Mandel believes early parent involvement is key to breaking the cycle of poverty
By Barry Mandel
Early on in grade school, it was expected that I would go to college and continue on to law school.
My parents engrained this in me. The pathway and milestones to get there were a regular part our family dialog. I was not raised in private schools, I am a product of Milwaukee’s public school system (53rd St school, John Marshall and Nicolet), however my family did not rely solely on my school to pave the way to college.
Milwaukee has the largest education disparity in the country, the highest African American incarceration rates, and continues to be in America’s top10 most impoverished big cities, so how do we cultivate first generation college students?
Where does that expectation to attend college come from? How do we make our schools, families and community one where students are expected to attend college?
A city where students appreciate academics, have a drive to succeed and a desire to attend college, vocational school or start a business?
We need to cultivate within our communities the expectation of college & vocational opportunities, not just for my children but for every child in Milwaukee.
There is much work to be done and not all of the responsibility lies with the schools.
That is why I asked Fresh Coast Classic and Milwaukee Public Schools to invite 2nd graders and their parents to their upcoming college fair.
Parents have a responsibility to familiarize themselves with post secondary school options and expose their children to the opportunities that are available to them in our world.
Parents must talk to their children and help open their eye’s to the vast possibilities that education provides and instill a vision and hope for their future.
Schools can only do so much, parents are the single most influential force in creating cultural expectation that students matriculate past high school to a vocation or college.
In order to do that parents, grandparents, mentors and teachers can all help.
For parents it can start from the time their child is born, for schools it should be as early as second grade.
Parents can supplement and bolster their efforts by seeking out after-school resources like Running Rebels, COA, and MPS after- school programs which provide the environment, inspiration and vision.
We have to instill in all children a certain sense of responsibility for their success and the importance of taking their education seriously.
After all, education is our most effective weapon in stemming the tide of under-education poverty and violence.
As a parent it is never to early to familiarize yourself with your child’s options.
Ultimately I’d like to see 2nd grade parents sign a contract or statement of commitment.
If they satisfy those commitments through high school, we, the public and private sector should resource the necessary funds to assure a vocational or college education.
The MPS’ TEAMUP College Access Centers are ready to help guide students and parents on a path to success.
Many MPS students are the first in their families to attend college, so the centers offer hands-on assistance to aid students and families as they explore options for life after high school.
There’s also great opportunity for students who are more interested in moving quickly into the workplace.
Through Career and Technical Education, students learn about high demand fields – including healthcare, information technology and manufacturing – through apprenticeships and internships.
A record number of students — 5,000+ — from Milwaukee Public Schools and other area schools are expected to attend this years fair, created in 2007 by the Running Rebels Community Organization this year MPS’ TEAMUP College Access Centers have taken over to get youth more interested in attending college and give them exposure to HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities).
This regional event exposes Milwaukee area adults and students to the legacy of HBCUs and the educational opportunities available at these prestigious institutions.
It’s a celebration that commemorates academic achievement, tradition and sportsmanship that continues to be an entertainment- filled, family-friendly weekend with something for everyone.
The college fair is free and open to the public and will be held Wed. ,Nov. 27th from 9am until 4:30pm.
Over 60 exhibitors will be featured– including the United Negro College Fund, Big Step, Buildings and Trades, Dynamic Education/ Job Corps, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, MPS TEAMUP College Access Center, Milwaukee Fire & Police Academy, and the various Military Branches.
MPS students will be in primary attendance from 9 am – 2:30 pm, and non- MPS students and community groups are welcome to attend 2:30-4:30 pm.
Non-MPS schools should contact Sharnissa Dunlap- Parker at (414) 431-1830 or MPSTEAMUP.com for registration.
Parents and students are encouraged to attend educational breakout sessions including: Mapping your College Education: Financial Aid, ACT/SAT Preparation, Application, Deadlines, Essays, Exploring Trade/Technical Careers, and NCAA Student Athlete Eligibility Requirements.
Barry Mandel is the President of Mandel Group, a real estate service firm that has developed and constructed over $500 Million in residential and retail developments.
This is their 7th year sponsoring the Fresh Coast Basketball Classic.