A Sampling of Educational Initiatives
UNDER the broad canopy of its sweeping report, ``Quality Education for Minorities'' identified many ideas and initiatives worth pursuing. Among them are: Middle-school science and math instruction that would emphasize the connections with real-life situations. Many minority students, lacking role models, are steered away from these subjects, which aren't made to relate to their everyday experiences.
Peer and cross-age tutoring programs, with high schools forging partnerships with nearby colleges and middle and elementary schools. The idea is that students helping students works for both parties. It benefits the learners while bolstering the self-esteem of the tutors, who learn the material more completely. A sense of participation in a larger community is a byproduct.
Support for teaching each child two languages. This would help recognize the importance of non-English cultures, and make Hispanic students, for example, feel they have something to contribute even before they are fully conversant in English.
Health education by the third grade that would cover basic nutrition and hygiene. Drug and alcohol education and health services would be provided in high schools.
Assistance in making the school-to-work transition. Minority students often don't have parents who can assist in finding meaningful employment. Therefore, the report calls for ``pathways'' that integrate school and work activities without closing off future educational options.
Initiatives to involve parents in a supportive role. Grownups who have failed in school frequently are at a loss when it comes to helping their children. More programs, such as California's Quality Education Project, are encouraged. This program has parents sign a contract, agreeing to monitor the progress of their children, to set aside a suitable place for study in the home, and to make sure students arrive at school promptly, properly fed and clothed.
Transfer centers at community colleges. These would facilitate the transition many minority students fail to make from two-year schools to four-year institutions.