EMPOWER’D

Showcasing Musical Performances, Dance, Spoken Word, and MORE!!!

Featuring Special Guest Appearances and Performances from Dance Theater of Harlem, and many MORE!!!

FRIDAY DECEMBER 2ND, 2011

7:00PM – 10:00PM
ARONOW THEATER
The City College of New York
160 Convent Avenue (@136th Street)
New York, NY 10031

Tickets: FREE Admission | $25 VIP Seats- CLICK To BUY
Donations are Highly Encouraged and Appreciated

For Group RSVP, Please contact Re:LIFE Inc @ 347.450.1201 or email relife@relifeinc.org

Theme
The Theme of the EMPOWER’D Event is ‘Empowerment Through The Arts, Education and Entrepreneurship’, and as such will feature performances in the Arts, as well the impact of Entrepreneurship on youth. There will also be the sales/silent auction of highly coveted autographed items like an autographed Mohammed Ali Lithograph, a Paul McCartney autographed album, BB King and U2 autographed guitars and MORE!!!

Purpose
The purpose of the event is four fold:
1. To draw attention to the problems of youth disconnection, youth poverty, educational disadvantage and opportunity divide
2. To raise funds to starts tackling these problems through Re:LIFE Inc’s programs
3. To increase visibility for Re:LIFE Inc and its programs in our community and New York City as a whole, so that the people who need its services have access to them
4. To unveil our new campaign called ‘The $1 Change Project’.

Advertise: To place an ad in the playbill, please contact Re:LIFE Inc @ 347.450.1206 or email relife@relifeinc.org. Click for  Playbill_Ad_Rates.

Sponsorship: To Sponsor this event or other Re:LIFE Inc events, please contact Re:LIFE Inc @ 347.450.1206 or email relife@relifeinc.org. Click for EMPOWER’D_Sponsorship options.

About Re:LIFE Inc
Re:LIFE Inc is a 501c3 Organization that is dedicated to empowering youth through entrepreneurship and education.  We believe that the positive engagement of the mind is the precursor to achieving excellence. Therefore, in empowering youth both educationally and through entrepreneurship, we don’t just mean through traditional academics, but also through nutrition, fitness, talents, interests, explorations and all that positively empower youth.

For more about Re:LIFE Inc, please visit our website www.relifeinc.org

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Occupied With Inequality

Day 9 Occupy Wall Street September 25 2011 Sha...

While hundreds of people occupy Wall Street, calling on the 99% to stand up against the 1%, inequality has become the new buzzword.  But is income and wealth inequality only a recent issue, unique to a small group of 20-somethings in the 2000’s?  Of course not, economic injustice and inequality of opportunity have plagued the United States, and especially the African-American community, since its founding.  However, a slow-to-thaw recession and diminishing opportunities for work have motivated a different population to mobilize against the economic injustices they are only now beginning to feel.

While incomes have generally risen in the United States in the past decades, incomes for African-Americans have risen at a slower rate than their white counterparts. This income disparity carries into future generations, as parents struggle to provide proper housing, food, healthcare and education for their children.  Hiring discrimination persists as African-Americans tend be chosen less often for the same jobs than do European Americans or Caucasians.  Income inequality then is the cumulative result of a series of factors, that begin with the inability to obtain higher paying jobs and the forced segregation of low-income housing.

Unrelenting income inequality has not been the result of overt, institutionalized oppression or segregation, but rather, is caused by more subtle forces that begin with minor prejudices and take shape in discriminatory lending, redlining, skewed school district lines and many other socioeconomic factors.

As depicted in the chart of median personal income by race and education from the 2006 Census and the graph published by the U.S. Census Bureau on Median Household Income across race, the average incomes of African-Americans are consistently less than white Americans, even at levels of higher education, and decades after the Civil Rights movement.

