You Can Help Your Child Achieve Educational Excellence
In Achievement Matters,
Hugh B. Price, President of the National Urban League, offers a sound and workable strategy that will ensure your child achieves academic success and will make America's public schools accountable for educating your child well.
is must reading for every adult who is rearing a child in this day and age. Hugh Price astutely combines tips from academically successful youngsters and their parents, advice of experts, and insights from his own experience growing up into and easy-to-use guide on how to help your children become good readers, enthusiastic learners and high achievers.” —Vernon Jordan, author of Vernon Can Read!: A Memoir
by Hugh Price, is a noteworthy effort to improve parental involvement, student motivation, and institutional accountability.” —Kweisi Mfume, President and CEO, NAACP
“If education is the door through which our children must pass to claim their rightful heritage as Americans, then this book is one of the keys to that door. But the children, alone, cannot open it, not even with the help of their teachers. It takes us—the whole village!—to encourage and support them both. This book will show us how.”—Ossie Davis
"There is much catching up to do if our schools are to fulfill their democratic ideal of providing a good education for all. We have much to worry about when some groups of children lag so far behind where they should be in order to succeed in school and life. Hugh Price speaks candidly about the achievement gap and ways to bridge it.” —Robert H. Benmosche Chairman and Executive Officer MetLife, Inc.
Our Children = Our Destiny
There's a crisis in our classrooms. In virtually every school district across America, African American children achieve at lower levels, earn lousier test scores, are placed more frequently into special education or remedial and less challenging classes, and are discouraged from striving to excel academically, or demanding excellence from themselves. The perception is that they are intellectually inferior, which is tragically reinforced by a vocal and destructive segment within our own culture that seeks to portray academic achievement as a sell-out to a “white” society. Experts say that perception is wrong as a matter of scientific fact. But we cannot allow those attitudes to continue. Indifference toward academic achievement will doom our children to a future far beneath their capabilities. And that has to change.
As President of the National Urban League, Hugh B. Price understands the challenges that await our children as they enter the mainstream of American society. In Achievement Matters, he tells us to reject the self-destructive mindset that teaches our children to accept academic mediocrity. A highly respected writer and public speaker, Mr. Price gives practical tips on improving children's literacy and achievement levels, while instilling a lifelong enthusiasm for education as a reward in itself. He provides a framework for change, offering practical tips for parents to help their youngsters become good readers and high achievers, describing the benchmark skills required of students in each grade, and explaining how to make sure your child isn't being steered away from courses essential for future success. He recommends proven techniques for cutting through the educational bureaucracy to create an environment conducive to learning, and where teachers and the school systems themselves are held accountable.
You will also discover the keys to becoming an effective, informed advocate in the educational community, as well as strategies for communicating with teachers and administrators for the maximum benefit of your child, and African American children in general.
From getting the latest technology into your child's classrooms, to providing after-school and summer programs to give our youth direction and keep them away from the drugs and violence that have claimed so many, this book offers real help for making a powerful, positive impact.
This vital resource for parents and caregivers ties into the National Urban League's ongoing Campaign for African American Achievement, a broad based public awareness and community mobilization movement designed to close the academic gap between black students and their counterparts. Filled with insightful personal stories, fascinating anecdotes from successful students, and valuable contact information for parents and caregivers, Achievement Matters is a critical tool for guiding your child to improved academic performance, and their brightest possible future.
Reading Group Guide Questions
Chapter One: Taking Charge of Your Child's Education
1. How can you help your children develop the actual reading and academic skills they'll need to do well in school? What can you do to encourage their enthusiasm about learning and inspire their love of reading at the earliest age possible?
2. How can you keep a close eye on your children's teachers and schools to make sure they're providing quality education and preparing your children properly?
3. Do you know what academic skills your children must have and what academic standards they must meet in order to advance from grade to grade and to graduate from school? Do you know what's expected of them at each grade level and, if not, how would you go about finding out?
Chapter Two: Spreading the Gospel of Achievement
1. Do you think your children are put down by their classmates when they strive to do well in school? How can you overcome the negative peer pressure your children may experience if they are determined to be "smart" and do well in school?
2. Who are some role models and historical figures that might inspire your children to achieve academically? Who influenced you?
3. Are there any programs and organizations in your community that recognize children who achieve? If you aren't aware of any, how can you and other parents, community groups and school officials work together to recognize and reward youngsters who want to do well in school so they don't buckle under to peer pressure to slack off in school?
Chapter Three: Reading: The Bedrock of Academic Success
1. What ways can you imagine using to communicate the joys of reading to your children and to introduce them to books at the earliest possible age?
2. What kind of books and reading material do you feel are appropriate for infants? For toddlers? For young children, preteens and teenagers? What books did you love at these ages?
3. Do you know how to--and take the time to--monitor your children's reading skills? If they slip behind, do you know how to find tutorial help for them at school and outside if need be?
Chapter Four: High Achievement Starts at Home
1. What kinds of things can you do at home to show your children that reading and learning are really important to you?
2. How can you show your children you support their academic efforts and are proud of their hard work in school?
3. How can you nurture the determination to succeed academically even if their schools aren't the best and their buddies aren't serious about doing well?
Chapter Five: Navigating the School System
1. Do you know how well your children's schools are doing? How can you go about becoming more involved in parents' organizations and community groups that keep watch on your local schools?
2. Have you had any trouble dealing with your children's schools? What was the problem? What did you do about it? Were you successful or frustrated by the experience? Would you deal with it differently today?
3. How do you feel about charter schools? What about special education? What other educational "hot buttons" issues are you concerned about?
Chapter Six: Learning Isn't Over When the Last Bell Rings
1. Are your youngsters enrolled in after-school programs? Do the programs have a serious academic component, like tutorials and informative trips? Are you satisfied with these programs?
2. How do you go about deciding if your children are well served by these programs? What are you looking for from them?
3. How can you go about finding after-school programs for your children? How can you and other concerned adults in your community start one yourself?
Chapter Seven: Computer Literacy Matters, Too
1. How can you encourage your children to learn about technology and computers at the earliest age possible--even if you don't know much about computers yourself?
2. Do you have a computer at home? If not, why not? Do you plan to get one? If you do have a computer at home, how do you encourage your children to use it for educational purposes and not just for recreation?
3. Do your children's schools have computers and teach computer skills? Are there after-school programs in your community that offer free training both for your children and yourself?
Chapter Eight: Demanding--and Getting--Good Schools
1. How can you organize with other parents and local leaders, and advocate for good public schools in your community?
2. What can you imagine doing at the classroom level, at the school level and at the school district level to help ensure that your children receive a really solid education? Do you know how to evaluate the performance of the teachers and principal at your children's schools and of the school district overall? Does the state or the school system itself issue report cards on school performance?
3. Are the mayor, city council, state legislature and governor truly committed to providing high quality public education for all children and ensuring that all schools do a solid job? If not, what can you do about it and what will you do about it, for the sake of your children?