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Archive for September, 2009

We’ve afforded these families and these kids all sorts of opportunities to lift themselves out of the appalling circumstances of their lives, yet they seem never to be grateful of our efforts; nor do they take advantage of the education.  They’re late for class.  Their homework is not done, or done poorly.  Sometimes it is done but never handed in.  They are disruptive in class – shouting out inappropriately, standing up, walking around, interfering with the other students who are trying to learn, intimidating the students…just overall disrupting the flow of the educative process.  We call the parents.  They either don’t come, or they yell at the teachers.  They, themselves, seem complicit in the whole thing and call us racist.  Or other times they don’t even call us back!  Look, just yesterday the principal tried to break-up a fight between two of them in the corridor and got smacked in the face for her efforts.  Come on Doc.  This is your area.  Tell us; what do they expect us to do?

In one form or another, this scenario has played itself out in at least eighty-percent of my meetings with principals or staff, or at seminars in which I am presenting.  The “these families” that they are alluding to are generally “African Americans.”  Although I am called in to deal with other ethnic and social minority populations, challenges with the African American population seem to more-often-than-not rise to the top.  These emotional sharings occur most frequently during round-table discussions rather than in the large group settings.  It would seem that there is greater comfort in these smaller groups – particularly if you allow a few minutes for ice-breaker activities and initial processing before joining them. 

But that’s not the point.  The point is, “How do you respond to that?  What do you do?” 

There is neither a single nor an easy response to this.  If there were, we wouldn’t be still dealing with this fifty-five years after Brown vs Board of Education. 

The first thing to recognize is that the approach to dealing with this issue is different relative to the age of the population (pre-primary, primary, middle, high), their history in the community (are they new immigrants or do they have a long history), the social grouping (lower, middle, high), the integration of that grouping (Is there a mix of lower and middle class, or is it a predominance of one class), the training of the teacher (has the teacher been trained to deal with that population or is it this one class he/she did) , the training of the principal, the readiness of the school district (particularly the Superintendent) to lead on the issue, the relationship between the Superintendent and the Board of Education (is the Superintendent a leader of a manager), and the level of integration of the families into the social fabric of the community.  

Those questions (above) must be answered first because it is from that knowledge and insight that the plan of intervention is developed.

The frustration you hear many teachers speak of is normal.  If you have not been trained to work with a population, and the population is relatively new and not yet integrated into the social culture of the community…this is expected.  Plus, let’s be honest about it, this is no way to be a successful teacher.  You cannot expect a teacher to do his or her best work if this is the situation he or she is walking into every day!  It simply won’t happen.  Additionally, without addressing the situation, you are offering those less-than-stellar teachers and easy “out.”  They just blame the parents, blame the school, blame the District…blame, blame, blame. 

Yes, that may be only 10% of your teaching fraternity, but do you know how many teachers ten percent is?   I have met and worked with many terrific teachers and principals, psychologists and social workers, but I have also worked with my fair share of those who seem to have a standard complaint stuck in a desk drawer waiting for just the right kid to pull it out.

This challenge goes both ways. 

Once we recognize and accept the fact that this challenge goes both ways (distrust, fears, concern, labeling, perceived targeting, etc.), our very next move is to get away from the emotional discussions and from the discussions of emotion.  Those take us nowhere. 

Frankly, it gets us into a game of emotional ping pong where one person serves and the others either deflects of tries to slam the ball back to the other side.  The parents never win those games.  They don’t have big enough rackets.  So they retreat, or they don’t answer the phone, or don’t come to meetings, or become very belligerent when they do come.   So we retreat to our corners in the same frustrated state that each of us came to the table with. 

This is a multilayered challenge that demands a multilayered response, the first part of which is “Understanding and Normalizing the Challenge.”  If you truly want to shift it, and that truth is different in different schools and in different school districts, you must first understand and normalize the challenge.

The story below attempts to explain and normalize one aspect of this enormous and historic challenge.  Follow it slowly.  It is written in very simple language but has profound parallels to our current conversation.  Remember, this is a multifaceted challenge.  This story simply takes one sliver of it and attempts to help you make sense of that aspect of the challenge.   When you’re done reading it, you are simply supposed to say, “Okay, now I understand.”

Read it.  Re-read it.  Then let’s talk. 

Spots On My Carpet

 Once upon a time there was a pretty little lady

Who had a pretty little house.