Race

Median personal income

Overall Median

High school graduate

Some college

Bachelor’s degree or higher

Bachelor’s degree

Masters degree

 Adv.

degrees

White M $40,432 $33,805 $40,427 $61,175 $55,129 $67,903 $77,818
F $26,636 $21,306 $25,190 $40,161 $36,076 $45,555 $56,759
Both $32,919 $27,291 $31,510 $49,879 $43,841 $52,244 $71,184
Black M $30,549 $25,747 $32,758 $46,474 $41,889 $52,488 N/A
F $25,435 $20,366 $25,574 $42,461 $41,263 $45,830 N/A
Both $27,110 $22,328 $27,589 $44,460 $41,565 $47,407 $61,993

Income inequality in the United States is an old story, especially for African-Americans.  So, why organize now?  And who are the occupiers down in Zuccotti Park?

With one tenth of the population unemployed, and far more underemployed, with growing foreclosures, looming personal debt and little promise that change is on the horizon, there is a conviction among many that, perhaps, they have been slighted: enter “The Occupiers”.

Zuccotti Park finds itself teeming with primarily young people, who are primarily white.  They represent a group of people who have grown up believing that a college education, which they obtained without much obstruction, would secure them some financial stability and even a job after graduation.  Feeling duped by society’s promise, they see exorbitant bonuses for CEOs and the big bank bailouts as unjust in the face of their plight.

In many ways, lower Manhattan’s Occupy Wall Street is about the economic injustices that a young population of people has only begun to experience.  Meanwhile, the African-American community has been party to a more pervasive inequality for decades.  The income gap as displayed in the graph above points to the consistent income inequality that African American’s have felt, with no trend suggesting that this gap will soon close.

So it seemed inevitable that an Occupy Harlem would sprout up, as it did on Friday October 28, 2011, at St. Phillip’s Church in Central Harlem.  While the Occupy Harlem borrows from the “blueprint” of Occupy Wall Street grievances, it addresses, more specifically, the historic plight of inequality for African-Americans.  In addition to income inequality and corporate power, Occupy Harlem will bring into dialogue contemporary humanitarian issues in Africa as well as local issues of discrimination such as the “Stop and Frisk” policy that deeply concerns the Harlem community.

Beyond exercising the rights of free speech and organization through Occupy Wall Street or Occupy Harlem, it is imperative to break the cycle of inequality by providing mentoring programs for the inner city’s youth.  Especially important are the programs that work to build entrepreneurial skills among disconnected youth.

As young community members gain a foothold by building their own successful businesses, they foster employment in the community, provide a stable local source of income for community members, and become role models themselves, all the while, working toward bridging the overwhelming inequality gap with which we are so occupied today.

As the occupiers in Zuccotti Park remind us, it is the younger generation that must stand up and demand change, because they are the ones who stand to benefit most from a more just, less impoverished society.  Whether through education, entrepreneurship or social action, the city’s youth must step up and work together to gain their foothold in society!

To learn more about Re:LIFE’s upcoming event in Harlem: Click EMPOWER’D

 
 By Amy Richards
Re:LIFE Inc Writer
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Why The American Public School System Keeps Failing Our Youth

President Bush signing the No Child Left Behin...

Former President GW Bush with members of Congress at the signing of 'No Child Left Behind' Act Image via Wikipedia

In 2007, 17 of the nation’s 50 largest cities had high school graduation rates lower than 50 percent, with a consistent 1.2 million dropouts every year.  Meanwhile, twenty-five percent of the United States population is functionally illiterate, unable to consult a dictionary, to read signs or follow basic written directions.  Overall, the United States is suffering from a high school dropout rate of about 30 percent each year.  For a nation so esteemed for its multifaceted education provided for all, these rates are shameful.  If there indeed exist such great barriers for success in school, how is it that the United States still claims equality of opportunity?  Spend a day in most any inner-city high school, and you will find the plight of public schools has reached crisis proportions.  New York City Schools Chancellor, Joel Klein, agrees: the public education crisis has become the “greatest domestic issue” Americans face today.

