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Maximizing potential

Festus E. Obiakor ’81 MEd explains what makes a “good” school.

Maximizing potential

Festus E. Obiakor ’81 MEd explains what makes a “good” school.

What makes a “good” school? It shouldn’t be based on student performance on standardized tests, says author, scholar and consultant Festus E. Obiakor ’81 MEd. Instead, a good school should have strong teachers that take a holistic approach to education, and consider each student’s needs academically, socially, emotionally and culturally.

Obiakor, professor of exceptional education at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, asserts in his book It Even Happens in “Good” Schools: Responding to Cultural Diversity in Today’s Classrooms that “good” schools aren’t only found in “good” neighborhoods.

Educators who teach with real pedagogical emphasis can reach students in any demographic.

“A ‘good’ school is a learning community that maximizes the potential of all its students, whether they are white, black, Hispanic, Asian or Native American,” Obiakor said. “And a school can’t be a ‘good’ school when some of its students are misidentified, misassessed, miscategorized, misplaced and misinstructed because of cultural differences.”

Obiakor’s work, which offers a series of case studies and discussions, is being praised and used by school district administrators in Missouri, Georgia, Wisconsin and California.