Thursday, February 13, 2014

With wisdom from Dr. Freeman A. Hrabowski III - Reflecting during the Cuse/Pitt Buzzer

Last night, I attended a lecture by Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, III, president of the University of Maryland, and math educator who moved up through the wisdom of his mother's parenting, hard work, dedication, and what he attests as creativity. Although he is a STEM guy (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) his talk argued that America excels with education because of creativity, rebellion, individuality, and tenacity.

99.9% of what he had to say resonated with my understanding of K-12 programs and where I parted from his thinking was with his optimism in the Common Core and what he feels is phenomenal support for raising the standards of all kids. Agreed, the core of the argument has potential, but the word support is where he is naive. Rather than support educators in schools everyday, more demands are placed on them with fewer resources. He argued that he wouldn't want an untrained doctor working on him, but I wanted to ask him why it is, then, that the federal government is supporting untrained, fresh-out-of-college ivy leaguers under the guise of Teach For America to serve urban and rural poor. This, to me, is institutional racism and an absolute hypocrisy to the 'higher standards' conversation. I couldn't help but think, "Dr. Hrabowski, come visit the schools I'm working in and help me assist the teachers on where to begin. The inequities are more troublesome than raising standards. We have deep societal issues here."

With that said, thumbs up to all else he said and stood for. I'm taking the quote he had us memorize at the final part of his talk as a mantra to incorporate in my own thinking. Quoting Lao Tse, he chanted,
Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions; Watch your actions; they become habit; Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; they become your destiny.
There's an amazing truth to this and he spoke from the heart, experience, the mind, and with integrity. Not a bad way to spend the Wednesday evening before the storm...

...only to arrive at the very second Ennis's shot for THREE went in! Go Cuse!

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