Where public schools suffer, the middle and upper class have the option of sending their children to privately-funded institutions, any one of a variety of boarding schools, charters, academies, prep schools, specialized schools for math and science or Waldorf schools.  These are the schools that have inundated the suburbs outside the largest U.S. cities, so much so that private affluence now goes hand-in-hand with public squalor in the school system.  While private schools have the freedom to develop unique curricula, support their personnel financially, and provide the resources that facilitate an orderly learning environment, public schools are restricted to the whims of government policy decisions, to one central voice, to No Child Left Behind.

Public schools today are subject to a system of zero-tolerance policies, which entails increased suspensions, expulsions and referrals to juvenile justice system, coupled with an “ordering regime”, or standardized one-size-fits-all school policies.  Zero-tolerance is applied to any and all deviant acts at school, lending itself to increased police intervention in the school environment and punishment of children (no matter their psychological or mental functioning level) by mandated sanctions.  In admitting youth to the juvenile justice system for very minor offenses, students miss school work, develop distrust of teachers and administrators, suffer punishments of probation, expulsion and the corresponding emotional trauma, and finally carry the delinquent stigma throughout their school career.  Overwhelmingly, these are the students who eventually drop out, commit crimes and are incarcerated.

Philadelphia provides a perfect case study in inner city education, expelling students at a rate of three hundred per day.  On average, students are about four years behind in reading level in Philadelphia.  Almost half of students drop out between ninth and tenth grade, joining the ever-growing group of “disconnected youth”, youth ages 16-24, who are neither in school nor officially employed.
What has the No Child Left Behind Act, implemented by the Bush administration in 2002, done to make reforms?  Under the act, schools must meet “adequate yearly progress”, which cannot be met if a single student in the school fails federal exams that are given on top of mandatory state exams.  Pressure to meet such standards is applied with the threat of “take over” by the government or complete loss of funding.  In fact, pressure runs so high that public schools are inclined to suspend or expel students who are at risk of failing, in order to ensure that the school meets the requirements.

In fact, Villanova is host to a variety of campus organizations that work with inner-city Philadelphia public school programs.  Villanova students experience similar frustrations about the egregious conditions, the barriers to learning, and the limitations of the No Child Left Behind curricula, which they are forced to tutor.  Nearly every one of these students will admit that the likelihood that his or her “little”, “buddy” or student will never see graduation day is almost certain.  Volunteer Gail Sondermeyer explains the problem: “kids had homework, but they also had these big packets for No Child Left Behind testing…they never really had the chance to do their homework for class, because teachers insisted that the packets always came first.”
Sondermeyer points to a common phenomenon occurring in public schools across the nation, in which teachers are forced to “teach to the test”, and in turn, experience a lessened ability to develop interesting, engaging curricula, due to restrictions and demands to meet for annual tests.  In Philadelphia, students spend an average of three weeks taking these federal exams, while schools are forced to spend excessive administrative funds on test coordinators and proctors.  How much of this spending does the government actually cover?  Less than half.  Public schools, already suffering from financial disability are forced to dig even deeper in their pockets to meet the standards of No Child Left Behind, a program which has not yet proven effective.

The one-size-fits-all approach to standardization encourages education through rote memorization and focuses on testing instead of investing.  In fact, approaches to teaching in public schools have begun to mirror the commonly used, rigorous approaches of penal institutions and even the military.  Teachers, of course, bear the burden of such implementation, and have little room for creativity.  The effects of such methods on teacher burnout are telling: half the teachers hired in inner-city public schools quit within their first five years.  In turn, the most inexperienced teachers are left to deal with the most difficult educational challenges and the most serious problem students.  These are the students who suffer from unbending educational policies, who attempt to learn in an environment where meeting a standard takes precedence over engaging students in the learning process, and where resources are so limited that even reading is made nearly impossible.  Indeed, in 2006, all 50 states failed to meet the benchmark for proficiency.  What is the trajectory for No Child Left Behind?  Are we looking at the beginnings of an end for the entire United States public school system?

