5 Things We Need to Teach in Our Classrooms

K-12 Teaching

Subjects like English, Science, and Mathematics are commonplace in American classrooms. These traditional subjects are important, but many of them don’t offer any value when it comes to life’s most useful lessons. Many people believe the classroom should incorporate some more practical subjects that can be employed long-term. Here are some topics that many students wish they had learned while in school:

Basic Finance

Most American K-12 schools don’t provide students with training in financial literacy. Unfortunately, many Americans don’t understand the basics about building credit scores, homeownership, investments, savings, insurance, or retirement and how these issues can impact their overall health and well-being. Many schools are advocating for more personal finance coursework and training to help curb some of these issues and ensure Americans are well-equipped to take control of their own financial destiny.

Tax Codes

Taxes are an inevitable part of life, but you’d be surprised to learn that the average American misses out on several thousand dollars of tax credits each year. Many Americans are uneducated when it comes to tax codes, and many can’t do their taxes without the aid of technology. As a result, most Americans won’t claim their full refund unless they enlist the assistance of a tax professional. A little training in this area can save great heartache and distress in the future.

Mental Health

Mental health issues have been a taboo topic for decades, especially in large parts of the black community. Unfortunately, the hush-hush nature of this subject has led to a debilitated society where those in need of help fail to seek it. Schools should invest in training that assists students with healthy coping mechanisms and encourages them to seek help when needed.

Time Management Techniques

Time management is important in both work and play. Many employers are looking for students who can balance the demands of home and work with ease. In today’s structured society, many students enter the real world with no concept of how to manage their own time. Courses in time management can be quite useful in curbing anxiety and propelling students to the next level.

Self-Defense Techniques

Self-defense techniques can be taught in a physical education class or a special elective and can be beneficial in the long-term. Physical safety is a no-brainer when it comes to an educational package, and many schools are opting to include this kind of coursework in their curriculum.

Today’s children have the most benefit in learning these principles early, and yet we are severely hindering them from being prepared for the future. Our education system should reinforce the skills and knowledge pertinent to a successful life, such as mental health awareness, cultural sensitivity, and financial stability. We owe it to our future generations to have all of the tools available to them from the beginning, not until it’s already too late.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Advertisements

The Most Dangerous Communities for African Americans

Black Community Violence

While crime and violence have generally hit a downward slope over the last couple of decades, African Americans are still disproportionately affected by dangerous living spaces. Places still exist in America where African Americans deal with an irregular amount of drug trafficking, and this drug trafficking leads to significant violent crime and police overreach. Discrimination often results from perceptions about criminality in certain neighborhoods, neighborhoods that are disproportionately black and brown. Below is a list of five of the most dangerous areas for African Americans to live.

East Eh Crump & South 4th St, Memphis, TN

This unnamed neighborhood near Washington Heights in Memphis is reportedly the most dangerous neighborhood in the entire country. The neighborhood suffers from immense poverty, with 78% of its children living in poverty. Ultimately, the predominately black residents there suffer a 1 in 9 chance of being a victim of a crime.

Altgeld Gardens, Chicago, IL

One only has to look at the Chicago Sun Times‘ article listings for Altgeld Gardens to see the sheer wave of shootings and violence in the area. Altgeld is the epicenter for legendary Windy City gangs: the Black Disciples, the Black P. Stone Nation, and the Gangster Disciples.

Sandtown-Winchester, Baltimore, MD

This neighborhood is home to jazz greats Cab Calloway and Billie Holiday. It’s also home to Melvin Williams, whose crew served as the inspiration for the Barksdale Organization for the legendary HBO crime series The Wire. According to The Baltimore Sun, the community has been ravaged by violence, especially homicides and gun-related crimes.

West Chicago & Livernois Ave, Detroit, MI

This neighborhood was once ranked as the worst in the country and, despite losing that odious title, it has nonetheless still managed to be crime-ridden and destitute. Vacant houses litter the area, which drives property values down and brings in both vagrants and criminals. At one point, the residents had a 1 in 7 chance of being victimized.

Any neighborhood in Flint, MI

The former automotive epicenter already had a reputation for high crime levels, political corruption, and abject poverty. Then, the city underwent a major health crisis when mismanagement of the city’s water treatment system left scores of people poisoned by their own water. Much of the city’s political infrastructure now faces scrutiny and legal trouble over the crisis. Even though crime remains an important issue for the people of Flint, they have to be more concerned with a safe water supply. 

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Resources Consulted:

ADT Home Defenders | Crime Rates

The Baltimore Sun | Baltimore’s most lethal neighborhoods

News Channel 3 | Study: Memphis neighborhood named most violent in the nation

Neighborhoodscout | NeighborhoodScout Most Dangerous Neighborhoods-2013

5 Benefits To Starting Your Child In K-12 Online Schooling

Traditional brick-and-mortar schools are not the only option for children. Online public schools offer the same opportunities for quality education as conventional schooling. One should consider some important phenomena before deciding against starting his or her child at an online public school. 

