Speaking for Children and Parents of Incarcerated Families

I recently was honored to speak for Wings for L..I.F.E which is an empowerment program that provides life skills, education and training for children and family members of prisoners and at-risk youth. I spoke about Creating Safe Schools, bullying and preventing school dropouts.

  • Children whose parents are incarcerated are bullied more frequently than most students.
  • The United States is the world’s leader in incarceration with 2.2 million people currently in the nation’s prisons, a 500% increase over the last 30 years. (The Sentencing Project, 2015)
  • 1 in 35 adults in the United States are under some form of correctional control. Currently 100 million people (1 in 3 U.S. adults) have a criminal conviction that impacts their employability and future. (New Mexico Prison Population Forecast, 2015)
  • 95% of offenders will be released back into the community and of those, 75% will return to incarceration within 5 years. (U.S. Justice Dept.)
  • Nationally the female population has been the fastest growing correctional population, increasing by an average of 3.4% annually. (NM Prison Population Forecast, July 2015)
  • Children of prisoners are up to 72% more likely to become incarcerated themselves.
  • New Mexico is 3rd in U.S. for kids with imprisoned parents. 52,000+ children in NM (about 10% of NM’s child population) have had a parent in jail/prison. (Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2016)
  • Of the 10% of New Mexico children with an incarcerated parent, 19% are Native American and 11% are Hispanic. (, 2015)
  • The annual cost to incarcerate one juvenile in New Mexico is approximately $182,000 compared to the lowest, $46,662 in Louisiana, and the highest, $352,663 in New York. (Albuquerque Journal, 2015)
  • In comparison, New Mexico spends $7,933 annually on education per child and nationally $11,014. (National Center for Education Statistic, 2015)

Comments included:

Franklin Schargel is not only an expert in his field, but is witty, funny and very engaging. He is an excellent public speak who is very knowledgeable and keeps the audience totally involved.

Bless you for caring like you do.

If you would like Franklin to speak to your group about this vital topic, contact him at






Comments about Franklin’s Presentation at Teachers of Education’s Annual Conference.

Franklin spoke at the ATE (Teachers of Education) Annual Conference held in Atlanta. GA regarding his new book, Who Will Teach the Children? Recruiting, Retaining and Refreshing Highly Effective Educators.

 Below are two comments from those who attended. Used with permission.

Franklin presented straight talk and practical information. I enjoyed Franklin’s ability to share his information and thoughts in a straight forward manner. Too often presenters get caught up in “education speak”. Franklin kept it practical and useful.

Schwengel-Gosz, Teacher Coordinator, WI.

Franklin’s presentation was insightful, research-based and entertaining!

Dr. S. Grogan, Harding University Arkansas, Associate Professor


Working With At-Risk Students

The following article was written by John Lutz. John is currently the Coordinator of Alternative Education for Newark City Schools in Newark, Ohio. Newark City Schools are located in Central Ohio and is a high poverty 7000 student district. John is currently in his 30th year in education service. John has spent thirteen years as a classroom Special Education teachers and has previously held Special Education administrative positions in Pre- K to 12, District level, Vocational and separate facility settings. I am indebted to John for sending this to me and allowing me to reproduce it here.

What guides your work with at-risk students?

 One of my favorite jobs growing up was working in a pizza shop in a little crossroads of a town in central Ohio. Each shift I would receive a phone call and an order that was, shall we say, extremely individualized. My standard response to the caller was, “I can make it but you will have to eat it.” Some twenty years into my career in education I recalled those fond memories of my youth and the pizza shop and made the connection between my work there and my work with at – risk students.

Shouldn’t we be just as willing to create a “special order” educational experience for students as we would be making them a pizza? Shouldn’t we be willing to say,“Yes! – I can make this happen for you, but you will have to do the work.”  Too many times students seeking enrollment at the Newark Digital Academy would share stories about the lack of flexibility in their school offerings and how it impacted their ability to make progress toward graduation. We have sought to be something different.

We have 9 Pillarsthat guide our work with students at the Newark Digital Academy. Pillar 4 is Individualize by Including the Student. The inspiration for this pillar is, you guessed it, the pizza shop. We have been amazed by what some students can accomplish when given choice and flexibility. Pillar 4 philosophy tells us to do education with the student, not to the student.

The culminating result of individual students succeeding is a high achieving organization. In October 2017, the Newark Digital Academy became the only Dropout Prevention and Recovery School to achieve three consecutive Exceeds Standardsratings by the Ohio Department of Education; a feat that had never been accomplished by any of the nearly 100 Dropout Prevention and Recovery Schools in Ohio. This was a major victory for students who had rarely enjoyed academic success and an outstanding achievement for the staff that serves them.

So, what guides your work with at-risk students? Have you thought about it? Do you draw leadership inspiration from your own personal experiences? Have you been listening to your students? What are they they teaching you?




Teachers Are Saying Enough is Enough

According to the National Education Association, nearly 1,500 current, former teachers and other education professionals are running for elected offices. The number is a record for the number of educators seeking office in a single election cycle. They are seeking a variety of state legislative seats and even one governorship. More than 1,000 are running as Democrats, with another 433 running as Republicans. Most of them are women.

