People of color also are 38 percent more likely to breathe in polluted air—the kind that leads to asthma, heart disease, and cancer, a 2014 University of Minnesota study found. Citizen Schools apprentices collect cans for the hungry in Texas. They’re also, as the research shows, creating better community members. And it’s not just landfills. These kids are more likely to go to school, be engaged in their regular lessons, and earn better test scores and grades. Centers of Disease Control (CDC). What can a good after-school program do?
Copious research compiled by the Afterschool Alliance shows that quality programs improve student achievement. Recently, they achieved a small victory: a new rule from the California Department of Pesticide Regulation that bans pesticide spraying within a quarter-mile of schools, from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. Salinas teacher Josh Ezekiel puts it this way: “We are Flint.” Flint, of course, is the majority Black Michigan city whose water was poisoned with lead through the negligence of city officials, and whose families have been drinking and bathing their babies in bottled water since 2015. Twenty years later, CRJ returned to the subject and found not much had changed: If you live near a hazardous waste facility, chances are you’re not White. It is better to educate our Latino students rather than to incarcerate them in our prisons,” he said. Residents in Flint, on the other hand, are still pressing for fair treatment and clean water, says Jessyca Matthews, a Flint high school teacher and nominee for NEA Education Votes’ 2017 Social Justice Activist of the Year. “Things have not changed dramatically in Flint. Rick Snyder—decided in 2014 to stop buying water from Detroit, and siphon it from the more corrosive Flint River for an estimated savings of $8.5 million.
Its study found that race—even when controlled for income and geography—was the most influential factor. Flint’s problems started when its profit-motivated managers—appointed by Republican Gov. Also, in both places, those risks are borne mostly by people of color. “This is a flaring example of environmental racism,” says Lucia Calderon, an organizer with Safe Ag, Safe Schools, who works with Ramos, Ezekiel, and other Monterey County residents on pesticide-reform issues. “We have Flint in the news, Standing Rock in the news, but not a lot of people are talking about what is happening here in the Salinas Valley.” Many schools in the Salinas area are adjacent to agricultural fields, where growers commonly spray pesticides and fungicides. (Photo: Mary Ellen Flannery) What is Environmental Racism? The term includes the “deliberate targeting of communities of color for toxic waste facilities, the official sanctioning of the presence of life-threatening poisons and pollutants for communities of color, and the history of excluding people of color from leadership in the environmental movement,” writes former NAACP executive director, Ben Chavis, who was also an assistant to Dr. Corporate profit has been judged more important than children’s health, Ramos says.
At Citizen Schools, for example, citizen volunteers with specific skills teach the “apprenticeships.” At Van Buren, they have included attorneys who have led students through “mock trials,” and recently, a local neighborhood activist who helped kids beautify their community, said Velina Chavez-Lopez, the campus director. He didn’t speak English until the first grade and grew up in rural Franklin, La., where his father worked in a sugarcane mill and his mother baked cakes. They’re not cheap, of course. The long-term consequences of Latinos and ultimately men of color dropping out of school create what Dr. School, field. In California, Hispanic students are 91 percent more likely to attend schools with the highest exposure to agricultural pesticides Their decision prompted the United Church of Christ Commission for Racial Justice (CRJ) in 1987 homework market to study the makeup of communities near hazardous waste sites. D graduates there are every year compared to men my age, 24 and older, I am .0001 with a Ph.
