have produced with your earnings.  So our children should be a major component of our wealth.  Through each generational smart choice, the gap actually closes! 

    If one is not able to focus on the future, one can at least take baby steps today to improve household earnings.  Is there a potential to maximize income of all working adults through a new resume, a course certification or a commute?  Gas prices are high so it may seem futile to look for a commute, but what about the longer term impact of a more robust resume and work history?  Classes may seem expensive or time consuming, but maybe that instructor or a classmate has the key to open up doors of opportunity along with new knowledge gained from the classwork? 

    The important question is to explore at home what impact the financial circumstances of the family has on the child being able to enjoy learning.  This past fall I spoke to a kindergarten boy who told me that he would rather stay home with the other men in his family than to be in school.  I wondered but dared not ask, “Did those men work from home?”  What incentive does he have as a black male to engage in the learning process when he is being shown at home that it is better to sit around at home?  So I hope that I made a difference in helping him focus more on the things that he wanted out of life that the people at home don’t have.  I always try to explain to my munchkins at every opportunity that money does NOT grow on trees.  You get what you want through careful strategy.  “You stretch your resources to fit YOUR VISION!”  You work hard, and you must treat most of your purchases as investments.  “Don’t waste NOTHIN’!”  My mom shared these beliefs with me while growing up using my granddaddy’s teaching. 

    As a sharecropper my grandaddy did not have the opportunity to get much of an education.  I was told he barely finished the 5th grade due to family farming responsibilities.  He worked hard in the Virginia tobacco fields.  He was a strong provider for a wife and 9 children.  Yet he knew the importance of sacrificing THINGS for the investment in children.  He taught my mom “Spend your extra money on books and education.  People can steal THINGS you buy.  But once you get it in your head, nobody can take THAT away from you!”  My mom proudly graduated high school class valedictorian.  She always reminded our family don’t just buy THINGS invest in KNOWLEDGE. 

    It is naive to think that children do not want to keep up with their peers.  Periodically ask your child out of the blue how he or she feels about his or her lifestyle (clothes, car, food, entertainment).  When you can help them connect the dots between short term sacrifices and long term gain they will be given a wonderful opportunity to become leaders versus followers of superficial trends and unnecessary consumption.  Isn’t it usually true that birds of a feather tend to flock together?  If a group is more focused on THINGS vs. learning, do you really want your child to adapt those traits?  What has it done for others who do this? Regardless of what we earn, it is critical to review what we are spending vs. investing in our future.

    So what steps can you take to make the most out of your current situation?

    1) First, you can go to www.mysalary.com or www.simplyhired.com and you can determine the median level of earning in your community.  You can see how other working adults incomes compares to your household’s skill level and education.

    2) With a little effort, one can compare the potential opportunities to earn more or gain through proper investment of time/talent/energy within 5-10 year timeframe.  Typically there are short term risks or upfront investments that will not materialize overnight.  But the payoffs are typically exponential!

    3) If you are totally satisfied and content in your career during this tight economy, why not reach out to other family members?  Why not call the parents in your immediate and extended family to see if there are any unmet career needs?   Your words of encouragement could help someone who is sitting on the fence and feeling helplessly trapped.  A second set of eyes checking out a resume can be a real benefit.

    4) Listen to see if there are career advice tips that can be provided to the parents that can translate to more income, more satisfaction with current income, or less spending on things that are not bringing value to the children in the household.   Almost every town or city has a Workforce Center that offers FREE services and programs. Visit or refer them to http://www.careeronestop.org/ 

    5).  Invest in the children with special and unique gifts that inspire and encourage.  Visit sites such as http://www.BlackParentConnect.com and find products and services that contribute, support and encourage your children.  Visit sites such as http://www.hbcukidz.com and find a gift that will inspire a love of learning.  Every child deserves a special gift that reflects your hope for their future.  We must remind one another that we can only reap what we have sown.

    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.

    CONTACT:

    Joan E. Gosier

    954-302-4540

    JoanGosier@HBCUkidz.com

Leave a comment

Filed under Focus on Achievement

FOCUS IN ACHIEVEMENT-#7 IN A SERIES OF DISCUSSIONS-Entry for May 18, 2008

Achiever in Training

SMART GEAR KIDS LOVE 2 WEAR!

Focus on Achievement-#7 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

For it is time for judgement to begin with the family of God and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?             I Peter 4:17

Well, this month’s discussion took me a little longer to produce because it marks the beginning of a transition period. Up until now, we have covered a variety of academic achievement factors and shared a few creative ideas on what can be done at home to give our munchkins a better jump start in life. In fact, this month we hosted another successful a parent-2-parent conference call during which we all shared our joys, trials and home grown solutions to change the game for the future of our munchkins. It was a valuable and powerful hour. So I want to publicly thank all of the parents who participated and to dedicate this month’s article to the results and follow up from that inspiring conversation.

Did you know that there is a 15% gap in taking advanced level math classes between black and white students? Source: US Department of Education NCES Status and Trends in the Education of Blacks pg. 56

On our call we asked what could be some of the drivers behind this achievement gap and more importantly how do we prevent the problem in the first place?

