This Fall I Am Not Going Back to School

Well, this is weird.  All over people are going back to school.  I even have friends who have been in school for almost a month already.  The University of Denver begins its Autumn Quarter the first Monday after Labor Day.  That would be today – i.e. since 2006, I’ve been back in college today.  But not this year.

Apparently, when you graduate you know longer go to school.  Who knew?  Just kidding – but it really is a strange feeling.  I thought in May/June that graduation would really hit me today.  I’m not sure if it has.  I guess I’ve understood for some time that I would not be returning to DU. Searching for a job for months probably drove that home.

Today does feel strange though.  As I write this, I am on a plane flying to New Orleans.  When I post this I will be in a hotel in Baton Rouge.  Last year at this time I was in classes at the Daniels College of Business or working at the Center for Multicultural Excellence.  I’ve moved on. I’ve grown up.  For the first time since I started school (a.k.a. before I can remember) this fall I do not go to school.

I guess it is time to apply what I’ve been learning all these years.  Maybe it is fitting then that this afternoon, I have a big meeting with a provider.  Maybe it is fitting that I spent Saturday giving advice to Scouts and being told how old I am (more on these last two comments in a later post).

I certainly will not take for granted all that I have learned and experienced throughout my years of education.  I am so fortunate to have had the opportunities I have had.  My time at the University of Denver, specifically, and the people I met there was more than I ever could have asked for.  Hopefully I am working now to be able to give others the same experiences – and I know my education is far from complete.

We The People

One of my friends posted this YouTube video on Facebook.  After watching it, I definitely want to share it.  Take a look at this video and think about its message.  Most of us learned about this concept of “we the people” sometime during our education, but how often do we think about what it actually means?  Especially after we have to.

This video does a good job of beginning the conversation of who “we the people” are.  And who the constitution is for.  We need to remember that this country is not just about people like “us” – whoever “us” is.  And as we begin this conversation, we should also start to think about who “we the people” are that wrote those words and who they were written for.

Reflections on “Repugnant” UCLA Student Video – Developing an Inclusive Society

It has happened again.  A college student has made insensitive and racist statements.  Not surprising.  Too often, people seem not to think of the consequences of their actions. Yet, college students are supposed to be “educated.”  One might assume that such education would involve cultural understanding and sensitivity.  Too often, that is not the case.  On Friday, a UCLA student posted a video rant against Asian students.  I cannot find the original video, but one of many copies is viewable below:

Today, UCLA’s newspaper posted an article about the video in which a university administrator calls the video “repugnant.”  That’s a good thing.  Yet, more needs to be done.  This is an issue that is larger than UCLA (although I certainly hope that UCLA addresses this appropriately).  There is a general lack of acceptance and inclusion by too many people in our society.  Even those (yes, including myself) who claim to be “pro-diversity” or who say they are not racist do, in fact, discriminate and say or do hurtful things.

We need to educate our young people about acceptance and inclusion, beginning in pre-school and elementary school before learned notions of hate and racism and discrimination are developed.  Yes, we learn to hate and we learn what is “right” or “wrong” about the ways in which we interact with others.  A cultural change is needed beginning with young children and continuing through colleges and universities and into the workplace.

This change will likely need political support and is surely going to take longer than necessary.  Let us all commit ourselves to doing our part to make sure that our future is educated on how we should interact with others.  Treating people “the way we’ve always done it” is not okay anymore.

Ironically, UCLA’s The Civil Rights Project put out a policy paper supporting some of what I am proposing in this post.  Perhaps the university needs to start with it’s students…

Thanks to Build-A-Bear Workshop, I just gave my first contribution to  I’ve never really visited the site before, but I definitely encourage you to.  It seems to be a great way to increase education and help people who truly need it – and who will be our future leaders.

Here is information on the project I supported:

Summer Learnin’…Having a Blast!

Classroom project requested by Ms. M. on Apr 9, 2010

My Students: The long, hot, lazy days lounging during summer. No more papers, no more books, no more teacher’s dirty looks! But when August comes around again, students stare blankly at the simplest problems on the board, unsure of how to proceed because of three months of no practice!

I teach in a low-income school, where students are classified as “high risk” and “struggling”. Over the course of this school year, my kids have worked incredibly hard to overcome barriers and obstacles to close that achievement gap. However, with the arrival of summer comes the possibility of all our hard work being lost to the rays of sunshine and endless television programs. My students need to extra practice over the summer to keep their skills sharp for next year. For every school break, students receive a packet of homework to complete, which helps them practice essential skills when they’re not in school.

My Project: I am lucky enough to be able to loop with my class next year, meaning that I will have the opportunity to teach the same group of kids that I did this year. In this way, I will have one more year to catch them up to their more affluent peers. However, in order to ensure that we don’t lose more ground, I want to give them a packet of work to hone their skills over the summer. The kids enjoy these packets and always ask me for more. However, I don’t have a way of compiling the packets without binders and reproducible pages for the packets! This is where you can come in and help us! I will reuse the binders as long as they hold up during the school year and the reproducible activities will keep them busy throughout the school year, starting with this summer break all the way through the 2010-2011 school year!

With your extremely generous donation, I will be able to make homework packets for my students for the summer and every school holiday. They will be able to practice reading, writing, math, science and spelling in an organized and manageable way. You will be helping us close the achievement gap and get in the extra practice we need to succeed!

My students need binders for their various school break homework packets and reproducible literacy, math, and science curricula.