And a pretty little car

A pretty little sofa

And a pretty little chair

The pretty little lady had a pretty little dog

Who had a pretty little bed

A pretty little bowl

To put her pretty little food

She had a pretty little bone

and pretty little toys

A pretty little collar

And a pretty little leash

To take her pretty little walks

In her pretty little neighborhood

They were such a pretty little pair

They took pretty little walks

Around the pretty little park.

They were so happy.

One day they thought –

“Wouldn’t it be nice to share our pretty little life with another dog?”

So off they went in their pretty little car to the pound.

In the pound they saw so many dogs.

They saw big dogs

Small dogs

Fat dogs

Thin dogs

Smiling dogs

Frowning dogs

Each dog in want of a good home.

They chose one dog to share their home with.

And off they went in their pretty little car with their new friend.

He was so happy.

He got his own pretty little bed

And pretty little bowl

Pretty little collar and pretty little leash

They went for pretty little walks

Around the pretty little park.

They were such a pretty little family.

One day the lady went to work leaving the two dogs at home.

After a long day’s work

She returned to her pretty little house.

AGGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!

There’s a spot in my carpet – she screamed.

Oh my goodness!   What a mess!

Toys were strewn everywhere.

The place was in such a mess.

Who did this?

Why?

But why?

Didn’t I bring you from the pound?

Didn’t we share our pretty little home with you?

Didn’t we share our pretty little food with you?

Didn’t you have your own pretty little bowl and pretty little toys?

We brought you in as part of our family!

Is this how you repay our kindness?

She was so hurt!!!

Her pretty little house was ruined

And there was a spot in her carpet.

 

Moral of the Story: Do not expect me to change my behavior simply because either my geography or my social status has shifted.  It takes much more than a change in environment to precipitate/encourage/support a change in behavior.

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The Brown Egg

The Brown Egg

Page 1:

Okay children. Gather around.  It’s storytelling time.

Yes honey – that bench.  I know it’s cold.  Don’t worry.  It will warm up soon.  Just sit down.

Julius, move around and let your sister sit down!

Theophilus Jackson Jr.!  Boy you want to get a good cut tail on your birthday? 

Just sit down and stay quiet!

You know dem people be sayin’ “Don’t be beatin’ on yuh chilren?” Well boy, just you keep dat up, I will give you de phone an dial it for you…okay?  Now just sit down!

 Page 2:

One day a farmer’s wife was about to make breakfast.  You know, she was setting to make eggs, and hash browns, and pan cakes…some good stuff. 

Anyway, little did she know that all week there had been trouble brewing in the fridge.  Oh yes, big turmoil in the fridge.

Earlier that week the farmer’s wife went to the market to buy groceries for the week.

She had bought this dozen eggs from the grocer’s. 

Unbeknown to her, she had eleven white eggs and one brown egg in there. 

The farmer’s wife took her bag with her goods in it, and went home. 

She set all her groceries in the fridge and went about her business. She didn’t look at it! 

Page 3:

Well, anyway, the eggs were sitting in there just minding their own business.

Until one day they got to looking around.

Hey kids, do you remember that Sesame Street song that goes, “One of these things just doesn’t belong here?”  You remember that song? 

Well them eggs start to look down to the corner of that carton!  They did not know what was going on.

Now, they had heard of brown eggs before. 

They remembered that just down the road there was a farm that had two chickens that laid brown eggs. 

They had no real problems with brown eggs.  It just that; “What was it doing here?!”

Oh you should see them trying not to stare! 

The one just across from him looked over and gave that nervous smile…

“Uh hello,” she said.  It was really awkward! 

Page 4:

The poor brown egg felt so badly!

“Look” he protested, “I am just like any other egg in here!”

The white eggs looked across at him.

“Did someone say you were different? Who said that?  None of us here would say a thing like that!”

“I didn’t”, “I wouldn’t”, I didn’t”…said each egg in turn.

“You don’t have to say it,” said the Brown egg. 

“I can see it in your eyes.”

“Ha, ha,” they chuckled. 

“Are we a little paranoid” they mused?

“Whatever!” he said totally exasperated. 

Page 5:

One morning, the farmer’s wife came to the fridge to make breakfast for her husband.

She took out the bacon.  He loved bacon.

She took out the eggs.  He loved eggs.

She took out the pancakes and syrup.   He loved pancakes and syrup.

She opened the carton of fresh new eggs that she bought. 

