Some of you have seen the film, “Waiting for Superman,” or at least have heard about its moving account of 4 families struggling with the limits of our current public school system. It was released at just the right time, as educational reform is getting the kind of attention it deserves. The topic is being explored in magazines, movies, on television, and in congress, but what can we expect? Will there finally be the kind of change that leads to long-term results, the kind of change that will alter the trajectory of birth to prison for far too many of our students?
We know what works. There is nothing left to wait for, not even Superman. The last 20 years of neuroscientific study has confirmed how the brain works best, how our students can succeed regardless of socioeconomic status. In fact, all we need to do is more of what is happening all across our country, in schools like KIPP and the Harlem Children’s Zone. In those and other top-performing schools, our children are experiencing community: a place where they belong; safety: through stable relationships that replace shame with compassion; competence: through opportunities to succeed in their own unique way; higher expectations: no matter what color or income level; a longer but more balanced day filled with both left and right brain activity. When students’ days are regulated with both challenging and stress-relieving experiences, the brain-body is in balance, the nervous system is operating within its optimal zone of arousal, and success is not only possible, it is inevitable. Come to one of my talks to learn more. You can find my 2010 schedule at DrMelrose.com. Or read my books and resources to find out what you can to do be part of the most important reform of our time.