Your Child Can Learn at His or Her Own Pace

With traditional schooling, children learn with many classmates at the same time. Typically, in traditional public schools, children have little to no opportunities to work ahead if they understand the material, or to spend extra time on a lesson if they need more assistance. Students have to move on to the next lesson because that’s what the instructor is teaching the rest of the class.

Individual Attention from Teachers

Another aspect that makes online education different from traditional schools is the personal attention from teachers. A student can contact his or her teacher and establish a Skype meeting, send an email, or call the teacher at approved times. While the teacher is not face-to-face with the student, many ways exist to receive personalized attention for students in online education.

Preparing for Online College Courses

Another benefit of online public schooling is the preparation for college. Most colleges offer online courses to students, and enrolling children in an online public schools aids in preparing them for the online college courses. This format is wonderful for many people as it allows flexibility, but it can be difficult to adjust to in college. Starting your children in an online school when they are young will help them succeed in the online college courses they may take as adults.

Mass Customization and Optimization of Subjects

Online public schooling offers customization for students. Instead of going to school and sitting in classes with many students, they can choose when to do their homework or when to listen to the lessons. This allows them to optimize their learning potential for a schedule that works best for them.

Encouraging Open Environment for Virtual Classes

Virtual classes enable children to learn where they desire. If they can concentrate best while sitting outside or in a quiet space, they can use this environment to maximize their learning potential. Since it is online, they can attend school even if they are on vacation.

While many are hesitant to send their children to online public schooling, parents need to understand the many benefits of learning in an online environment. Online schools offer students the chance to prepare for online college courses and receive personalized attention from their teachers while they learn at their own pace. Online public schooling is not the answer for everyone, but many children excel in this format of education.

Education, in this age of information and misinformation, is going to be paramount to get right as a parent. And plenty of ways exist to do it, not just homeschooling; it’s just up to you to discern which is best for you and your child.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

References/Resources

https://thekindergartenconnection.com/how-to-homeschool-kindergarten/

https://teachingmama.org/10-benefits-to-homeschooling-your-preschooler/

https://www.connectionsacademy.com/online-school/k12-education   

https://www.businessinsider.com/why-kids-should-get-homeschooled-2016-8

 

Tips for Domestic Violence Victims

Domestic violence is a growing problem in America, and it affects more families than we know, especially since many incidents of domestic violence go unreported. However, if you or someone you know is involved in an abusive situation, it’s important to get help as soon as possible. Those who commit abuse don’t often stop on their own so it will be up to you to escape this situation.

Proving Domestic Violence

When it comes to getting out of an abusive situation, this is not something you may be able to do without help. An attorney will help you gather as much of the supporting documentation as possible when attempting to build a case. The evidence needed will often be based primarily on your own testimony and the testimony of witnesses who may have seen the abuse or the injuries caused by the abuse.

Additionally, medical records outlining the treatment you received and police reports for past occurrences may be used as evidence. While past offenses can’t be introduced in most criminal proceedings, cases involving domestic violence are different in that respect in many states. Your attorney can explain the laws in your own state and how they will affect your case.

Even where you may not have enough evidence to go to trial immediately, you may still be able to obtain an order of protection against the abuser. While the burden of proof at trial is to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt, there’s a much lower burden in obtaining a protection order. Depending on your state’s laws, you may only need to show that abuse has occurred or is likely to occur in the future.

Helping a Victim of Domestic Violence

If you believe a friend or family member is the victim of domestic violence, it’s important to know how to approach the situation. Direct interference may do more harm than good and could end up with you getting yourself victimized as well. Instead, speak to your loved one and ask about the situation in a nonjudgmental way. The goal should be to get the individual to open up about the abuse and to ensure the victim knows you believe her or him about the abuse. One of the greatest problems victims face is their loved ones often doubt that abuse has occurred.

Express your concern, but don’t try to tell the individual what to do. Many people make the mistake of telling the victim to leave the situation without realizing the risk of more abuse is higher at that point. The decision to leave should be the victim’s sole decision. Always remain supportive of victims of domestic violence. Remember that this person may have no money of her or his own, no place to go, or no means of support. Offer what help you can to the victim so that the person will feel secure in her or his decision to leave the abuser.

You can recommend seeking counseling from a domestic violence support center. Trained professionals will be better equipped to give your loved one the more practical help she or he may need. When the individual does make the decision to leave, you may also suggest consulting an experienced domestic violence attorney. A legal advocate can assist victims with obtaining legal protections that play a part in keeping the victim and children safe from future harm.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Resources 

Attorney Bradley Corbett | Domestic Violence

HG.org | Evidence Needed for a Family Violence Protective Order

Refuge | Support a friend or family member experiencing domestic violence

 

A Closer Look at the Adoption Process For Birth Mothers

Adoption

When a woman has an unplanned pregnancy, she has options, including placing her baby in an adoptive home. While an unplanned pregnancy might seem devastating for a woman, the newborn child can become a wonderful gift for someone else. In the past, adoption was a secretive process, and an unplanned pregnancy by a single woman was considered shameful, but today, most people are more open about unwed pregnancies by single women, and this means that there are more adoptive options. The adoption process involves several stages—from the initial decision to post-delivery care.