“Oh!” she said to herself.

The farmer’s wife carefully reached in the carton and took out two eggs.  The farmer loved two eggs.

She fried them up so nicely.  It was a good breakfast.  He loved his breakfast. 

 Page 6:

No honey, she did not take the brown egg.  What you mean she’ll never pick the brown egg!  You don’t know that.

 She closed the fridge and went about her daily chores.

In the fridge, the brown egg thought and he thought, and he thought. 

“Ah,” he said to himself: “If I show them that I’m just like them, they’ll have to understand and let me be part of the group!

So now he focused his entire energy on trying to make the other eggs feel comfortable with him.

He dearly wanted them to know that he was as legitimate as any other egg in that carton, and that he earned a right to be there.

He wanted the farmer’s wife to choose him and fry him just like any other egg.

He argued to himself: “It’s not like they ran out of eggs and stuck me in there. I have earned my spot in this carton just like anybody else!”

Page 7:

He made sure that his brown coat was always smooth and shining.

He never rattled the carton or made loud aggressive noises.

He even chose not to wear his favorite hat to bed.

He kept a smile on his face all the time.

He was the nicest brown egg he could be. 

But he always felt that he was the twelfth egg. 

Even when there were only eight of them left – he was still, always, the twelfth egg.

Page 8:

Everyday the farmer’s wife would come to the fridge and make bacon, eggs, and pancakes with syrup for her husband. 

He loved bacon, eggs, and pancakes with syrup. 

Everyday, brown egg would so perk himself up, and shine his bald top when he heard the fridge door about to open.

He just wanted them to see him like any other egg. 

“Pick me!  Pick me!” he thought really loudly. 

Page 9:

Then there were only two. 

The fridge opened and he knew it was finally his turn. 

“It’s only two of us left, and the farmer has two fried eggs every morning,” he thought. 

Oh how he beamed with the thought of finally getting the chance to show how special he was…how “just like any other egg,” he was. 

 Mrs. Farmer came to the fridge, and took out the final two eggs. 

He felt the warmth of her hands as she grasped him. 

She laid him carefully on the counter. 

He saw the strips of fresh bacon laid carefully on a piece of tissue right next to him. 

He could hardly contain himself. 

“It’s my turn!  It’s my turn!” he thought.

He could just catch the scent of oil being warmed. 

Oh, how he longed for this day. 

 Page 10:

 She cracked the other egg directly into the pan.  Oh how it sizzled!

“My turn!  My turn!” He could barely hold his excitement. 

His turn.  She held him and cracked him oh so gently

 …into a cup.

“A cup!”               “A cup!” 

She fiddled with him. 

She spun him around. 

She swirled him a few times in the cup. 

She peered at him and poked at him. 

Then she poured him.

Page 11:

“I guess that’s okay,” he thought.  “At least I got used.” 

He could not, for the life of him, figure out why she felt the need to pour him in a cup and twirl him about. 

But he got used, and that’s all that mattered to him. 

He felt good to finally get his chance to be just like “any other egg.”

 THE END

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A buddy of mine from grad school recently sent a note to me and invited my thoughts.  I am going to first reprint it without any interjections then do a second reprint, this time with my comments in-between his writing.  His piece follows.

I had a two-on-one meeting after school this past week with African-American parents of a senior of mine who wanted guidance on helping their daughter – a senior – choose the right college.  The dad graduated from a large public university, I don’t believe the mother graduated from college.  I didn’t tell them this for obvious reasons, but I am biased against large public universities for undergraduate studies for just about any student.  The parents are dead set on sending their daughter to a large public university (a different university than the one her father graduated from).  In many ways, I am very anti-large public college.  Other than resources, most large universities offer very little when compared with the small private colleges, and usually their culture is not conducive to success for students and families unfamiliar with “the game.”   Having graduated from a large public university myself – and being very satisfied with my own personal experience – does not change my opinion.  Sending a first generation college student – or any student without a solid family support – to a large university and you’re stacking the odds against the child that they’ll ever graduate.  We – high school counselors – spend so much time helping kids get into college, we don’t prepare them so that they succeed in college and graduate.  And I’m not talking about preparing kids academically.  It’s the social adjustment of being placed into a “melting pot” at a large university where if you’re not white (if it’s the traditional large university) and come from a family with financial security, then you’re going to struggle to fit in.  The situation is a little different, I would guess, if a student is not first generation college student or if a student comes from a strong, nuclear family.  Otherwise, and this is a huge category of kids, then send your kids to a smaller, private college where individuals can have a greater impact on the culture of the institution, and you’re not as much at the mercy of “the machine.”  Besides, the education at smaller colleges is better in many cases.  I know that this isn’t fact, but my biased opinion.  And it’s an opinion that I don’t share with my colleagues or my students/families, although I do offer up a more tempered viewpoint when the appropriate moment comes along.  I never steer a kid away from a big university if that’s where their heart is.  But many times it’s like a person buying their first house when they’ve done all the research and looked at pictures of the house, but they’ve never taken a walk-through in the house, and – most important – they don’t have family who can guide them to know what to look for and what questions to ask.

