Redefining the Labyrinth was a project I began while teaching at a local Memphis High School. With the current uproar about all that is wrong in the Memphis City Schools, I thought it would be interesting to post the work generated by four high school seniors, who are products of a system that everyone assumes is not capable of developing and producing productive students who can compete in this socioeconomic culture. I edited the book and contributed essays to give the book a shape and form, but it was the work of the students that allowed for the completion of this work. The artwork was completed by the student author DeVarius Fisher and the idea to make the name of each chapter an allusion to a song in Hip-Hop was a collaborative effort. I will post each student essay here on the blog. There is also a Question and Answer section in the book. If you would like to purchase a copy click here.
Featured Artist: London Maclin
Talkin About It: Teaching and Learning
In the early 1900’s, blacks had a hard time obtaining a decent education because of local, state, and federal laws. The many that tried to challenge the laws faced prison time as well as death. They risked their lives for the generation today so that we could have a top notched education. As the years have passed, education no longer seems relevant to society and is more focused on personal choices made by individuals. While blacks once focused on education, they now focus on work. The desire to have things has usurped the importance of learning. Parents are working more and children are suffering.
Public schools are funded from tax revenue and most commonly administered to some degree by government and local agencies. Private schools are not administered by local, state, or national governments. They retain the right to select their student bodies. At these two educational facilities, the way education is taught is different as well. At public schools, students are taught from a state administered curriculum that is hindered by limitations due to the focus on testing. The students are cut short on different possibilities and misinformed on others. Parents of public school children are less likely to be involved in their children’s educational experiences than those of private school children. In private schools, the students are taught from school, not state, curriculums and are involved in more aspects of the student as an individual. Private school parents are more involved than public school parents in the educational and developmental background of their children.
Involvement in a child’s education is the difference between success and failure. Most parents of public school children are less likely to know what is happening day to day in the lives of their children. Most non- involved parents are too busy to pay attention to what is important. Involved parents know how to juggle the aspects of their work, life and their child’s education. Compared to non-involved parents, the difference in attitudes and their understanding of the importance of their education is unmatched. Non-involved parents are more than likely to brush off the responsibility of helping their child know the importance and urgency of getting a quality education. More and more, their children are straying from education and going towards other influences.
The children of today do not focus on their education but on the aspects of money, while parents concentrate less on their children and more on the stresses and pressures of their jobs. Music, media, and magazines play a big part in the straying from education for young people. Children read about how different people dropped out of school to pursue different dreams that they had and suddenly become rich and famous. While reading this, they try to picture themselves doing the same thing. The role models that they pick are another issue. Some role models give out the sudden glam and sparkle of what life without an education is like but they do not show the other side. All they do is give the false advertisement things.
A student’s growth and development in education relies on their environment, family, and influences in the world. Without an involved parent in their lives, they are destined to fail, but when the parent becomes involved, the child becomes motivated to reach for the stars. The importance of education comes back to head of family and to the child when the involved parent is there to help them along the way.
London Maclin is a soph at Texas Southern University.