Neighborhood Wisdom and
and Inspirational Guide to Raising College
Bound Kids, We understood
that we had to fight for everything we
needed to get ahead in this world.
understood that what was not given to us, we
had to take. And we did take it. We worked
hard for every inch of progress for
African-American people in this country. But
in the fifty years since those struggles,
something has gotten lost. Our children are
cursing and fighting each other, talking
trash, dropping out, and ending up in jail.
They think they're hip. They can't read;
they can't write. They're laughing and
giggling, and they're going nowhere. We have
to do something to get our kids back on
track to becoming capable, responsible,
In lower economic areas, I'm looking at a 50
percent high school drop out rate for
African-American males. I'm looking at the
fact that 65 percent of incarcerated
African-American males are illiterate. I'm
looking at 70 percent of pregnant teen-agers
are African-American. And I'm realizing
there's still a great deal of racism in this
country. We take that. We all know that.
comes a time when we have to turn look away
from outside causes and look to ourselves to
solve our own problems. This is the very
essence of self-empowerment.
Self-empowerment has to do with education;
it has to do with knowing English, sciences,
math and history. Education is very, very
important, and it begins in the home.
we have to raise our children to speak
properly. We are not immigrants struggling
to learn English as a second language. The
African-American has been in this country
some two hundred to three hundred years.
Some families have been in places like
Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, fifty years
or more. They didn't come from Europe or
South America. The language that is spoken
is one that is of that neighborhood. It's
all right to speak it in the neighborhood,
but speaking properly outside of the
neighborhood will guide you towards an
education which broadens your horizons.
Standard English is standard English, and
speaking correctly is not Black American or
White American, it is American.
Studying, learning in school about the
history of people on this earth, this is not
"acting White." This makes you smart enough
to compete in a world that, despite all our
progress, may still turn against you.
It is the
parents who can either encourage their child
to be a better student, to achieve, or not.
When a child knows that the mother or
father, the foster parent, grandparent,
aunt, or uncle, when a child knows that
person is there for them, they behave
differently. Someone is keeping on them
about their homework. Someone is checking to
see that the child gets to school, on time
and prepared. The child knows he isn't going
to be able to get away with saying, "Oh, I
did my homework, yeah, it's all done."
Someone is going to check. When the child
knows he has to do the work, he does it.
You parents, you've got to teach. That's
your job. It's not a popular job, and it's
not an easy one. But you have to do it. You
have to be able to say to your kid, "Turn
off the TV. I don't want you watching that."
You have to be able to say, "Turn off that
music. You don't need to hear that." You
have to be able to say, "Get your homework
done. I'll take you to the library so you
can get the books you need." You have to be
able to say, "Education is important in this
house, and you are going to go to school and
do your best."
I want you to take a pledge. Raise your
right hand and swear: I am going to be the
best parent I can be. I am responsible for
my children. I will raise them to be
responsible, educated adults.
If you love your kids — and I know you do —
you can show them that there is a different
way to go, different from the neighborhood
talk and the neighborhood violence.
Education is their ticket to a bigger,
brighter world. As a people, we can do this,
but we have to make a start.
This book is a great start. Sharon
Chandler's work has helped hundreds of
parents and kids to get on track for
college. Her stories and methods have the
power to make a real difference. She will
give you the tools you need to get your
children on the road to good citizenship and
a good education. We just have to take the
responsibility into our own hands and say
yes to college.
"Say Yes To College: A Practical and
Inspirational Guide to Raising College-Bound
Kids" foreword by Bill Cosby
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