Here is the summary of concepts of what we discussed. Source: http://www.hbcukids.com/EducationalConcepts3.html

What can be done to address the achievement gap? Prevention!

ScienceDaily.com says that “children entering kindergarten with elementary math and reading skills are the most likely to do well in school later, even if they have various social and emotional problems, say researchers who examined data from six studies of close to 36,000 preschoolers. We find the single most important factor in predicting later academic achievement is that children begin school with a mastery of early math and literacy concepts,” said Northwestern University researcher Greg Duncan and the study’s primary author. Attention-related skills, though more modestly, also consistently predict achievement.

Source: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071112182442.htm

According to ScienceDaily.com “Playing numerical board games can improve low-income preschoolers’ number skills, offering a promising way to reduce the discrepancies in numerical knowledge between children from poor families and those from middle-income families. Children vary greatly in the math knowledge they bring to school, with children from poor families tending to have far less math knowledge than their peers from middle-class families. These differences appear to have large and long-term consequences, with proficiency in math at the start of kindergarten strongly predictive of math achievement test scores years later. The gap in math knowledge likely reflects differences in exposure at home to informal numerical activities, including numerical board games. Board games with consecutively numbered, linearly arranged spaces–think Chutes and Ladders–provide children with good opportunities to learn about the relation between numerals and their sizes. Would providing low-income preschoolers with experience playing numerical board games improve their understanding of numbers?

All of the gains remained nine weeks after the experience, and were comparable for African American and White children.”

Source: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080325083304.htm

Another article from ScienceDaily.com says “Children from low-income families in the United States do not have the same access to qualified teachers as do wealthier students, according to a University of Missouri study.” When students are not taught by highly qualified teachers, their opportunity to learn is considerably lower,” said Motoko Akiba, assistant professor of educational leadership and policy analysis in the College of Education at MU. “Previous studies have shown that students with similar backgrounds achieve significantly higher when taught by highly-qualified teachers.”

Source: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080123131519.htm

What steps have we personally taken to address the achievement gap at home?

  1. Determine at home is there a love for numbers and quantifying facts and figures
  2. Determine at home what impact this has on him or her being able to enjoy learning
  3. Determine at home what information God has placed in your heart to teach a child
  4. Determine how your child feels about using numbers, charts, graphs and placement orders (first/second/third).
  5. Determine how others who are consistently around your child feel about the above ideas/options

We go over each of my munchkin’s little kindergarten worksheet assignments done in school to cover areas or questions that she might not have understood in class. My oldest munchkin tells me that right now in kindergarten math is her favorite subject, then taking tests and finally P.E. I feed this interest every opportunity I get. A simple trip to the dollar store had me leaving with 2 giant laminated wall charts on workbook and impressively she can almost do most of the double digit math addition and subtraction problems with very little assistance! And just recently, we invested in a toddler Monopoly game that both my 4 and 5 year old munchkins absolutely love! They are introduced to basic concepts such as collecting rent, acquiring property, building a house, counting money, and keeping record of what you own. It gives my husband and I a great way to play together and teach at the same time.

Helpful Tips to Prevent or Close the Achievement Gap at home

1) Determine the highest level of math offered in school and explore your personal feelings about math. Schedule a meeting face to face with the guidance counselor. Make sure that your potential personal lack of interest is not getting in the way of pushing the system to accelerate the progress of your child.

2) Compare the potential opportunities to build confidence in using numbers, charts, graphs and placement orders. Start with where they are not where they should be and build from there. I recently met a 7th grader who still could not add nor subtract in his head yet his teacher had him working on algebra equations!

3) Call the kids in your immediate and extended family to see what their favorite topics and stories to read. ” Anthony, what is 5-2 or 2+7?” is a fun drill that I love to pop up on little munchkins. It keeps them sharp, on their toes and is often a timely distraction to keep their brains occupied away from mischief.

4) Listen to see if there is a pattern of interest that can be enhanced with more practice. Whenever I see my munchkins having fun counting, I join right in and do not correct but I listen to where there are problems. Then I later search for products that will help them fix the problem such as flash cards, wall charts or even board games.

5) Visit sites such as http://www.BlackParentConnect.com and find a gift that will inspire a love of reading and exploring the world. Good resource books on math at home should be readily available regardless of what the qualifications or experience level of the teacher. “1+1=2 all day long!”

So basically at the conclusion of our second “Parent 2 Parent” conference call we all agreed that it was good to know that there are other concerned parents who are only a phone call away and that were willing to openly share ideas and hear concerns.

We can hardly wait for the next one scheduled on July 30 8:00 p.m.-9:30 p.m. EST!

Our upcoming discussions will begin to address some of the family economic pressures that seem to directly impact the academic achievement of our children.

Visit sites such as http://www.blackparentconnect.com and www.AchieversinTraining.com and find a gift that will inspire a love of reading. Every child deserves a special gift that reflects your hope for their future.

This series is intended to be a work in progress. What I am doing as an individual, and what others are doing as well. Together we can learn some new things and reinforce some things we already knew. What do you think? Can we work together?

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.

CONTACT:

Joan E. Gosier

954-302-4540

JoanGosier@HBCUkidz.com

 

4 Comments

Filed under Focus on Achievement