Thursday, May 21, 2009

Hugh B. Price on Inner City Education

Former National Urban League head Hugh B. Price told the Princeton Chamber yesterday that one of the strategies for improving education is to increase and enhance the opportunities for student recognition. Prizes, awards, parades – they matter more than we would think, he said.

Price has a five-year post as a visiting scholar at the Woodrow Wilson School, and he recently wrote a book on how the community can motivate children to succeed. We need to create the equivalent of the 4-H Fair in urban settings, where students create projects and get to display them, talk about them to adults, and win ribbons.

He cites the Educational Testing Service study on parsing education, that too often educators fail to consider the home environment. By age three the average child in a middle class Caucasian household has heard 500,000 words of encouragement versus 80,000 words of discouragement. A welfare child, of whatever race, will have heard 75,000 words of encouragement versus 500,000 words of discouragement.

In education as in sales, you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

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