Getting a college education
is a 20-year investment.
When you’re growing up poor,
you’re not accustomed to thinking that far ahead.
Instead, you’re thinking about where you’re going to get your next meal
and how your family is going to pay rent that month.
Besides, my parents and my friends’ parents
似乎生活得还不错 开着出租车 或者当个看门人
seemed to be doing just fine driving taxis and working as janitors.
It wasn’t until I was a teenager
when I realized I didn’t want to do those things.
By then, I was two-thirds of the way through my education,
and it was almost too late to turn things around.
When you grow up poor, you want to be rich.
I was no different.
I’m the second-oldest of seven,
and was raised by a single mother on government aid
in Queens, New York.
By virtue of growing up low-income,
my siblings and I went to some of New York City’s
most struggling public schools.
I had over 60 absences when I was in seventh grade,
because I didn’t feel like going to class.
My high school had a 55 percent graduation rate,
and even worse,
only 20 percent of the kids graduating
When I actually did make it to college,
I told my friend Brennan
how our teachers would always ask us to raise our hands
if we were going to college.
I was taken aback when Brennan said,
“卡里姆 我之前从未被问过那个问题 ”
“Karim, I’ve never been asked that question before.”
It was always, “What college are you going to?”
Just the way that question is phrased
made it unacceptable for him not to have gone to college.
Nowadays I get asked a different question.
“How were you able to make it out?”
For years I said I was lucky,
but it’s not just luck.
When my older brother and I graduated from high school
at the very same time
and he later dropped out of a two-year college,
I wanted to understand why he dropped out
and I kept studying.
It wasn’t until I got to Cornell as a Presidential Research Scholar
that I started to learn about the very real educational consequences
of being raised by a single mother on government aid
and attending the schools that I did.
就是那时 我完全理解了哥哥的 人生轨迹为何如此
That’s when my older brother’s trajectory began to make complete sense to me.
I also learned that our most admirable education reformers,
· 邓肯 美国前教育部长
people like Arne Duncan, the former US Secretary of Education,
或温蒂 · 科普 “为美国而教”组织的创始人
or Wendy Kopp, the founder of Teach For America,
had never attended an inner city public school like I had.
So much of our education reform is driven by a sympathetic approach,
where people are saying,
“Let’s go and help these poor inner city kids,
or these poor black and Latino kids,”
instead of an empathetic approach,
where someone like me, who had grown up in this environment, could say,
“I know the adversities that you’re facing
and I want to help you overcome them.”
现在 当我被问到 曾经如何做到的时候
Today when I get questions about how I made it out,
I share that one of the biggest reasons
is that I wasn’t ashamed to ask for help.
In a typical middle class or affluent household,
if a kid is struggling,
there’s a good chance that a parent or a teacher will come to their rescue
even if they don’t ask for help.
However, if that same kid is growing up poor
and doesn’t ask for help,
there’s a good chance that no one will help them.
There are virtually no social safety nets available.
So seven years ago,
I started to reform our public education system
shaped by my firsthand perspective.
And I started with summer school.
Research tells us that two-thirds of the achievement gap,
which is the disparity in educational attainment
between rich kids and poor kids
or black kids and white kids,
could be directly attributed to the summer learning loss.
In low-income neighborhoods, kids forget almost three months
of what they learned during the school year
over the summer.
They return to school in the fall,
and their teachers spend another two months
reteaching them old material.
That’s five months.
The school year in the United States is only 10 months.
If kids lose five months of learning every single year,
that’s half of their education.
If kids were in school over the summer, then they couldn’t regress,
but traditional summer school is poorly designed.
For kids it feels like punishment,
and for teachers it feels like babysitting.
But how can we expect principals to execute an effective summer program
when the school year ends the last week of June
and then summer school starts just one week later?
There just isn’t enough time to find the right people,
sort out the logistics,
and design an engaging curriculum that excites kids and teachers.
But what if we created a program over the summer
that empowered teachers as teaching coaches
to develop aspiring educators?
What if we empowered college-educated role models
as teaching fellows
to help kids realize their college ambitions?
What if empowered high-achieving kids
as mentors to tutor their younger peers
and inspire them to invest in their education?
What if we empowered all kids as scholars,
asked them what colleges they were going to,
designed a summer school they want to attend
to completely eliminate the summer learning loss
and close two-thirds of the achievement gap?
又会怎样？ 截止到这个夏天 我的团队已经服务了 4000多位低收入家庭的儿童
By this summer, my team will have served over 4,000 low-income children,
trained over 300 aspiring teachers
and created more than 1,000 seasonal jobs
across some of New York City’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods.
And our kids are succeeding.
Two years of independent evaluations
告诉我们 我们的孩子们 消除了暑期中的知识损失
tell us that our kids eliminate the summer learning loss
and make growth of one month in math
and two months in reading.
所以 对比秋季返校后 三个月的进度损失
So instead of returning to school in the fall three months behind,
they now go back four months ahead in math
and five months ahead in reading.
Ten years ago, if you would have told me
that I’d graduate in the top 10 percent of my class from an Ivy League institution
and have an opportunity to make a dent on our public education system
just by tackling two months of the calendar year,
I would have said,
“Nah. No way.”
What’s even more exciting
is that if we can prevent five months of lost time
just by redesigning two months,
imagine the possibilities that we can unlock
by tackling the rest of the calendar year.