Where resources are depleted and attention to school problems diminish annually, the public schools of the inner cities of the United States face a serious dilemma.  Where fewer students have the opportunity to succeed, and more leave high school with an inadequate education, the future generations of the United States will suffer severely from the current public school crisis.  The only promise of our current policies is a growing gap in educational attainment, between public turmoil and private affluence, in which only the privileged will have the opportunity to succeed in school.

 

By
Amy Richards
Re:LIFE Inc Writer

 

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Criminal Justice Inequality in America: The Destruction of the African American Male

Crime has fallen, but incarcerations across the country still soar, making imprisonment for young African American men a fact of life.  As Harvard Sociologist Bruce Western suggests, societal inequalities generally seem to us natural, legitimate or fixed.  Much of the inequality relies on our society’s perception of young African American male high school dropouts as a problematic societal sub-group.  This perception is perhaps the primary obstacle in addressing inequality in the United States: our complacency with it.
Western suggests that we are living in an era of mass imprisonment that has transformed a generation of young black men who make up the mainstay of the permanently disadvantaged population in American society.  The effect of imprisonment on social and economic inequality demands our immediate attention.
Only 0.1% of the population in Western Europe is incarcerated.  In the U.S., about 700 per 100,000 people are in jail, an entire order of magnitude greater than that of Europe’s population.  From the 1920’s through most of 20th century, imprisonment in the U.S. was relatively stable, and comparable Western Europe’s rates today.  However, from the mid-70’s on, the penal system grew stricter and the threshold for imprisonment was lowered: about 7 million people have since been brought under police supervision.
As large as these figures are, the volume of prisoners is not the most telling statistic.  Instead, we must look more closely incarceration rates for particular sub-groups that include race and educational background.  In the past decade, one third of all young black men who were also high school dropouts, were behind bars, a statistic hugely inconsistent with the rest of society.  In 1999, 41 percent of all black male high school dropouts aged 22-30 were in prison or jail.  In fact, prison time is a more common transition stage for young black males today than college.  Nothing distinguishes African Americans from whites like the difference in rates of incarceration (about 8 to 1).

Prison confers an enduring status that causes diminished opportunities for those who are previously incarcerated.  One effect of the overwhelming rate of incarceration on society is increased inequality of opportunities for prisoners when they leave, both in pay and employment in general.  Incarceration may reduce human capital (lost work experience, diminished skills), erode social ties/relationships to legitimate employment and confer a stigma that repels employers (civil disabilities too).  Ex-prisoners are then subject to high risk of unemployment, little prospect for wage growth, day labor, few to no benefits and decreased job security.  The stigma with which a convict is forced to live then subjects him to subsistence “at the margins of the labor market… precarious employment in low-wage jobs”.

Perhaps most importantly, however, is the effect that the incarcerated males have on the next generation, on their children, who grow up without father figures, while their fathers wait in jail.  One third of African American youth born in 1990, have experienced the absence of a father who was incarcerated.  Imprisonment has therefore become a normal event for young black men with little schooling.  By sharpening the lines of social exclusion, mass imprisonment has reduced the extent of American citizenship and produced a profound transformation of American race relations in the post-Civil Rights period.  Through its effects on economic status and mobility (and families too), mass incarceration has become self-sustaining.

An entire group of our population has become entrenched in a cycle of poverty and diminished life opportunities at the hands of the penal system.  By maintaining this unforgiving criminal justice system, we effectively perpetuate the marginalized status of an entire population of young black men, a group of men who would otherwise have the chance to act as role models and breadwinners for families and communities.  By diminishing ex-prisoners’ life opportunities, society maintains an underclass that is unable to gain a foothold through a fair paying job, that would allow them to begin on a prosocial life path.  The United States has, in effect, decided that this group does not deserve access to jobs or the other legitimate means by which they might reenter mainstream society.