So now you’ve read this and, hopefully, understand what he is saying, I am going to re-engage with aspects of the piece interjecting my comments.  I will italicize mine so that the call and response will be clear to the reader.

I had a two-on-one meeting after school this past week with African-American parents of a senior of mine who wanted guidance on helping their daughter – a senior – choose the right college.  The dad graduated from a large public university, I don’t believe the mother graduated from college.

Two things right away; (a) That you’re are having the conversation and the type of conversation you were having suggests that this child is way ahead of the curve. I have worked in the environment too long.  This is not a regular occurrence. This parent is ahead of the game. (b) That the dad is a graduate…that dad graduated, makes this child second-generation.  This means that, at least, one of her parents knows ACT, FAFSA, proper sequencing of classes, how to get in the school and defend his daughter, a sense of good teachers versus bad teachers… This child is way ahead of the curve.

I didn’t tell them this for obvious reasons, but I am biased against large public universities for undergraduate studies for just about any student.  The parents are dead set on sending their daughter to a large public university (a different university than the one her father graduated from).  In many ways, I am very anti-large public college.  Other than resources, most large universities offer very little when compared with the small private colleges, and usually their culture is not conducive to success for students and families unfamiliar with “the game.”   Having graduated from a large public university myself – and being very satisfied with my own personal experience – does not change my opinion.  Sending a first generation college student – or any student without a solid family support – to a large university and you’re stacking the odds against the child that they’ll ever graduate. 

Large universities are good for what large universities are good for.  There is a list of the universities that have placed the most people in the high tiers of the corporate and political world…the world that runs things. The list opens with the Harvards, the Yales, and then moves in to the Northwesterns, the Michigans, the Purdues and some of the other large public universities. So if you can’t get your child into the Harvards or the Yales, there is tremendous prestige and promise in getting him/her into the Mighigans and the Ohio States. It is like loading the lottery.  If you graduate from one of these high-profile universities, (a) there is a perception of the type and quality of education you’ve attained (true or not) and (b) there is a higher likelihood of your getting to the front of the hiring line.  There are some great private schools in Northern Minnesota.  There is one that I know of in Iowa. There are a few in Boston, and another in upstate New York.  There are the William & Marys of the world and the Carletons.  The truth is that only the parents who know and/or socialize with other parents who know, will know.  Our first-generation parents (both foreign and domestic) do not know that these places exist.  Note that I have not even spoken about the historically black college and university (HBCU) and the utility of that experience to the academic maturity of the black student.  That, and the fact that the HBCU does not (regardless of capability) market effectively to anywhere beyond their geography and knowledge base, is a whole other discussion.  Let me not stray too far afield.

A recent estimate suggested that the salary of the person charged with management of Harvard’s endowment was larger than the endowments of the 10 largest HBCUs combined. Let’s be real!  Which schools get marketed?  Which schools have the financial support and the alumni network to challenge, financially, for the best teachers, the best researchers, the best facilities?  Which schools can afford to send recruiters?  Which schools do you see running out of the tunnels on football Saturday morning?  Which schools have the best basketball recruitment programs?  Which schools do the scouts follow?    Which schools sound better when I tell my friends that my son/daughter is going to “blah-de-blah” university?  Parents don’t know what they don’t know and, sadly, the vast majority of counselors that I have witnessed working with these families seem locked in to the large university syndrome. They, themselves, participate in it.  It is part of the larger culture. It is what I see on tv.

We – high school counselors – spend so much time helping kids get into college, we don’t prepare them so that they succeed in college and graduate. 

