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Understanding Poverty in Orlando, Florida Area High Schools (Part 1)

I was at my 25th high school reunion in Framingham, Massachusetts last week and ran into a guy I knew named John. He used to be in METCO which was a busing program that brought kids from Roxbury and Dorchester (two lower income areas of Boston) to the suburban schools so they could receive an adequate education. The ride was 90 minutes each way – a whole hour of pick-ups and then a 30 minute drive to Framingham on the highway. I asked John why he would endure that every day. It sounded crazy to me. He said, “To get an education, man! I look at the kids that grew up around me who still live in my neighborhood. They all have messed up lives. The main thing that saved me was my education.”

John said he was one of those kids who could not sit still, who was always in trouble and only came to his senior year to see his girlfriend everyday. He barely graduated with a diploma and worked a full time job after graduation. However, he eventually graduated from college with grades good enough to get him into Harvard. He has his masters in education. He has been a principal of a Boston high school and now works for a program similar to METCO – but urban based. Few people expected him to achieve this. “Least of all me,” he said.

We had a long discussion about Poinciana High School which has 30 percent or more students who transfer from New York and Boston inner city schools. I explained that it seems strange to find this population in suburban central Florida, until you consider that the areas tourist attractions draw lower income families like a magnet. The two things that I came away from that conversation with were:

1. Have high expectations for students. Expect that everyone will go on to college and tell them that they can achieve success.

2. Students that are not trying know that they are not trying. The question they need to ask themselves is, “Why?”

Every person who wants something does what one needs to do in order to get it. If that means education, then he will get an education. More school is not for everyone, but we are cheating our students if we don’t think they are capable of greatness. Practically, they need to understand that what they are learning is not so much Math, Science, Literature, History, but the fact that they need to work hard in order to achieve something. It is not financial poverty that holds people back as much as a poverty mentality.

A Hollywood director who received several Oscars was asked to explain the secret to his success. “Eighty percent of success is showing up,” was the reply. “Showing up” means more than physical presence. Many of our students (and possibly some of us teachers) do not “show up” each day.

Henry David Thoreau wrote: “If one advances in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success in the common hours.” In other words, we have to start every day with the idea that there should be an outcome. What do we expect to learn and master that we did not know before we started? Everyday we can achieve something small. Then who knows what might happen in time?

Many of Florida’s public schools have more potential than my high school did to reach kids from the inner cities. A lot of people don’t realize it, but the demographic make-up of this “tourist city” is more diverse economically and ethnically than most inner cities. At the same time, it resembles the typical suburban city. We have similar resources and enough qualified teachers. Ironically, we have a large group of lower income kids to deal with, but we can accomplish more if we have the idea that every student is capable of more than we expect.

Comments

Your comments are welcome!

I agree, that students need to realise and believe in themselves and have goals and ambitions of themselves in order to get the willingness to learn. Also that "80% of success is just showing up" - how true!

Posted by Claire Taylor on 11/09/2008 03:56 PM #

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The Real Jesus: A Defense of the Historicity and Divinity of ChristThe Real Jesus: A Defense of the Historicity and Divinity of Christ (DVD)

Who is the Real Jesus?

Ever since the dawn of modern rationalism, skeptics have sought to use textual criticism, archeology and historical reconstructions to uncover the “historical Jesus” — a wise teacher who said many wonderful things, but fulfilled no prophecies, performed no miracles and certainly did not rise from the dead in triumph over sin.

Over the past 100 years, however, startling discoveries in biblical archeology and scholarship have all but vanquished the faulty assumptions of these doubting modernists. Regrettably, these discoveries have often been ignored by the skeptics as well as by the popular media. As a result, the liberal view still holds sway in universities and impacts the culture and even much of the church.

The Real Jesus explodes the myths of these critics and the movies, books and television programs that have popularized their views. Presented in ten parts — perfect for individual, family and classroom study — viewers will be challenged to go deeper in their knowledge of Christ in order to be able to defend their faith and present the truth to a skeptical modern world – that the Jesus of the Gospels is the Jesus of history — “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He is the real Jesus.

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Running Time: 130 minutes

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Abortion Clinic 911 Calls (DVD)

Exposes the Dangers of Abortion to Women!

These shocking eyewitness accounts expose the dangers of abortion not only to unborn children, but to the health and lives women as well. An antidote to the smokescreens of the liberal media, these short clips show what really happens in and around abortion clinics.

Although the content is emotionally gut-wrenching, these videos have been used in church seminars and small groups to educate Christians on the abortion issue and to lead people toward a pro-life position. Contains 2 hours and 40 minutes of materials that can be shown separately.

Watch these pro-life videos on-line.

“These videos helped change my mind from pro-choice to pro-life. Your videos are what did it for me. I will be walking in next year’s March For Life in San Francisco.” — A. Jackson, California

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— M. Drew, YouTube Commenter

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The Abortion Matrix: Defeating Child Sacrifice and the Culture of Death (DVD)

Download the free Study Guide!

Is there a connection between pagan religion and the abortion industry?

This powerful presentation traces the biblical roots of child sacrifice and then delves into the social, political and cultural fall-out that this sin against God and crime against humanity has produced in our beleaguered society.

Conceived as a sequel and update to the 1988 classic, The Massacre of Innocence, the new title, The Abortion Matrix, is entirely fitting. It not only references abortion’s specific target – the sacred matrix where human beings are formed in the womb in the very image of God, but it also implies the existence of a conspiracy, a matrix of seemingly disparate forces that are driving this holocaust.

The occult activity surrounding the abortion industry is exposed with numerous examples. But are these just aberrations, bizarre yet anomalous examples of abortionists who just happen to have ties to modern day witchcraft? Or is this representative of something deeper, more sinister and even endemic to the entire abortion movement?

As the allusion to the film of over a decade ago suggests, the viewer may learn that things are not always as they appear to be. The Abortion Matrix reveals the reality of child-killing and strikes the proper moral chord to move hearts to fulfill the biblical responsibility to rescue those unjustly sentenced to death and to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves (Proverbs 24:11,12; 31:8,9).

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God's Law and SocietyGod's Law and Society (DVD)

Download the Free Study Guide!

God’s Law and Society powerfully presents a comprehensive worldview based upon the ethical system found in the Law of God.

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Running Time: 240 minutes

Watch over 60 on-line video interviews from God’s Law and Society.

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Dr. Francis Schaeffer - A Christian Manifesto (DVD)

That Swiss Hermit Strikes Again!

Dr. Schaeffer, who was one of the most influential Christian thinkers in the twentieth century, shows that secular humanism has displaced the Judeo-Christian consensus that once defined our nation’s moral boundaries. Law, education, and medicine have all been reshaped for the worse as a consequence. America’s dominant worldview changed, Schaeffer charges, when Christians weren’t looking.

Schaeffer lists two reasons for evangelical indifference: a false concept of spirituality and fear. He calls on believers to stand against the tyranny and moral chaos that come when humanism reigns-and warns that believers may, at some point, be forced to make the hard choice between obeying God or Caesar. A Christian Manifesto is a thought-provoking and bracing Christian analysis of American culture and the obligation Christians have to engage the culture with the claims of Christ.

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The Abortion Matrix:
Defeating Child Sacrifice and the Culture of Death

is a 195-minute presentation that traces the biblical roots of child sacrifice and then delves into the social, political and cultural fall-out that this sin against God has produced. You can order this series on DVD, read the complete script and view clips on-line...
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