Birth Mothers Can Make More Decisions For a Child Before the Adoption

A birth mother can make more decisions about her baby, including helping to choose the adoptive parents. In some cases, she might select an open adoption that includes meeting the adoptive parents or receiving information about her child. Alternatively, a birth mother can decide to have a private adoption, or she might not want to meet the child until he or she is an adult.

Birth Mothers Can Receive Money For Medical and Living Expenses

When a woman wants to place a baby in an adoptive home, the adoptive parents can pay for her living, medical, and legal expenses. The regulations concerning these expenses differ in each geographic region, and if the birth mother changes her mind, then the adoptive parents are often not reimbursed.

Birth Mothers May Need to Contact the Biological Father

In some regions, a biological father has the right to care for his child, so the birth mother must provide information about the father before an infant is available for adoption. By having the correct information and release forms from the biological father, a woman can place her child in an adoptive home legally.

Birth Mothers Cannot Reclaim a Child Later

Protocols are in place so that a birth mother cannot reclaim a child later. The amount of time for reversing the decision to relinquish a child to adoption varies, but in most cases, it is only a few weeks. This ensures that the infant receives the best care, so it is important for a birth mother to understand this regulation.

The Birth Mother Isn’t Involved in the Child’s Upbringing

In many cases, a birth mother isn’t involved in the child’s upbringing after he or she is placed for adoption, and this includes open adoption situations. If an adoptive couple decides to divorce, change religions, or move to a new location, the birth mother cannot stop these events.

A Birth Mother Doesn’t Need to Pay an Attorney or Adoption Agency

The process of adoption is expensive, but the adoptive parent or couple is responsible for the fees. This makes it easier for a woman with an unplanned pregnancy to place her baby for adoption. The agencies and attorneys arranging the adoptions can charge thousands of dollars in fees, but the birth mother doesn’t receive payment for placing a child for adoption.

Birth Mothers Can Use Private or Public Adoption Agencies

A woman who wants to place a baby into an adoptive home can choose a public adoption or a private adoption. A public agency is an agency operated by the government; a private adoption process is planned by an attorney. Also, religious-based adoption agencies exist that will place an infant in a home where the parents are committed to a certain faith.

The Adoption Process Is More Respectful Than in the Past

Today, when a birth mother wants to place her child in an adoptive home, she is treated with respect instead of being treated as if she is doing something shameful. Birth mothers are also taken care of after the adoption process ends with professional medical care and psychological counseling. An adoption agency or attorney will make sure that the birth mother is able to continue living her life in a healthy and safe manner.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Christ’s Perfect Example of Love

Jesus Love on the Cross

(Photo Credit: CNN)

Christ is the highest expression and embodiment of love.

Suffering the most barbarous and mortifying sacrificial death one can ever witness or imagine—all to proffer an invitation for eternal union and fellowship with Him—Christ loved everyone even before anyone ever loved Him.

Giving those willing to believe in Him and His redemptive work on Calvary’s Cross as the final atonement for all sins, Jesus offers an everlasting love, a love that never leaves, never forsakes, never separates.  

Faithful to us when we’re unfaithful to Him, Jesus loves unconditionally because He is love.

To know love, therefore, is to know Him.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Words of Grace by Scott Patty: A Book Review

Words of Grace by Scott Patty

                                            (Photo Courtesy of LifeWay)

Written prayerfully and from the heart, Words of Grace: A 100-Day Devotional, penned by Scott Patty, pastor of Grace Community Church in Nashville, Tennessee and a graduate of Belmont University and Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, is a powerful spiritual devotional that illuminates the most essential message of the Bible: grace. Through the devotional pieces in this book, Patty strives to “open up the meaning, relevance, and application of God’s Word of grace to people” (xi). The author hopes readers “hear God’s Word, see the grace of Christ in it [the Bible], respond to him [Christ] in faith, and come to know him [Christ] personally” (xi).  

As a minister and theologian whose teaching praxis and theology centers on grace, this book is a welcome addition to my library. Each devotional piece begins with one or two scriptural verses, and then Patty starts teaching the reader critical truths and principles based on the verse(s), triggering valuable spiritual reflections and personal calls-to-action. When reading Words of Grace: A 100-Day Devotional, therefore, don’t think you’re about to pick a book that’s not about to challenge you to experience spiritual renewal and transformation. This book has the power to produce a truly new you; a new you in virtually every area of your life.

One of my favorite devotional pieces in the book is “God, the Just and Justifier,” based on Romans 3:21-26, which is arguably “the most important paragraph on salvation in the Bible” (9). This portion of the book is a beautiful (and brief, of course) explanation and reflection on how God’s grace has liberated those who believe His grace is sufficient to forgive and cleanse their sins forever. Patty writes, “As such, when Jesus died on the cross he took our sins to himself, bore the punishment of God against our sin in his body, and thereby freed us from condemnation for our sin. God sent Jesus to be our substitute. This is the definition of grace” (9).    

In short, I highly recommend that you purchase and read this book. As you read this work, you will grow deeper in your comprehension and appreciation of grace. To help facilitate a critical review of Patty’s work, B&H Publishing Group/LifeWay supplied me with a copy of Words of Grace: A 100-Day Devotional.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison