Friday, March 30, 2012

The Other Wes Moore

This week during STAAR testing I read a really interesting book. It is called The Other Wes Moore. It’s about two African American guys that grew up at the same time in the same area (the Bronx) with the same name.
However, one ended up a Rhodes Scholar and the other ended up in prison for armed robbery and first-degree murder. The book talks about how similar their lives really are but how drastically different they ended up.

I found several key points that I really could relate to my education world; points that I consistently feel like I’m trying to make to my coworkers. The first one is that we are a product of our expectations rather than our environment. Both Wes Moore’s were from the same environment; however, they did not turn out the same. I am continuously trying to tell coworkers that if we raise our expectations that our students will meet them. I have my experience from Waco to back me up and the Wes Moore that has climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro rose to meet the expectations that people in his life set for him. The Wes Moore that is serving his twelfth year of prison had no expectations to meet, so he became a product of his environment. I’m not saying I don’t agree that “our roots help to determine our routes”, but your roots do not have to define you. I think that’s what kids in low socio-economic areas have to realize. They automatically think their location leaves them with only one choice. That is definitely one thing I miss instilling in my Waco kids. I loved making them feel important and letting them know that I believe in them.

Here is my favorite line from the book.. it happens in the epilogue. I’ll leave you with that to consider:
 “I think the best we can do is give our young people a chance to make the best decisions possible by providing them with the information and the tools and the support they need.”

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