Ed L. Bickham

“The subject I think should have more emphasis to get prepared for college should be the arts. Studies have shown that music lessons, as well as language lessons and different type of art lessons, most kids who did those types of things were more likelyto go to college.”

Hodges Smith II

“Some of the things that should be taught is understanding property management because a lot of our youth are not aware of what is going on. We hear about land-grabbing, and this is something that should be learned early. Computers are the wave of the future. I was just reading in Jet Magazine where Rev. Kelly from Austin YMCA just developed a computer center over at the YMCA. Without computers, we’re lost. We must be able to be competitive and high schools should be preparing us.”

Thomas Wood

“I think the kids should have extensive courses in reading and have book reports turned in on a daily basis, as well as from the weekend?”also using computers and other informational subject matters that they may run into. Math is a essential part of any kind of program, or job, or career they may eventually decide to prepare themselves [for]. This will be essential in terms of the computer age, and they need to understand how to continue preparing themselves for the good-paying jobs. Just like what I spoke about today?”predatory lending. Young people need to know certain technology because predatory lending is a program designed by [some] financial institutions to increase their earnings and to take away individuals homes. By that I mean if the individual don’t understand what the tax, adjustable tax and the variable tax are, he’s not going to be paying attention. The whole attention will focus on the amount of money he will get and not in terms of amount of money and the time that he’s going to have to pay that money back. The new [House Bill 4050] is a bill designed to protect seniors from predatory lending. But the add-ons are going to be something people need to have their legislators look at and fight against. I understand in the veto session they’re not going to beat it, so they are going to have to come up with a new law that the governor will have to sign. So all these things play important roles in young people’s lives and they must be able to read and understand what is written.”

Minister Jannell Dennison

“I believe the students of Austin High School or any other school from grammar all the way up should learn time management?”the importance of organization, knowing how to manage their time?”so in that way they can have things organized and it’s simplified. Students need to know they must be prompt because in our community we’re known for [BPT] black people’s time. When you get out in real society, you need to know how to be on time early and know how to manage your duties, and know how to prioritize. Austin High should focus a lot on communication, English and know how to verbalize it even in writing. They need to know how to make presentations. So communications along with time management will help them in a career. They also need to bring back gym and music. Along with the education, you also have to have the other aspects of being able to express yourself individually. Music and exercise helps to enhance the brain power. And of course they need to bring prayer back into schools because the sense of authority is missing. No rules, then you don’t have a sense of boundaries or know where to stop so you can be protected. Without boundaries anything can happen, so you need to learn there are boundaries in life and the importance of obeying those boundaries.”

Dorothy Henderson

“I have a lot to say about the Chicago Public School system and to parents who have children in CPS. They should not stand for one man to have that much control over your children’s education and that man is Mayor Daley. We need to either vote on our school board or let the state take it back over because to me, if that one man has that much control over CPS, he’s going to have what he wants. The kids are not learning, and he did not come out and ask the parents what they wanted for their kids. The parents know what their kids need; Mayor Daley does not. Arne Duncan and Michael Scott do not know what our kids need. How can a person with just a bachelor’s degree be head of CPS? Then you take a man from the park district and make him president of CPS?”there’s something wrong with that picture. We need an educator who can teach. There is more then just reading and math. It is certainly important but they don’t teach things like history, geography or science.

“They don’t teach anything that is important to growing up. Our kids don’t know how to get downtown and back. When they go downtown, it’s a different world to them. It is like going on a trip. We need to get back to basics. We have to make changes for our kids?”these are our kids in the city. They send their kids to private schools. One thing, if they don’t want you in the schools, they are going to have a lottery, they will write you a letter and say if your name comes up in the lottery. That’s another form of segregation.

“And then No Child Left Behind?”that means your child is to go to any school they want to go. That is a lie. I sent out 25 applications to schools. I got 25 no responses, and that is ridiculous.

“We need something else for the Austin curriculum. We need some teachers who are willing to teach science, gym, etc., we got gifted kids in the Austin community. All we need is somebody to pull it out of them. They focus on the wrong thing; they need to focus on the future. If we don’t prepare these young people for the future, the streets are going to take them and eat them up. And when they get the 2010 in here, we got to pay the taxes, but where are our tax dollars going? Parents, get aware of what’s going on in this city and register to vote.”

Terrayne Ellis
(youth organizer, Westside Health Authority)

“The type of school I would like to see at Austin Academy is a school that will offer young people opportunity to engage in fine arts and media. Our community is lacking in opportunities for our young people to learn about performing arts, visual arts and just be able to express themselves through performance. The arts help to simulate the mind and broaden one’s horizons. When you have a stimulated brain, your comprehension and understanding is really awakened. Subjects like math, reading and writing become much more easy and you learn to enjoy reading and understanding the world we live in.”