*Dr. Roma Benjamin says enough is enough! Benjamin is a former principal of Rowland School in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and she is a youth literacy advocate who was compelled to quit her job to start fresh and teach children the basic skills that they were lacking from the public school system. The New Sound Literacy and Technology Center is designed to better educate Black children for the future by first teaching them how to read. Her experience as both an educator and community leader has opened her eyes to what is considered an injustice happening in America today. She is speaking across the country with other community leaders empowering them to open their own reading centers to help children lead a better life, one that does not end prematurely due to imprisonment or death.
Dr. Benjamin’s reading center is powered by TestOurKids.com. When asked about the cycle that produced these massive cases of illiteracy, Dr. Benjamin stated that children are continually being passed through the school system but still they cannot read. Lacking such skills would make it impossible for them to navigate through today’s world, or through the business world.
She told EURweb.com that the greatest impact of illiteracy is in urban schools among our Blacks and Latinos, especially our males.
Dr. Roma Benjamin: “Everybody is responsible for this- parents, teachers, pastors and communities. We’re all responsible for this. We have to look at the fact that it has happened. It has taken place. Now what can we do to stop it from spreading and destroying our children? Sitting in the system watching this on a regular basis and watching this, I was fighting to keep children in school and to get them what they needed, but at the same time the system was fighting against me.”
Instead of merely focusing on who is to blame, ultimately Dr. Benjamin’s methods are based in anecdotes that will inform and empower the community as well as parents who are also affected by these educational challenges.
Dr. Benjamin outlines one of the very first steps that a parent can take: “If you don’t know what level your child reads on, if you don’t understand the assessments that they are being given on a daily basis and you just receive a report card that gives a grade, then you are losing the battle right there. You have to know more of what is going on.”
Another key strategy that Dr. Benjamin offers parents in her purview, is that she walks them through the language of the report and tells them the things to say to help them get their kids what they need to succeed.
Dr. Benjamin clearly states her belief: “Most of the time parents don’t know. It’s not that they don’t care.”
It is the hope that more churches will come on board and start more reading centers across the country to get our children back and usher them into proficiency in reading and technology.
Dr. Benjamin tells EURweb.com’s LaRita Shelby what can be done with the children who are in our immediate proximity.
Roma Benjamin is a native of New York with a Master of Arts in Public School Administration from Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Currently Ms. Benjamin is matriculating through her Doctorate degree in Education Leadership at Nova University. She is also the senior pastor of Greater Faith Ministries in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. For more information go to www.NewSoundLTC.com or call (717)545-4594. Special thanks to Dr. Steve Perry, Founder and Principal of Capital Preparatory Magnet in Hartford, Connecticut and Yusuf Salaam, Education Advocate, Publicist and Manager at Bright Minds Speakers.