Field, school. One of the first historic examples is Warren County, N.C., one of six counties in the state’s “Black Belt.” In 1979, after collecting 31,000 gallons of PCB-contaminated soil that had been illegally dumped by a local trucker across 14 North Carolina counties, and over the loud objections of Black residents and groups like the NAACP who feared groundwater contamination, the state chose Warren County—the county with the highest majority of Black residents—as the site to bury the toxic soil. Because of their proximity to the fields, these students risk frequent exposure to pesticides like chlorpyrifos, which is sprayed on crops even as numerous university studies have linked it to cognitive and health problems in children and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) scientists have concluded it should be banned. “Every year, I look at my incoming class list and it tells me, these certain kids have asthma, and these other ones have ADD or ADHD, and their numbers grow every year,” says Ramos, who, alongside other California Teachers Association members, has been raising the alarm about pesticides and their effects on students for years. Studies show pesticides have drifted as far as 2.9 miles, and they don’t evaporate with a snap of the fingers at 6 a.m. Another was watching an invited military guest assemble his backpack and explain why each provision or piece of equipment would be included.) “We’re really so much more than a before- or after-school program – we’re really creating community schools,” said Krannawitter – which, of course, is exactly the kind of collaborative approach endorsed by NEA’s Priority Schools Campaign. Have We Forgotten Flint?
In Warren County, N.C., Black residents eventually got some justice—environmental justice. Poor White people are more likely to have clean air than wealthy Hispanic people. There are a lot of people that problematize this issue, a lot of people who say ‘the sky is falling,’ and not give you a solution,” he said. From rising seas, to droughts in the Amazon basin, the effects of climate change endanger the lives of indigenous people in a way that they do not yet threaten the wealthier, Western, and White world. Meanwhile, in California, Hispanic students are 91 percent more likely to attend schools with the highest exposure to agricultural pesticides, a 2014 California Department of Public Health study found. After-school programs cost money, at least, the good ones do — the ones that hire quality instructors and work closely with school faculty to align their goals, the ones that take innovative approaches to instruction. Again, race is key.
NEA believes all students, not just the privileged, should have access to a full curriculum, including the arts, foreign language, and physical education, provided by certified teachers during the school day. It’s a nod to the fact that pesticides endanger to students, but it doesn’t go nearly far enough, says Ramos, who is president of the local teachers’ union. Other studies have shown that kids in after-school programs make healthier choices: they’re less likely to get into fights, have babies, use drugs, commit crimes, or even gain unhealthy amounts of weight. Ponjuan is one of many researchers and specialists hired by the NEA Priority Schools Campaign to address issues facing minority students, particularly boys of color. Ponjuan moved to the United States in 1970 from Cuba when he was three years old. The primary causes vary, but come from the lack of parental involvement and outreach, lack of professional skills among teachers to work with young boys of color, and the pressing challenges to adhere to high stakes testing. “It is necessary to develop a policy that helps students achieve success in our educational system. He later graduated from University of New Orleans, earned a Master’s at Florida State University and earned his doctorate from the University of Michigan. “I really felt like it was important for me to explore, ‘Why did I make it?’” he said. “When I take a look at how many Ph.
Eventually, they got it. But they also save money: lots of money. The primary solutions require communication across various stakeholders, collaboration across multiple organizations that cross boundaries between schools, communities, and government, and long-term commitment to help boys of color, especially, Hispanic boys, he said. Between 1999 and 2004, Black children were three times more likely than White children to have lead in their blood at levels that cause permanent damage to their brains, according to the U.S. Luis Ponjuan calls a “silent crisis.” An assistant professor of educational administration and policy at the University of Florida, Dr.
Salinas Valley is one of the most productive agricultural regions in the U.S.—nearly two-thirds of our lettuce is grown here and one-third of our strawberries. In New Hampshire, programs also were linked to better behavior during regular school hours; in Los Angeles, kids voiced greater college aspirations. Compared with Black males, the problems that Latino males face are unique in that they range from language proficiency, immigration and cultural differences where there is a greater pressure to contribute to the family financially and emotionally. More recently, advocates also see environmental racism as a key factor in the disproportionate effects of climate change on indigenous people. She also makes a point of working very closely with teachers and, in fact, hires many of them for her program. “Our goals happen to be in math, reading and writing, but of course we wrap a real enrichment part around it so it doesn’t feel like just more school,” Krannawitter said. “You’ll see a lot of science, math and reading – but it’s not going to feel like that. Shame on us, if we think we’re going to be a successful country with the limited resources that we have by ignoring the largest-growing population.” “The time is now.
