In the latest edition of Speaking Out, the author argues that educators should not disenfranchise their students—even those labeled “at-risk.” Take a look at the article and let us know what you think.
Do you agree that many educators’ assumptions about, and the labels given to, young students impede their ability to be effective in the classroom?

re: Stop Making Assumptions!

Damen Lopez' comments are right on track. While not every student may go to college, it is imperative that every child be ready to go. I think the program he describes would build character and pride for students and be a bonding force that would generate enthusiasm. His ideas are certainly worthy of strong consideration.

re: Stop Making Assumptions!

I teach at Los Penasquitos Elementary School where Damen Lopez started the first "No Excuses University", promoting college readiness. I have witnessed first hand the enthusiasm of my third grade students when they met an alumni from the college that adopted our class, UC Berkeley. His inspirational talk sparked a desire to achieve the dream that Damen Lopez so eloquently writes about. Our school hangs college flags on every classroom door, develop chants and wear college apparel every Friday to instill the dream of a college education for every child.

re: Stop Making Assumptions!

I have taught at Los Penasquitos for 30 years and proud of it. Our school is so commited to every child learning with the prospect of going to college. We all share in those beliefs that define our school. We are Michigan State. GO GREEN!

re: Stop Making Assumptions!

As the principal of a junior high, I have witnessed first-hand not only the power of this message with older students, but the urgency of hearing it. Even at this age it can be impossible to predict who will make it to college, so we owe it to all students to make sure they are ready with the skills and information they need. Damen's message is right on target!

re: Stop Making Assumptions!

I agree with Damen Lopez’s statement that college readiness “…is the idea that every student deserves the opportunity to be educated in a way that prepares him or her for college”. Many students do not have the benefit of a parental expectation of college or even the idea that an education should be valued. Our school was recently accepted into the No Excuse University family and I can already see what a difference it has made in my second graders. They are interested in learning more about what college is and how it might someday fit into their lives. Cheering for our college unites us. Go Thunder!

re: Stop Making Assumptions!

I work in an all city charter school in Philadelphia called First Philadelphia Charter School. I am part of the administrative team. We were accepted into the No Excuses network this past spring. Many of our teachers and administrative staff attended a No Excuses University conference over the summer to prepare us for the opening of our new school year as a No Excuses University partner and participant. There are many revolutionary ideas in this movement that appeal to the conscientious inner city teacher and staff who want to create a real change. To be brief, nothing was as clear and important to me in all that I listened to and read than "every student deserves the opportunity to be educated in a way that prepares him or her to go to college". I hear you and I couldn't agree with you more. Thank you.

re: Stop Making Assumptions!

As one of the newest schools accepted to the No Excuses University network, I can attest to the "perfection before participation" attitude among teachers. My teachers were hesitant at first to take this bold step of applying to the NEU network. "We're not there yet" was the common excuse I heard. I explained that every journey begins with a single step and if we were courageous enough to accept college readiness as our focus for the future of our community, we needed to do more than talk about... it was a call to action! No students are more poor than ours. And no students deserve more to be educated for college than ours. Every child deserves to have hope! Every child deserves to be connected to a bright and prosperous future. Finally, they deserve to be educated in a manner which prepares them for college... to break the cycle of poverty. Vermont Elementary School in San Bernardino, CA has taken that first step!

re: Stop Making Assumptions!

I couldn't agree more with your article...wow! I loved it! We need to speak out for these kids! You put into words so wonderfully how the assumptions of others shape the fate of some of our students. This is the very core of NEU and the deep shift in thinking that makes NEU so wonderful. No matter what we need to see each student as what they can become and make it our job to help them achieve their goals! As the principal of an NEU school, I too have seen first hand the incredible power of positive thinking. When you look at each child as "pure potential" it changes your lens to what they can do, not what they can't. Our kids know their job it to learn and they are learning so they can go to college!

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