Brown U Prog. for Disadvantaged H.S. Kids

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Discus: College Confidential Café: 2004 Archive: Brown U Prog. for Disadvantaged H.S. Kids
By Northstarmom (Northstarmom) on Sunday, August 22, 2004 - 01:23 pm: Edit

Anyone interested in educational issues concerning disadvantaged URM youths probably would enjoy the following article from Friday's New York Times:

Turning to Classics to Stir Troubled Youth

PROVIDENCE -- When Kurt Wootton was fresh out of graduate school and brimming with idealism, he took a job here teaching English at Hope High School. He was white, his students were black, and so he assumed the best way to reach them was through relevancy. He assigned Richard Wright's autobiography, "Black Boy," and he put on jazz CD's by John Coltrane.

Few pupils, as it turned out, saw many parallels between their lives and young Wright's. After Coltrane blew his last note, one boy asked, "Why don't you play some of our music?" Hope High, so improbably named, recorded a dropout rate in the vicinity of 50 percent.

Almost a decade later, Mr. Wootton remains every bit as convinced of education's power to transform stunted lives. He has changed his tool of choice, however, from a mirror in which students see only reflections of themselves to a window that opens onto the rest of the world. The program he devised and directs, ArtsLit, teaches literacy to children in some of Rhode Island's most troubled schools though performances of texts, many of them classics of the Western literary canon."

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