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Small Victories

Small Victories

Last spring, I read a New York Times article about a study done by a professor at Brooklyn College about the state of high school newspapers. The study concluded that their circulation had slowed and the publications were slow to adopt the web. The article was meaningful to me. Although the German schools I went  Read more »

Random Family

Random Family

Adrian Nicole LeBlanc spent over a decade reporting in the South Bronx before her book “Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble and Coming of Age in the Bronx” was published in 2003. Although the book was praised by critics, the South Bronx is no longer the neighborhood it was by the end of the 1980s. Why  Read more »

All God’s Children

All God’s Children is the story of Willie James Bosket Jr., the adolescent criminal who was responsible for the enactment of the Willie Bosket Law that enabled New York State to try juveniles as young as 13 as adults for murder. Fox Butterfield, the author, does an excellent job of tracing Willie’s ancestry to the  Read more »

Whatever It Takes

Around the streets of Harlem, the signs are clear enough. The Harlem Children’s Zone is here. It stands out in red letters on the façade of the organization’s headquarters, also the site of two of Harlem Children’s Zone’s Promise Academy charter schools. The name itself takes a stand – it puts Harlem children first, providing  Read more »

Common Ground

Common Ground by J. Anthony Lukas, which tells the story of forced busing in Boston during its inception in the 1970s, is one of the most eye-opening and thorough pieces of journalism I have encountered. Lukas tells the story through three main characters, Colin Diver, Rachel Twymon and Alice McGoff, who act as lenses into  Read more »

why cant u teach me 2 read?

Yamilka, who immigrated from the Dominican Republic when she was 10, graduated from a New York City public high school but couldn’t even read the words on her  her diploma. She only knew eight letters of the alphabet. Her brother, Alejandro, was in high school but couldn’t read either. They fought back and together won  Read more »

Whatever It Takes

You wouldn’t know you were standing in Harlem Children’s Zone territory unless you knew where to look. A few buildings near St. Nicholas Park, another on 125th–the sweeping vision of founder Geoffrey Canada can be hard to detect, particularly now in the patchwork school system of Harlem with new charter schools cropping up every year.  Read more »

The Big Test

The SAT is one of the biggest milestones in a high school student’s academic career, a high stakes test that is almost synonymous with the process of applying to and succeeding in college. Since 1926, it has been administered to college applicants, touching generation of students and evolving from an experimental exam developed for Ivy  Read more »

A Hope in the Unseen

Ron Suskind’s “A Hope in the Unseen” tells the story of main character, Cedric Jennings, an underprivileged African-American student from inner city Washington, D.C. Jennings is determined to make it to a top tier university, but finds the path more difficult than he anticipated. Jennings appears likable throughout his time at Ballou High School, the  Read more »