We (counselors) do not see this as our responsibility.  The student-university match is the prime algorithm for success or failure. We (counselors) get neither credit nor blame for a student’s success or failure at the college level.  Academic preparedness or lack thereof does not fall at the feet of the counselor, and social-emotional preparedness is rarely part of the discourse.  Not that we don’t look at it, but we are trying to get this kid prepared for college or into college, and, if parents are involved, taking the lead of the parents…not from the parents.

At the college level we talk about the need for remedial Math and English, and the low success rates of our Black and Latino students despite these opportunities.  We see the remedial courses as an opportunity.  We quarrel about how ill-prepared these students are, and what are they teaching these kids nowadays.  We see the disproportional failure rates, despite the opportunity, as an indictment of parents, the K-12 system, the culture, anything other than what we do.  From our perspective, we are doing the best we can and these children are not coming to college prepared.  Why?  We look to the left.  We do not look to the right.  And we definitely do not look in the mirror.

Now, once you release the student to us, and we accept him or her, you (naturally) move on to your next group of chickens.  You’ve sent these on to fly.  You don’t look back to see which ones went “bump in the night! 

 And I’m not talking about preparing kids academically.  It’s the social adjustment of being placed into a “melting pot” at a large university where if you’re not white (if it’s the traditional large university) and come from a family with financial security, then you’re going to struggle to fit in. 

Kill the “melting pot” idea.  Nice concept.  Not real. 

Here is a joke for you.  “Fitting in” is not what my successful students do.  I have found that students who try to “fit in” tend to “fall out.”  This is particularly true for my first-generation students.  Second generation students whose parents have learned and taught how to negotiate and navigate tend to fare much better.  First generation students tend to struggle when they attempt to fit-into or with the environment.  In fact, my studies show that first-generation students do much better when they form an enclave…a space that allows and promotes social and emotional centeredness.  For some this was a religious brotherhood. For others this was a social retreat.  What the students that I studied told me was that they figured out where and from whom to get their needs met, engaged in satisfying those needs, and retreated to their space of comfort.  Notice how you don’t see very many Black kids at the football games, or the basketball games.  They will stay at home and watch it on television.  They will not go to the games.  Part of that is comfort.  Part of that is identification with self.  Right now being seen up in the stands is not a great identification with self.  But that too is another conversation for another day.

I am going to run a brief study on these kids who attend these Saturday morning games and tell you the results.  Stay tuned.

The situation is a little different, I would guess, if a student is not first generation college student or if a student comes from a strong, nuclear family. 

It’s a bit more nuanced that that, but that’s cool.  First-generation and nuclear bring different issues to the table (immigrant status, history of move from extended family toward nuclear unit status, etc.).  And that this child came from a strong nuclear unit does offer great strengths! 

Then send your kids to a smaller, private college where individuals can have a greater impact on the culture of the institution, and you’re not as much at the mercy of “the machine.”  Besides, the education at smaller colleges is better in many cases.  I know that this isn’t fact, but my biased opinion.  And it’s an opinion that I don’t share with my colleagues or my students/families, although I do offer up a more tempered viewpoint when the appropriate moment comes along.  I never steer a kid away from a big university if that’s where their heart is.  But many times it’s like a person buying their first house when they’ve done all the research and looked at pictures of the house, but they’ve never taken a walk-through in the house, and – most important – they don’t have family who can guide them to know what to look for and what questions to ask.

They might be in the wrong neighborhood.  That’s why you stay quiet.  They want to move into the middle-class neighborhood, and who does not.  How would it look if you were to be seen as guiding your students away from the middle-class neighborhood?  Not too good – huh?  What if there were other middle-class neighborhoods?  Even better, what if it would make more sense to purchase a first house?  You know those houses that are your first-homes?  You build equity while saving for your second home?  But if these kids, particularly first-generation kids, are never educated about the options, then their parents will never know.  You cannot educate a first-generation parent about this.  This parent depends on you.  You educate the child.  And you don’t educate the child as a senior.  That’s kind of late, don’t you think?

Thank you so much for your wonderful and thought-provoking comments. Keep writing.

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I was recently re-reading a piece by Williams & Leonard (1988) on graduating Black undergraduates.  It is interesting that we, 21 years on,  are still struggling mightily with this issue – whereas some schools like Stanford (84%) and Northwestern (75%) seem to have it all figured out.  I’ve chosen those two schools because (a) Northwestern has a comparable percentage, and (b) Stanford has much higher numbers of African American students that we.  Harvard’s success rate is in the mid-nineties, but they have such smaller numbers of African American students than we do.  

