The Lottery

Changing how our children are taught

As 2012 comes to a close and a new year peeks around the corner, it’s time for schools around the country to take up New Year’s resolutions on how they teach America’s students.

In the documentary, The Lottery, the controversy surrounding public and charter schools in the United States is examined. The film follows four families in New York City in the months leading up to a lottery for one of the highest performing charter schools in the city, Harlem Success Academy.

In an article by the New York Times, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded $25 million in grants to seven cities to encourage collaboration between charter schools and traditional neighborhood schools.

As shown in documentary, education reform is an ongoing issue in the country that some believe can be addressed by means of charter schools. Yet the relationship between traditional public schools and charters has been strenuous, as neighborhood schools view charters as rivals for both money and students. But are both schools fighting the same fight? Don Shalvey, a deputy director at the Gates Foundation believes so.

“It took Microsoft and Apple 10 years to learn to talk, so it’s not surprising that it took a little bit longer for charters and other public schools. It’s pretty clear there is more common ground than battleground.”

However, having a mediator such as the Gates Foundation urges both parties to cooperate in ensuring that American children have a better education.

REACT to The Lottery:

MENTOR children who may be struggling with school work through organizations such as Mentoring USA. 

DONATE to classrooms that need help. Organizations like Donors Choose makes it easier to help donate classrooms in need through teacher request.

VOTE in your local elections. Every year school district budget’s and building plans are put on vote – make sure your voice is heard in your local Board of Education election.

***

The topic if sex is taboo in this country. The infamous ‘Talk’ is often a source of discomfort for parents, preachers and teachers.

 

As discussed in the film Let’s Talk About Sex, over 15,000 Americans become infected with HIV every year. 1/3 of them are under the age of 30, and most are in low-income, inner-city communities such as in Washington, D.C. or New York City.

During an episode of NPR’s radio show Tell Me More, host Michel Martin spoke with Jose Ramirez, a gay Latino who lives with HIV and works with a non-profit health center on how only 28 percent of HIV carriers in the United States are getting effective treatment. However, what about the other 72 percent living without treatment, or their partners?

Ramirez explains that it’s very typical for young people to fall into relationships, and not think about getting tested or taking precautions. They don’t ask their partners if they’re HIV positive or if they’ve been tested.

“You just don’t think about it. And that’s something you don’t think about while you’re having sex,” he says in the interview. “You think about it afterwards.”

REACT to Let’s Talk About Sex:

START talking honestly and regularly about sex with others.

KNOW whether your children’s school or house of worship teaches sexual education and/or abstinence.  Bring it up for discussion in a community board meeting.

UTILIZE the resources for youth section on the Let’s Talk About Sex website.

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