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Thompson: Crew Nails the Key to School Improvement

FishingThe New York Times' Clyde Haberman explains the hard-earned wisdom of Medgar Evers College President Rudy Crew in Back in New York with the Same Passion, but to Less Fire and Smoke.  

The former NYC  School Chancellor is determined to "get it right on the front end" by "creating a pipeline" to higher education. Crew is networking with the persons who really matter in kids' lives - parents, local leaders, teachers, principals and pastors.

Crew bemoans the recent preoccupation with test scores, saying  “we have been chasing numbers when we ought to be chasing confidence.” He wants the entire community to help instill "a desire for learning and — no small matter — a confidence that they can learn."

Crew recalls a conversation with John F. Kennedy Jr.  when he was head of the Robin Hood Foundation. He explained to Kennedy, “John, I would take these kids, these nonreaders, and give them an experience that is so fundamentally different from any they ever had. I’d take them to camps. They’d go fishing. They would learn how to be out on boats and canoes.”

After my neighborhood became the epicenter of crack and gangs in Oklahoma City, I was an environmental educator and that is why I became an inner city teacher. I have no doubt that Crew nails the attitude that we adults must help nurture,  “So ‘I can’t swim’ becomes ‘Lookit, I can swim.’ The ‘I don’t touch fish’ becomes ‘Lookit how many fish I caught.’" Follow Crew's advise on nononcognitive experience, and test scores "will take care of themselves." -JT(@drjohnthompson) Image via.

 

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