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What we Blacks need to do

What we Blacks need to do

By James J. Hankins

     Summer Educational Plans for Students and Parents


1.Many students never open a book during the summer.

2.They sleep until around 1:00 pm and get up to raid the refrigerator when their stomachs start to growl.

3.Most of their time is spent talking, texting, tweeting, listening to music, surfing the Internet, playing computer games and watching television.

4.Parents failed to assign them any chores or plan their summer educational activities.


“If your plan is for one year plant rice. If your plan is for ten years plant trees. If your plan is for one hundred years start educating your children.”- Confucius

To help your child succeed, all parents, guardians and concerned relatives must write out a plan for the students under their care for the summer. It will be easier to carry out if the student is willing and help write it but if they are not, you must do it anyway. You must step up and be loving, but firm. If you do not put your foot down, who will?

NOTE: My wife, Faye, and I developed this plan for our newborn son. It helped make him the successful and enthusiastic social studies teacher he is today. This is his eighth year and he loves his job. He will take a one- year leave to study for his master’s degree in Education Policy at Harvard University.

This plan will work for you, your children and grandchildren. You must keep a good supply of quality reading materials in your home. The only cost to your family will be around $40 a year for a weekly subscription to your local Black newspaper.  All the other necessary reading materials can be checked out “free” from your local library.

Newborn to kindergarten: Read to your children sometime during each day and at bedtime. Teach them by using pictures, letters, numbers, words, sounds, shapes, colors and everything they see during the course of a day. Never forget, you are their first and most important teacher.

This is the formative time in their lives and they think you are the smartest person in the world. Use this time to teach them that learning is “fun”.

Use the 75 / 25 rule. Spend 75% of their time reading, writing, coloring, drawing, dancing and singing. The other 25% can be used on games, free play and a little television viewing.

Elementary to middle school:  Most public libraries offer a summer reading program for children. Have them pick five or more books from the recommended reading list to prepare them for their next grade level. Encourage first, then demand if necessary they read something each day.

High School: Do not allow your children to have any grade below C+ (82%) unless they have a learning problem. Do not allow the school system psychologist to place your child in a special education class until you receive direct proof of a problem. It is a fact that Black students are far too often placed based on their attitude rather than their aptitude. If this happens to you, hire a reputable educational specialist not connected with your school system to test your child. First ask your church, outreach organization and family for help. If they refuse, then borrow the money from a loan company if that is your last result.

It is that important because this placement will help determine your child’s and grandchildren’s future.

Guide the precious gift GOD gave you, your beautiful children, through two hours each day of reading something educational, writing summaries and meditating. Teach them how to analyze their problems and research the solutions. Strengthen your family unit by having frequent family discussions.

Parents, you as their leader must also abide by the two-hour shut down rule. Read something that will help you reach the next step in your occupation, prepare for another career and become a better educated voter.

Proverbs 22:6 (Paraphrased) “Train your daughter and son in the right way they should go, and when they are old, they will not depart from it.”


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