The Odyssey For Equality

After a forty year career in education during which I have held virtually every position possible in the profession, I am currently working on a new project aimed at raising public awareness about the issue of gender inequality, especially as it applies to education. I am involved in a multi-country tour, speaking with parents, grandparents, and community and educational leaders about the problem of the increasing degree to which boys are underachieving in and disengaged by school, and the long-term consequences of our society's apparent lack of interest in issues which impact disproportionately on boys.

The tour, which I call my Odyssey for Equality, includes stops in the UK, in several states in the USA, and in most of the Canadian provinces. The major theme is the problem of the increasing underachievement of boys in school, its causes, consequences and solutions. The tour has been underway for two years now, and I have met with interested parties in three countries. 

I have noted that while some school districts recognize the problem, many prefer to insist that it does not exist. Sadly, even where school districts are making some effort to deal with this inequality, there appears to be little appetite for information from groups outside of the existing system. The approach appears to be "more of the same," which usually means "more of what has already not worked." Meanwhile many other options are available - options that have been proven to work. The Odyssey is intended to encourage leaders in many fields related to children and child development to share information and ideas.

Inequality starts early; fortunately, equality also starts early. By means of the Odyssey for Equality, I hope to encourage people to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem.

As my travels unfold, I provide regular reports so that those that are interested can share my adventures with me. The first 59 episodes of the Odyssey are available on the Canadian Association for Equality website; www.equalitycanada.com. CAFE has been a solid sponsor of these efforts.

The current episodes (60+) are presented here:

                                                                   

                                                                  The Odyssey for Equality 

                                                                                Episode 60  

                                                      Back on the road again

In case anyone reading this is unfamiliar with my Odyssey for Equality, here is a brief overview. After a 40 year career in education, I began to took time to record some of the research that I had conducted personally, over the years, about why, especially in the past two decades, some children, most often boys, underachieve in the school system. Because of job changes and other factors during my career, much of the research I had conducted had not been written up and was still in raw form. I devoted three years on a full-time basis to writing reports on this previously done research and to doing further research into the issue. This work resulted in the publication of the book, Rescuing Our Underachieving Sons.

Following this, I wrote a number of booklets that summarized my findings and presented them in an easy-to-read format. I also produced audio books and DVDs based on the booklets. This has been followed by the publication of a children's Books for Boys series, The Adventures of Jack and Gizmo. These books are written based on the educational research around how little boys learn to read. There are four different versions of these books, in two languages, to help boys to identify with the characters and stories.

With the support of the Canadian Association for Equality, I then undertook to travel internationally, spreading the message of what was happening to boys in the education system and what could be done to rectify the problem. This has become my Odyssey for Equality. It has taken me to three countries including Five provinces in Canada. It is still underway, and I am reporting on my adventures once again.

                                                                                                                                         Dr. James s. Brown



                                                    The Odyssey for Equality

                                                               Episode 61

In September, I met with a trustee from the Waterloo Catholic District School Board. Frank Johnson is a retired teacher/administrator who has continued his commitment to education by serving as a trustee with the school board. Interestingly, he is also one of my past students. He was a successful student in my secondary school History class many years ago, and went on to teach History at the secondary school level himself. He told me that attending my class served as an inspiration for him. I can tell anyone reading this that he was an excellent student. He later became a system principal, and since his retirement he has continued to serve the young people of the area as a trustee.

He is one who will help to carry the message of equality to those whom he interacts.

                                                                                                                                       Dr. James S. Brown














                                                                     The Odyssey for Equality

                                                                  Episode 62

I had the opportunity to meet with Ron Gladding. Ron is the principal of St. Theresa's School in Waterloo. I had worked with his father in the Huron-Perth CSDB a few years ago. Ron was very interested in my work on behalf of boys and felt that efforts have to be made to address the issue. He indicated that he would raise the matter with his superintendent and attempt to have me come to make a presentation to the principals in his family of schools. I will comment further on how this works out in a future report.

As usual, it was refreshing to have someone in the education system actually acknowledging that the underachievement of boys in school is a real problem, and that something needs to be done to address it. 

                                                                                                                                          Dr. James S. Brown



                                                                  The Odyssey for Equality

                                                                 Episode 63

In October, the Odyssey took me back to the United Kingdom. While in northeastern England, I had the opportunity to meet with staff from the library system in Norwich. There was a great deal of interest and copies of my book, Rescuing Our Underachieving Sons, as well as copies of my children's Books for Boys (The Adventures of Jack and Gizmo series) are now in the library system. As more of the books in the Jack and Gizmo series are published, they will also be available for children and their parents to borrow from these libraries. The Odyssey continues!

                                                                                                                                          Dr. James S. Brown


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  "I want to make a difference, and I believe I can.​"

​                                                                                                                                   Dr. James S. Brown

              "​It's better to light one candle than to curse the darkness."