While the criminal justice system is founded on the ideal of safety and security, it has a latent function as well.  It acts as a means of social control that generates inequality, while essentially doing away with what many view as a potentially problematic group of idle young, African American males.  When such a huge disparity exists between the actual trends in crime and the soaring incarceration rates, it is obvious that the criminal justice system no longer acts solely in the name of public safety.

*Statistics in this article are based on a 2009 lecture given by Harvard Sociologist Bruce Western at Villanova University

 
By
Amy Richards, BA
Re:LIFE Inc Blogger

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Race and Poverty Unwarrantedly Tied to the Presence of Metal Detectors in Schools

Schools across the nation employ a wide variety of security measures to ensure the well-being of their students. In large urban neighborhoods, it is not uncommon to find metal detectors as one of these security measures. They are often used as a “last resort” to promote safety. Proponents of the usage of metal detectors state that metal detectors are utilized in districts with a history of chronic weapons offense and that they are often suggested by parents and the media after high-profile school violence incidents. They claim that their presence is necessary to uphold safety so students and parents can feel confident about their schools. However, a recent study conducted by professors of sociology and criminal justice Aaron Kupchik and Geoff Ward revealed that schools with large low-income and minority populations, but not necessarily higher crime rates, are more likely than others to require students to pass through metal detectors.

The study explored the use of multiple security measures including security cameras, metal detectors, full-time law enforcement officers, drug-sniffing dogs, and locked or monitored gates, across a nationally representative sample of 2,510 public schools. Most security measures were common in all high schools regardless of ethnicity and socio-economic status. But metal detectors specifically were more frequently used in elementary, middle and high schools with large minority populations. All of the study’s conclusions remain true after controlling for student misbehavior and crime, location in an urban setting, and perceived area crime rates. The researchers say that this helps rule out the possibility that high-minority and high-poverty schools respond reasonably to an elevated crime threat by implementing tighter security. “Instead, it appears that school officials respond to a presumed correlation between minority and low-income students and violence and weapon use,” said Ward.

The presence of metal detectors in schools has also been discovered to be minimally effective in preventing violence. In fact, they may instead hinder academic success. Students sometimes perceive metal detectors as meaning that their school is unsafe so they can become disruptive to the learning environment. Their usage in elementary and middle schools especially has negative effects on the development and success of the students because it distorts perceptions on how they view themselves and their society. “Criminalization of misbehavior begins earlier for students attending schools with concentrated poverty, potentially contributing to short and long-term disparities in educational achievement,” said Kupchik.

Metal detectors are appealing because they seem to be a quick and easy solution to school violence. However, there are a number of other preventive measures schools can take to ensure the safety of their students. For example, the Blueprints project at the University of Colorado’s Center for the Study of the Prevention of Violence identifies 11 model programs that meet the criteria for effectively reducing violence in school. Also, a systematic review of universal school-based violence prevention programs by the Task Force on Community Preventive Services found these programs were associated with a median 15% reduction in aggressive behavior among students.

Metal detectors should not be considered as a last resort for ensuring security in schools. There are several alternatives that can be as or more successful without hindering academic success or patronizing students. Their use in schools is weakly and sometimes inconsistently related to crime rates within urban communities. There is sufficient evidence to prove that metal detectors are not a very effective measure in preventing violence and they should be regarded.

Source: http://tinyurl.com/3hwurn7; http://tinyurl.com/2b757xt; http://tinyurl.com/3vgtfdx

by Betty Diop (Re:LIFE Writer/Columnist)
Pace University
B.A. Applied Psychology

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Improving Youth Academic Performance through Sports

People are now beginning to recognize the importance of mental attributes such as confidence, composure, focus, and motivation in the performance of athletes. The possession of these qualities is required for the “mental toughness” necessary for sports aptitude. As a result, finding ways to enhance athletic performance and the acquisition of these traits has become an essential and now emerging career track. Within the field of psychology, a branch has been established to deal strictly with the relationship between sports and mental processes— Sport Psychology is the study of the psychological factors that affect participation and performance in sports. Psychological principles such as positive thinking and goal setting can be applied in sports to help athletes perform better and be well prepared for competition. The participation of youths in sports, therefore, is highly recommended because it builds critical skills they will use on the sports field, in school, and in life.

