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Part III Say Yes at summer camp

Saying "Yes" to Education Series:

"The typical American educator is not like me,"Asomgyee Pamoja said, "a large scary black man with an English accent."

The typical American educator is not Asomgyee Pamoja, born and raised in England. And that is, in some ways, unfortunate.

This is because Asomgyee Pamoja is another of the ones that gets it. What Pamoja gets is that American education -- American urban education -- needs to be ABOUT more than it is. It needs to be about understanding the urban culture -- the culture in which urban students live.

It needs to provide opportunities for students to understand what is around them and ahead of them, not only what is behind them (as the New York State Education Department seems to feel). Pamoja is aware of what they need to know and he is aware of how to enable them to know it. He is a teacher who understands that for education -- teaching -- to succeed, it must be relevant.

If the typical American educator was allowed to share his vision, and the typical American school system able to let that vision flourish, there would be no discussions on how to "fix" urban education, there would be no need to belabor teachers and administrators with the need to teach to state assessment tests, and there would be no need to worry about the status of education in America's inner city, let alone education in suburban and rural America.

Fortunately, the Syracuse City School District is no longer typical.

Syracuse saying yes to education in the summer

As site director of Elmwood Elementary School's Say Yes program, he and his Program Coordinator, Rhoda Smith, are currently engaged in the energizing, five week Say Yes Summer Camp. Unlike a typical summer camp, the Say Yes summer program is aimed at extending the academic year for students while at the same time providing enrichment and enjoyment to the summer months.

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