Monday, July 30, 2012

Battlegrounds: America's War in Education and Finance

Todney Harris
"...Those youngsters wanted to learn so badly that they risked life and limb to do it."

The name Todney Harris will resonate in history books for years to come. It will capture the life an educator who made a positive difference in the lives of young students in Hartford, Connecticut and many more around the world. Battle grounds: America's War in Education and Finance- A View from the Frontlines, written by Harris is a movement that mirrors marches led by strong, influential leaders such as Frederick Douglass, Mary McLeod Bethune, Benjamin Banneker and Ida B. Wells. As a leader of the march, he is ready and willing to fight for educational reform, a necessity amongst all students.

The pursuit of education has always been paramount in Harris's life. While attending Central Connecticut State University, Harris majored in United States
History and Business Management with dreams of becoming a corporate researcher in New York City. After graduating, Harris interviewed with companies throughout Manhattan, New York. Although, he was offered his dream job in his dream city, Harris declined the offer due to the city's high cost of
living. After declining the job offer, he continued working at the Hartford Courant as a customer service representative and a dispatch driver. During this
time he found himself weary about his future endeavors.

Due to Harris's uncertainty about his career goals, he addressed his concerns to his alma mater's History Department Chair and confidant, Dr. Felton Best. The conversation changed Harris's life forever, which developed an interest in teaching. Upon graduating from Quinnipiac University with Master of Arts
degree in teaching, his successful career began.

Throughout Harris's teaching career, he witnessed the students depreciation of education leaving them unmotivated to reach their highest potential. As a result, Harris shares his passion, love and quest for learning by emphasizing the Civil Rights Movement and the risks students took in order to receive an education.

Harris's ultimate goal is to increase both students and parents' interests and involvement in the educational curriculum. One step that has peaked students' interest to learn is incorporating technology and other effective methods into daily lesson plans. Students are constantly improving their technical, written and oral communication skills by presenting projects using PowerPoint, Excel, Publisher and creating mini movies using Windows software. Harris is a strong advocate for technology and believes that students who have a strong grasp on technology will be well equipped for society's competitive career markets. Parents are highly encouraged to play an active role in their child's education by attending project presentations and educational field trips.

Harris's uncertainty about his life's journey led to a conversation that would change his life and the lives of others forever. He is the epitome of an educator

and a pioneer who is wiling to go above and beyond the distance to improve our leaders of tomorrow, current and future opportunities and success.


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