There has been a series of work stoppages and teacher walkouts in West Virginia, Colorado, North Carolina, Kentucky, Arizona, and Oklahoma. Educators in those states have had enough with putting up with low salaries, poor working conditions, having to spend $450 in of out-of-pocket expenses, having to work with tattered textbooks, outdated computers and computer programs, leaky roofs, unairconditioned, or unheated buildings. No business people would work in such poor conditions. In addition, a number of state legislatures have cut public education budgets, teacher salaries and in some cases, changes to pension, retirement and health care plans.

Victories for teachers in the November election could reshape state legislatures and discussions over public education. There may be no more critical election than this one.



October is National Bullying Prevention Month

Bullying can have dire effects on people; especially young people.  Teenagers desire to fit into their peer groups but bullying and cyber-bullying prevent that from happening. There are several types of bullying. For males, the majority of bullying is physical. For females, it is emotional, psychological. Cyber-bullying is 24/7/365 and anonymous. Girls are two-times more likely than boys to be cyber-bullied. Most children who have been bullied do NOT tell their parents or any adult. Children who are students with disabilities or a member of the LGBTQ community are 3 to 8 times more likely to be be bullied.

I have written a Bullying Prevention White Paper which can be found on this website.

I will be delivering a workshop on Bullying Prevention at the National Dropout Prevention Center’s Annual Conference to be held at the Hyatt Regency in Columbus, Ohio on October 27-31.


Are Politicians Encouraging Students to Dropout of School?

Are politicians encouraging students to dropout of school and educators to quit?

Politicians supposedly represent all citizens – men, women and children. Because children don’t vote, some politicians feel that they can ignore children and treat them as second-class people.

Detroit’s public schools remind some people of prisons. There are chains on doors, dirty water in water fountains, bathroom stalls that lack doors, floor tiles missing, peeling paint on ceilings and walls. Students lack computers and current textbooks. Students and teachers work in “temporary” non-air-conditioned buildings in the heat of the summer and non-heated building in the cold of the winter. This would not be allowed to happen in affluent suburban schools. The Detroit school system hasn’t been receiving enough money from the state legislature to fix its crumbling schools.  The school district estimates that it needs $500 million to fix its schools. The state voted to allocate $25 million.

On a per pupil basis, the Detroit Community School District receives less state funding than Grosse Pointe Public Schools. Because Michigan allocates funding for schools based on property taxes (as do most states), Detroit with a low property school tax base gets $7,511 per student according to the 2017 budget, while Grosse Point, an affluent suburb gets State per-pupil funding while Grosse Point Public Schools gets $9,924. Does this happen in your school district? In your state?

Politicians claim (correctly) that education is expensive. But ignorance is far more expensive.  Few complain about the cost of incarceration. And research indicates that 80+ percent of prisoners are school dropouts. Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis found that the cost of incarceration now exceeds $1 trillion. In the 2010 fiscal year that came to $31,286 per person. No state budgets that much money for its schools.






Nobody in America who works should be poor

“We need a new language for talking about poverty. “Nobody who works should be poor,” we say. That’s not good enough. Nobody in America should be poor, period. No single mother struggling to raise children on her own; no formerly incarcerated man who has served his time; no young heroin user struggling with addiction and pain; no retired bus driver whose pension was squandered; nobody. And if we respect hard work, then we should reward it, instead of deploying this value to shame the poor and justify our unconscionable and growing inequality. “I’ve worked hard to get where I am,” you might say. Well, sure. But Vanessa has worked hard to get where she is, too.
But they’re working too many jobs to vote, they don’t buy enough important stuff, they live in “that” part of town so they must be “those” kind of lazy druggies and welfare queens, they are transparent and can be safely underpaid, politically ignored, and blamed for their fecklessness.”
Source: Mathew Desmond, NY Times Magazine, September 18, 2018
I am indebted to Tom Miles for bringing this to my attention.

September is Suicide Prevention Month

Suicide has become the second leading cause of teenage death – replacing automobile accidents which moved to position #3.

I will be delivering three workshops at the National Dropout Prevention Conference in Columbus Ohio, October 27-31. For additional information check,

Check out The Children’s Safety Network for additional information.



Create New Licenses for Elementary School Teachers

Nearly 1/3 of all fourth-graders fail to reach a “basic level or reading ability” according to the 2017 National Assessment of Education Progress’ Nation’s Report Card on Reading. By the eighth grade, nearly a quarter of students still lack the basic skills to identify statements regarding simple inferences  from texts or interpreting the meaning of a word based on how it is used. Hispanic and African-American students scores are even lower.

Elementary school teachers in the United States are generalists. They are licensed in elementary education. They are rarely specialists and may not be proficient in math, science, technology or teaching reading. If we wish to emphasize S.T.E.A.M. subjects or Special Education, we should create new licenses in elementary education which include reading, math and science in elementary education training in schools of education at the college level.

According to the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ), 40 states do not have sufficient licensing tests on the science of reading in place for elementary and special education teachers. If reading is fundamental and essential for eventual success in graduation and employment than schools need to emphasize the teaching of reading.


FBI Report on Active Shooters

The FBI has issued a new report (6/2018) on the Pre-Attack Behaviors of Active Shooters in the United States Between 2000 and 2013. While the report doesn’t just focus on school shooters, the report should be read to identify behaviors and allow schools to get rid of incorrect information.


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