Geoffrey Canada: Our failing schools. Enough is enough!
Geoffrey Canada is another great example of the thought that your environment does not define who you are or who you can become. He grew up underprivileged in South Bronx, but did not add to the presumably discouraging statistic of high school dropouts in the area. Instead, Mr. Canada graduated high school, attended Bowdoin College for his undergraduate degree, then proceeded to receive his masters from the prestigious Ivy league school -- Harvard. Mr. Canada is now the President of the Harlem children's zone (formerly the Rheedlen Institute), which now provides educational and social opportunities to over ten thousand underprivileged students in the Bronx area. Mr. Canada also was the first recipient of the Heinz award in 1994, was named one of "America's Best Leaders" by U.S. News and World Report in both 2005 and 2011, and one of TIME magazine's 100 most influential people. The subject of the speech, as one might assume from the title is about our education system here in the United States, more specifically the underprivileged school districts. Some key points of the seventeen minute speech were that schools should refrain from continual stagnation and change their business model to "save" students, despite most people being afraid of change, it can be very good and in this case it definitely is needed, and poorer kids do not have the same opportunities as their luckier counterparts. Mr. Canada speaks of how easy it is to predict a school's graduation rate, especially inner city schools. The reason for this is that these schools do little to nothing to decrease the aforementioned rate. He questions the audience as to why schools are not open in the summer like they were in the 1840's, or why teachers receive test data often times after those results have no use. While these questions seem easy to answer, the more you think about it, the more confusing it becomes. It seems like there are many obvious, practical fixes for our education system, but why are they not being implemented? In The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caufield drops out of Pencey prep. Dissatisfied with the education system, Holden begins a rapidly downward spiraling trip to New York City. Both Mr. Canada's speech and Mr. JD Salinger's novel lead me to one very important question. How must we change our education system so that our students enjoy, and are more successful in school. If we cannot soon answer this question, we soon will be replaced by countries such as India and China as the superpowers of the world.