UPDATE 2: I found the Education Brain Trust’s Web site here.
UPDATE 1: I try to avoid making too many editorial comments about news items I post – I want this blog to be a news source, not my personal editorial page. However, given the attention this post has attracted, I wanted to point out that – as the Iowa Independent piece states – this proposal DOES NOT come from the Des Moines school district or from any other ‘official’ school source. Rather, it comes form a private ‘third party’ group involved in schooling issues in Des Moines. I don’t know more about this group, the Education Brain Trust, than is mentioned in the article, but I assume it is some kind of non-profit or public interest group. It is NOT, as far as I know, an official part of the Des Moines school system.
Paulette Wiley knows she may catch some flak for what’s she’s about to do, but the leader of the Education Brain Trust believes that African-American students in Des Moines are in an academic crisis.
“The bridge between education and incarceration needs to be blown up and that’s what we’re going to do,” said Wiley, director of the group which advocates for black parents and students.
Wiley wants parents to learn how they can help battle the problems affecting black children in the Des Moines School District — even if it means giving them cash as an incentive to attend upcoming parent meetings in May. A community meeting about the initiative is scheduled for next month.
The group is considering paying parents $25 or giving them a gift card to attend parent meeting that will be scheduled at schools around the city in May. The “parent empowerment zone” meetings will include free food, transportation and child care. Wiley said the meetings will be fun and interactive.
“As I look out at the young people today, we can’t go to them where we want them to be,” Wiley said. “We’ve got to go to them where they are. If indeed that is an incentive, then that’s what we’ve got to do.”