Saturday, July 13, 2019

The Mathematics Of Mentoring In Baltimore

Yesterday, I posted a video wherein Amanda Brown, a teacher from Frederick Douglass High School in Baltimore, told what it was like to teach there and elsewhere in that distressed city. It was a litany of horrors including everything from homelessness to abuse to hunger to violence to rape. If memory serves, she said that the average reading level for their high school graduates was below 5th grade.

In short, those kids are royally screwed. Given their demographics, it's practically guaranteed that almost none of them come from traditional, married families. Her anecdotes suggest that as well.

Amanda is smart, experienced and tough. She also seems to be a reflexive lefty, which isn't surprising given that she works in the education industry and comes from deep, deep blue Baltimore. When she gets to the prescriptive part of her talk, she blames racism and society and says we need lots and lots more mentors. As I've said before, if racism is the problem in Baltimore, then the Secular Lefties are the racists because there's no one else there. However, let's ignore that and look at the mentoring idea.

Let's assume Amanda teaches 5 classes. Each class has 25 students. That's 125 different students a year. Let's assume the illegitimacy rate is 70%, which is optimistic, both because the national average for blacks is higher and it's also higher in poor communities since broken homes lead to poverty. In any case, that leads us to 87 students from broken homes. Let's assume, again, optimistically, that only half of them need mentors because the other half are coping. That means that just for Amanda's students, you need about 44 mentors every year.

Multiply that by the number of high schools in the area with similar catastrophic problems and a factor to account for the number of Frederick Douglass students who don't cross paths with Amanda and you get a staggering number. Say 5 schools and in any one year Amanda only sees 10% of the student population. We end up with 44*5*10 = 2200 mentors required.

2200 mentors aren't going to cut it. There are grades below high school and the kids coming into Frederick Douglass are at a 3rd grade reading level. You'd better get involved and stay involved starting in, oh I don't know, how about kindergarten? Just using an offhand factor, let's triple the need for mentors which now gives us a need or 6600.

That's insane. It's not possible. It can't be done as in "cannot" as in "no way, Jose" as in "fuhgeddaboudit."

Now think about the task of the mentor. Amanda tells us that the kids are working on survival and school is a secondary concern at best. The mentor isn't only there to tutor, they are there to provide security, money, love and discipline.

If you think there is any chance at all that you will be able to find 6600 people, unrelated to the students, who are going to have the time, energy, know-how and willingness to take on that task, please contact your local mental hospital and schedule a straight-jacket fitting session.

There is a solution, however. Like I said in yesterday's post, those mentors are out there. We just have to be willing to demand they do the job.
I know where we can find the necessary volunteers to act as mentors for the kids. Mom's bed. The men found therein can be given a special title. We'll call them "husbands." We can give them a special token of appreciation. Maybe it could be a ring they could wear. We could also give them a certificate acknowledging their volunteer status. We'll call that a "marriage license."
That is the only solution to the problem. There is no other. All of the screaming about flags and statues and white supremacists and Trump and Tucker Carlson and the far-right and the alt-right is simply irrelevant noise. It's like blaming leprechauns for the suffering of these kids.

Next time someone brings up those topics, tell them to get real.

I'm not holding out hope for explaining my calculations to this nitwit.


IlĂ­on said...

"It's like blaming leprechauns ..."

Everyone knows that it's the leprecohens at fault! ;)

K T Cat said...

I just saw this one now. LOL!