Athletes which have the qualities of mental toughness have the ability to move on after their mistakes, maintain confidence and composure in the face of adversity, and focus on what is needed to execute each task successfully. Professionals in the field of Sport Psychology aim to increase athletic performance by reducing the psychological effects of poor performance and instilling the mental skill needed to attain peak performance. This is accomplished through mental training. Mental training is about improving one’s attitude and mental skills while understanding the mental barriers that hinder performance. These barriers include high expectations, perfectionism, fear of failure, and lack of emotional control and focus.

Schools are highly recommended to include sports into their curriculums and mandate physical education because this increases mental strength and also active involvement in one’s school. Thus, participation in sports can improve performance in all areas of school. It has been discovered that youths who engage in physical activity five or more times a week are more likely to perform better in math and science than the rest of their peers; participating in sports in high school is related to improved English and math scores; sports participation is associated with lower high school drop-out rates; high school athletes are more likely to have a positive relationship with their schools; and that high school athletes are more likely to attend college.

For years, researchers have known that there is a connection between youth involvement in school sports and success later in life. Sports psychology is a very practical discipline and its application in school systems is widely encouraged.

Sources:
What is Mental Training
Economists Link Athletics to Success in School, Job Markets
Facts About Youth Sports and Educational Outcomes

by Betty Diop (Re:LIFE Writer/Columnist)
Pace University
B.A. Applied Psychology

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Pathways to Success: Immigrant Youth at High School Part II

Throughout the Pathways to Success research project, participants were asked for suggestions or recommendations that would lead to increased success for immigrant youth in high school. The suggestions are organized by stakeholder group: youth, parents and family, schools, school boards, the provincial educational system and the community. They are the culmination of all the information gathered during the interviews, the focus group meetings, and the community forum.

Youth:

What immigrant youth in high school can do to improve their own success:

  1. Patience and perseverance and most importantly, being unafraid to ask for help. Although the process may take some time and courage, immigrant youth must develop goals and reach out to others for the support they need to accomplish those goals.
  2. Make friends strategically. Immigrant youth should associate with peers who share similar goals and values. They serve as a support group by helping the youth maintain focus and providing motivation when faced with challenges.
  3. Get involved. Immigrant youth should explore the extracurricular activities available in their school. This will help with meeting new people and getting accustomed to the country’s culture.
  4. Maintain Self-confidence. Immigrant youth should believe in their own skills and abilities when faced with challenges. Often overlooked, optimism is an important factor in succeeding in school.
  5. Communicate with parents. Even though families are often stressed themselves, immigrant youth must preserve their connection with their parents. At home, they are their support group.

What native students can do to help immigrant youth:

  1. Being friendly and open-minded. Students should approach the newcomer, involve them as much as possible, and be empathetic about their experiences.

Parents and Family:

What parents and family members can do to get more involved with helping immigrant youth succeed in school:

  1. Get involved: Parents should try to attend parent-teacher conferences regularly, talk to guidance counselors, join the parent council, or volunteer in the school. They must also take steps to inform themselves about their child’s education.
  2. Encourage youths in school. Parents should inquire about how their child is doing in school, take an active interest in their child’s education and pass on to them the value of an education.
  3. Be understanding. The research participants spoke about the difficulty parents have in accepting the changes in their children as a result of living in a new country and experiencing a different culture. Parents should try to be understanding about these changes and communicate with their children throughout this process.