The authors note that “The problem of retention of Blacks seems no longer to be solely a question of retention but, rather, of academic progress toward graduation in their major fields of study.” A review of the most recent data within our System gives signature to this challenge.  African American and Latino students are more likely to require remediation in requisite math and courses, and are more likely to be unsuccessful at these remediation efforts (see UW-Oshkosh Equity Scorecard data).  On face value the fact that I am citing a twenty-one year old paper and we seem to be stuck in neutral should give us pause.  However, know that Williams & Leonard probably did not use our schools as their data profile.  Our schools may not, at that time, have moved to the state of acknowledging this as a challenge.  Our recognition may be more recent.  Our need to recognize may be more recent.  In fact, there are many school districts in Wisconsin where there are no African American students.  For the vast majority of my academic career, I was the only student of color in my classes.  That’s my excuse and I’m sticking with it.

However, that we are now fully aware and have been for some time, offers three points of review.

  1. It is as we would like it to be.  We argue, we feign concern, and we do the dance only insomuch as the cameras are on.  There is a benefit, to us, in both the dance and the retention of status.
  2. If the challenge is truly the gateway courses, as has been suggested for a subset of our population, then a critical review of the need for those “gateway” courses might be in order.  If they lend nothing substantial to the degree, other than being a gate, then move the gate.  Put a bridge.
  3. With a remediation course, you are trying to move a student from point -5 to a point +2, using the former as a point of knowing very little or nothing, and the latter as a point of minimal academic readiness.   If we are unsuccessful at moving sufficient numbers of African American and Latino students from point “a” to point “b” (despite non-academic struggles) it suggests that those students have had poor readiness within the K-12 environment. 

As a point of discussion, I will reject #1, despite its very realness.  Number 1 is very, very real but if we find ourselves in a discussion about #1, we enter into an emotionally laden vortex with very few data points as landmarks to base our argument on.  Additionally, we want, at all costs, to avoid arguing.  We want to encourage discussion on and of the data.  It is hard to pull data on #1, so let’s put that aside for now.  However, if another twenty years passes and we are still sitting right here discussing the same issues, checkout #1.  Number 1 will be your default position.  Know also, that under any discussion around student recruitment, retention, and success lies an analysis of costs and benefits…the costs of doing something/nothing/very little, versus the benefits that may accrue to us for doing nothing/something/very little.  I am not denying the moral imperative here.  I am simply stating the fact that we have a university to run, a board to appease, and big donors to keep “happy.”  So as we present on preparing our students for tomorrow and the diverse world they will have to learn to navigate, never lose sight of the dollars and making some sense of it.

Moving on. 

#2:  Is there data to suggest that students who succeed at these gateway courses are statistically more likely to continue on to graduation?  In essence, is there something about the structure of these courses that offers us insight into the students’ ability to matriculate successfully?  Is there a high enough positive correlation between passing these courses and matriculation that we should hold status for everybody, despite field of study?  If the answer is an unequivocal “yes”, then let’s hold.  If the answer is “maybe”, let’s review.  Let’s see if there is another gate that’s possible.

#3:  This is about us putting pressure on, not just complaining about or just having meetings with, our K-12 feeders.  If we are their outlets of prestige, then we must take more control in product development.  There are three ways to take control of product development.  The first would be our participating in the schools (see PEOPLE program; see Posse program; see Information Technology Academy).  These programs need to be cleaned-up but that is the general idea.  The second is to start a charter school.  We compete directly with the school district.  Let them complain if they want.  We make our own feeder school.  After much complaining and chagrin, I promise they will magically begin to produce better products.  Works every time.  Even just the threat works.   The third is to search for schools, within and without our district which focuses on an area of technology or business that we want to promote ourselves in.  For example, if Whitewater focuses on business, and Stout focuses on fabric and design, then we locate schools that teach with those as central themes.  There may be a school in Florida, or North Carolina.  We make those schools our little sisters. 

Moving on #3 does a lot for us.  It actually affects #2 also.  It saves us investment while putting pressure on our current providers.  It markets us to a wider audience and moves us as the school-of-choice for business or technology or whatever we choose to focus on.  This way, we can choose diversity as a starting point, or develop diversity as the relationship develops.  We also move our graduation rates without all the drama we’re dealing with right now.

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