Monday, August 21, 2006

Barbie Rivera & HELP Miami

Barbie Rivera has been running a tutoring center in Miami that has produced many thousands of hours of effective tutoring over the last few years. She sends out a riotously funny newsletter every week that is full of her viewpoint about helping children learn to read, helping keep them off psychiatric drugs and helping them sort out the false mis-labeling the psychiatrists have applied to them; ADHD, ADD, math disorder, dyslexia, and the like. She's expanding, opening another center in California this year. The center in Miami has achieved international press for the HELP Miami center (part of the Hollywood Education and Literacy Project). I just want to wish Barbie good luck! We need more people like her in the trenches teaching children how to read--especially the ones that the psychs have given up on and labeled so they can be drugged for profit, and that the schools don't know what to do with. These kids are often problematic and a real handful at first. Wouldn't you be, if you'd been determined to be uneducatable and consigned to second or third class status by an uncaring educational institution? The main thing that comes through Barbie's newsletters (aside from how she manages to get people to help her help kids) is the incredibly high level of actual care she (and her staff) give to these kids. There are no easy answers - sometimes you have to roll up your sleeves and just do the work, wade in and ask the kid what's going on. And you have to have a technology of education that actually works, not the busted-ass, non-functional, over-priced, uncaring and sometimes crippling educational system that exists in our schools today. Sure, individual teachers try, and of course they care. But without the right tools to help, their care and "help" becomes betrayal when the kids start being labeled and drugged, instead of educated.

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