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March 2022

Nannie Helen Burroughs and Our Mission Today

We are grateful to Dr. Opal Easter, who wrote the first biography of the great Black adult educator Nannie Helen Burroughs.

And for Dr. Easter's acknowledgments,  which inspired us by Opal thanking Burroughs for "reminding all of us of our responsibility to serve others."    Our mission in lifelong learning and continuing education. Nannie Helen Burroughs

Opal was on the LERN Board of Directors in the 1990s, the time when she published her work.  She notes that black people of all ages and situations so desired to learn how to read that they often lined up and filled the churches for literacy lessons, starting well before the civil war.   In these tough times, if people could do that back then, we too can be inspired to keep up our spirits and work on behalf of people and our society.  

When Helen M. Todd Changed Education History

Helen M. Todd made national news between 1910 and 1920, first advocating for the Vote for women. And then for changing how we treated children, mainly boys, working in factories at the time. Helen M. Todd 2

Her greatest achievement was arguably appearing before a Congressional Committee Hearing in early 1924, and reporting how the boys were hit in school, which is why they preferred the factory to school.  In just a few months, Congress passed new laws. And then states started passing laws outlawing the beating of boys in school. 

Boys are still beaten, legally, in school in 15 states.  Some 75% of children beaten are boys; and of course a far greater share are black boys.  And the "get tough" approach?  Yeah, it damages children psychologically, hurts their learning.  Just like today's punishment of boys in school for late work, fidgeting and other male behavior irrelevant to learning. 
LERN's Julie Coates spent a whole day researching Helen M. Todd in the Chicago Public Library archives, finding this newspaper photo of Ms. Todd.


Mother Jones Led the Boys March to Roosevelt

Suffragettes, the First Wave Feminists, led the effort to protect and support our boys 100 years ago.
Mother Jones, for example, led a march of boys to the summer home of Pres. Theodore Roosevelt. Mother Jones march two

Mother Jones and the boys asked the President to allow boys to go to school.  The boys were working more than 50 hours a week in factories.  They wanted to spend some of the time over 40 hours going to school. 

Being a highly enlightened President, Roosevelt of course denied the request.  It took another 20 years, and another great suffragette, Helen M. Todd, to get boys back in school. 

Betty Friedan & N.O.W.- - When Boys Were Not the Enemy

As we celebrate Women's History Month, LERN Forecasts also points out where the Third Wave feminists made a wrong turn. And created deadly devastating consequences that have torn apart our society and economy. NationalOrganizationOfWomen

The founding statement of the National Organization for Women (N.O.W.)  called for a "partnership of the sexes" and working together with men for gender equality for women, and the resulting benefits for men.

Betty Friedan, the First President of N.O.W. and great Second Wave feminist leader, repeatedly talked about working with men and in-effect warned about the great social and economic costs American society now experiences without partnering with men and supporting boys.  Photo: from N.O.W. 

The Boys Initiative, headed by Dr. Vermelle Greene, is a national organization and effort to restore gender equity in our schools.  LERN leaders including Dr. Dionne Felix, Joe Miera, Perry Harker and Julie Coates are on the advisory board.  



Are You Spending Enough on Marketing?

New LERN surveys are indicating that Direct Costs for Marketing and promotion have fallen.

One big reason is that you are devoting more staff time - - and time is money - - to digital marketing, segmentation and data analysis. 

But my question: is there a much larger market and audience out there for lifelong learning and continuing education classes that you- - that we as a field - - are simply not reaching? Ballsinair

The U.S. federal government, and I'm guessing the Canadian government as well, has not for over 20 years kept good or even approximate statistics on the numbers and percentage of people taking lifelong learning classes.

Memory is that we used to have a much larger share of the public engaged in lifelong learning. And it's not hard to pinpoint some of the harmful effects today that have come from not engaging people in lifelong learning.