Zip codes didn’t matter then: Ron, Diane, and me
Richard Rothstein, a Harvard-educated professor, writes about the role zip codes play in children’s low education. This is a starting point for me because Dr. Rothstein is very focused. However, as a child in Los Angeles, my husband Ron and Diane, my dear friend, grew up in those limited-success zip codes that Dr. Rothstein talks about; however, we continued to have professional careers on different paths that led to lifelong success and prosperity. And we are products from wrong zip codes. I appreciate Dr. Rothstein’s research; And it’s like that elephant fable: depending on which part of the elephant you find yourself being blind; in fact, it’s all true.
In a giant city like Los Angeles, Ron, Diane and I attended three big urban high schools with Diane in Jordan, which would be the closest thing to the flash point of the Watts riots; Fremont High is further north and is Ron’s local school; and I attended Manual Arts, which was closer to downtown Los Angeles. What Ron, Diane, and I share as African-descendant students was articulated by the esteemed scholar WEB Dubois when he wrote: “Does the black Need Separate schools? “He offers the following rationale. The best way to overcome the historical past of Afro-descendant children / students is through an effective relationship between a child and a teacher that respects the unique heritage and experience of these students. That relationship enhances the student / teacher beyond “Other” status, as identified by Dr. Toni Morrison in her writings on race in the US The three experienced teachers of this type on our school journey. These teachers were the enablers of our talents; we often tell the next teachers of our strengths as students and of our personable personalities.
Diane and I met at a reception for Delta Sigma Theta Scholarship winners as we graduated from high school and moved on to college that becomes California State University, Los Angeles. We are both English learners and we follow different paths to become award-winning principals in California and Colorado. Ron would eventually complete his bachelor’s degree in Colorado. His career path was as a Commerce Law Administrator for the Colorado State Division of Labor and Employment. I’m celebrating conquering the zip code theory. But on the way to closing this, Ron notices his work with the Department of Labor and Employment. It was the goal of the retraining authorization for Coloradans whose jobs relocate outside of the United States. These individuals from across the state of Colorado universally required remediation in secondary education skills before entering retraining curricula.
This reality left him reflecting on the state of public education teacher training programs. What changes are relevant to meet the demands to strengthen the set of educational tools in universities where teachers are trained? It’s time for a dynamic review and evolution. This topic will be developed in its own unique article.
Award-winning writer Ta Nehisi Coates provides the final statement to this message.
Blacks should delight in their community and find joy in it because it is what they have. The fight is hard but it gives meaning to this life.