In an analysis by the Rose Institute at Claremont McKenna College, researchers found that “E]ach dollar invested in an at-risk child brings a return of $8.92 to $12.90.” After-school programs also are increasingly providing the kind of enriched academic content – especially in arts, music, foreign language and civics education — that has been cut by shrinking budgets or shoved aside so that teachers can spend more time preparing for high-stakes tests. One of their recent activities was assembling packages to send to overseas troops. In both places—Flint and Salinas—residents may be poisoning themselves just by breathing the air, or drinking the water. And, most importantly, studies show that kids at the greatest risk show the greatest gains after participation. The long-term effects of having a large, undereducated population, Ponjuan warned, will affect everyone. “The Latino agenda is the United States economic agenda,” he said. “For us to turn our backs to a group that will represent a large percent of our labor workforce, shame on us. After-school programs can be no substitute – although good ones may provide new opportunities for learning through a variety of experiences. Especially in high-poverty, high-minority communities, where the pressure to meet Adequate Yearly Progress is fierce, teachers report that the No Child Left Behind law has forced them to abandon anything but reading and math.
Ponjuan recently spoke at the National Education Association and identified the major problems that plague Latino boys and how schools and communities can improve their educational opportunities. D.” “I came from another country, didn’t speak the language and I’m here, so what responsibility do I have having this stage and platform to not address this issue?” “It would be very irresponsible of me to just point out the problem. Martin Luther King Jr., and coined the term in 1984. It’ll be fun and high-energy,” she said. In Lincoln, Nebraska, at Arnold Elementary, Dayna Krannawitter runs a before- and after-school “Community Learning Center,” operated in conjunction with the city’s public housing authority, that serves about 230 kids a week – all of them living in poverty. The combination is dangerous.
Warren’s residents had held tenaciously to the goal of an onsite, permanent cleanup that would not foist their poisons on another community. We need to help all our boys succeed in education, more critically, for the young men of color who are vanishing from our educational institutions and our communities.” More information about NEA’s position on dropout prevention. (AP Photo/Mike Fiala) Driving through the streets of Salinas, Calif., teacher Oscar Ramos is never far from a field, or a school. “Strawberries here,” he says, pointing through a car window to a plastic-covered expanse. “And that’s the middle school there,” he says, a beat later. Meanwhile, the program also offers homework help, as well as math and science competitions and games, typically supervised by AmeriCorps volunteers. Ironically, even as they suffer the most exposure, studies have found that people of color are least likely to contribute to pollution. The most pressing issue concerning Latino boys, Ponjuan explained, is the ongoing and declining trend in high school degree completion and consequently a lack of participation in post-secondary education all the way from the associate to doctoral levels. Take, for example, Citizen Schools where average graduation rates are about 20 percent higher for participants than similar peers.
At Citizen Schools, in addition to tracking graduation rates and grades, program managers look at their students’ growing ability to speak confidently and lead their peers. “We also closely measure their own perception of self-efficacy, whether they can advocate for themselves and strive to educational excellence,” Kubiak said – and increasingly, the answer is yes. Clubs like hip-hop or reading or “student military life,” all help to support school improvement goals. (Yes, student military life! This particular community is near a National Guard base and many students have parents in the military. It has been nearly four years since Flint residents could turn on their tap and safely drink what comes out, and local, state, and federal officials still don’t have a permanent solution. It’s exposure to lead, too. No, they’ve not,” says Matthews.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, almost 20 percent of Latino males dropped out of high school in 2008, the highest among any demographic in the country. Ponjuan also emphasized that post-secondary education isn’t limited to only a four-year college degree as there are many associate credentials from culinary arts to technical trades that can allow Latinos to build a fruitful and prosperous life. After decades of suspected leaks, the state and EPA pledged $19 million in 1999 to de-toxify the landfill. It also is home to tens of thousands of students, the vast majority of them Hispanic.