Schools:

What individual schools can do to accommodate to immigrant youth:

  1. Develop peer mentoring programs. Research participants discussed the benefits of matching the immigrant youth with another student who can understand their challenges. Mentors can reduce isolation and introduce the youth to new people and activities.
  2. Increasing openness and understanding. Students, teachers and principals should take part in educational activities that can prepare them for a more diverse student population. They should be aware of their impact on immigrant youth and practice openness and understanding to make them feel comfortable.
  3. Develop communication strategies and partnerships with parents. Parents may be excluded from their children’s high school experience when they are not aware of how they are to communicate with teachers and principals or if they face language barriers in communicating with them. Schools need to develop strategies that will enable parents to participate more and to inform them regularly about their children’s education.
  4. Increase social opportunities for immigrant youth. Immigrant youth need to be aware of and have access to social opportunities with other students within the school.  This will help them develop stronger social networks, understand the culture of their new country and orient them to the type of activities that are available to them.
  5. Develop leadership opportunities. Immigrant youth must be encouraged to assume leadership roles to increase their involvement and opportunities within the school. This can also provide valuable growth and learning for both immigrant youth and native students and can increase full student representation in decision making.
  6. Develop a welcoming, representative environment. Schools should be a place where all students feel represented and valued. Steps should be taken to incorporate these qualities into schools so that they are structurally, behaviorally and visually more welcoming.

School Boards:

What school boards can do to make meaningful changes in the learning environment:

  1. Hire qualified, quality teachers. Hiring practices should prioritize teachers who understand diversity issues and the various needs of their students, and teachers who are representative of the student population. Current teachers should be properly trained on diversity issues and be acknowledged and supported for their commitment to these efforts.
  2. Increase multi-cultural training of teachers. Teachers are not always prepared for working with diverse populations, or properly educated on the issues and realities that accompany immigrant youth when they arrive in a foreign country. Mandatory training for teachers should be incorporated into all schools.
  3. Increase subsidies and make them more available to immigrant youth. Make sure that immigrant youth are aware of subsidies for books and extra-curricular activities.
  4. Provide orientation for the parents. An orientation will ensure that parents are well informed when their children enroll in school.

Provincial Education System:

What system-level changes should be made regarding the success of immigrant youth in high school:

  1. Increase funding for partnerships between schools and community organizations: Partnerships between schools and community programs such as the YMCA settlement services are of great value to immigrant families. Strengthening these partnerships will benefit schools, families and communities.
  2. Incorporate a more comprehensive ESL program: Research participants suggested changes to the current ESL curriculum, such as positioning grammar as a central component of their ESL learning priorities in order to improve their written and verbal skills.
  3. Value quality education for all youth: Ideas about quality education should consider what each child requires in order to complete high school successfully. This should be an ongoing message within government and communities especially for youth who experience an “education gap” from going in and out of school in their home countries. Strategies should be explored so that these youth are not pushed out of the high school system before they are ready to leave.
  4. Develop support for parents: There should be a designated contact that can ensure families get the information they need when they arrive.
  5. Offer more support, programs, and time for immigrant families: After families arrive, they should be given more support in transitioning their children into school.

Communities:

What communities can do:

  1. Be more welcoming: Communities should work to increase understanding of immigrants and to welcome them as an important part of the social, cultural and economic make-up of the community.
  2. Acknowledge the potential and skills of immigrants: Communities should be open to the skills, abilities and credentials of immigrants and support them in finding employment.
  3. Adapt to the changing population: Communities should be open, flexible and adaptive to the immigrant population.
  4. Increase immigrant-friendly policies and representation of immigrants in the community: Immigrants should be adequately represented in decision-making roles in communities to ensure appropriate input into policies and other decisions that affect them.
  5. Make immigrant youth aware of positive role models: Communities should help connect immigrant youth with positive role models that can provide them with mentorship and confidence in themselves.

This research illustrates the complexity of the immigrant youth experience and how little is currently being done to accommodate their situation. Immigrant families generally have high expectations of what a foreign education can provide for them. Yet, there are many challenges preventing the fulfillment of these expectations. The active participation of schools, school boards, communities, etc. can greatly reduce this and consequently ease high-school drop-out rates and increase the success of high schools.

Source: http://tinyurl.com/3c7vv23

by Betty Diop (Re:LIFE Writer/Columnist)
Pace University
B.A. Applied Psychology

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