Closing the Achievement Gap: Perspectives on Change
Every morning I wake up, get ready for work, and think to myself while I’m driving to work, ‘what’s the solution to this mindset of poverty? I think, ‘what can I do to make a difference in this culture of poverty?’ What am I accomplishing. And each day, when I arrive at work (in Camden), I am confronted with poverty-mindedness: attitudes, conversation, and thought processes. In addition, I am confronted with the environment in which all of this exists; confrontation submersion. How can I, as one, create change?
The common thought is that change is best created 1 person at a time. However, at that rate, and considering how long it takes for change to happen, how many are being lost? Maybe there is another way.
A wise man once said that if you truly want to help someone, it’s best to help yourself. He also said, basically, that intent to “help” others is rude and hopeless; that true hope lies in becoming the best person that one can be – not in a “greedy and selfish way” – but in a loving and ‘accepting of others’ way. It’s like — acceptance. I am accepting and acknowledging the place a person is in. From this place of humility and understanding, I am able to truly be present with another person. Here, I am of service. Here, I am not intending to be anything but here. I am not trying to make anything happen – good or bad. And it is from this place without expectation that I am able to begin being whatever is needed…which might also mean recognizing that I am not needed. Sounds like the Golden Rule right?
Enter Cap the Gap. My hope is that we are first in a place of humility and understanding. I am believing that we realize everyone is in a different “place” and is, therefore, seeking something different, even though the end is probably the same – what I am calling the Good Life. However, we individually define this phrase, we can all agree that it is good…and often better than where we are now.
As we continue to champion the ideals of quality education for all, I am hoping that we all realize that being our best allows others to be their best – wherever “best” is for us and them at a point in time. When we stop telling people what they need and stop offering limited options (a false sense of choice)When we recognize this on a large scale, we would need to alter social service programs that are being offered and change the way education is administered to all of our youth.
Am I espousing a weird, over-simplified, and disconnected approach to a problem that is already completely understood?
Written by Cap.the.Gap Contributor, Joshua Cooper