Where do ganas come from?

Recent comment on a mailing list:

The best teacher, best curriculum, best school and the most per pupil expenditure cannot make a child learn against his inclination. Kids need “ganas.?

I’m just going to ask here, where do ganas come from?

We really need to get rid of this notion that kids have some sort of innate?drive? or not and that there is some sort of moral value attached to this. Such notions have been around in our religions for millennia and is nothing more than a vehicle for those in power and privilege to justify continuing to neglect schools in poor neighborhoods. Why don’t poor parents get politically active and get money into their neighborhoods? Because they’re poor, that’s why. Eventually, in many countries, they do do something about it: they pick up a gun or a bomb.

All kids have innate drive, a drive to learn and to work. I see it in my grandkids (details later). Now I see them in first grade and kindergarten so loaded down with drill and kill assignments and worksheets I am made sick. But they?ll survive. The kids who won’t are those who lack the basics of good child care. Money into curriculum doesn’t change that. A nice building doesn’t change that. If the building is neglected, of course, it sends a powerful message to the kid about how much he is valued.

David Berliner and many others have shown us over and over again the correlation between academic achievement (test scores, college completion, income, etc.) and socioeconomic status. Yet Americans continue to believe in myths, myths like “We can continue to short change schools in poor areas and never pay any consequences?it’s all the kids’ fault.? Silly miracle stories about the poor kid who made good don’t make slums and social pathology disappear. When people talk values but don’t address the fact that poor kids come to school without medical care or good nutrition, what values are they talking about? Oh, yes, whether the girls are showing too much boob. That’s what we care about.

Ganas???? Does anyone remember Stand and Deliver? For cryin? out loud, the majority of teachers on this List teach Spanish. Where did those kids get their ganas? Did they come to school with them? Where did Jaime Escalante get his? Was he raised in East L.A.? Any poverty he faced was faced in a cohesive social network, not as a marginalized kid in a marginalized community. He imbued those kids with ganas. Who is imbuing our kids with ganas? No Child Left Behind?

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