Feb 25, 2014
Comer of Yale Named to Presidential Panel on Educational Excellence for African Americans
NEW HAVEN--The man who dared to put parents and child development at the center of America’s educational equation has returned to the national spotlight.
Dr. James P. Comer, the Yale University child psychiatrist whose Comer Method has been used in hundreds of schools around the world, recently was named to the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans. For him, it represents another chance to reverse generations of missteps in how we teach kids.
“It was absolutely what I was looking for,” said Comer, 79, of being named to the presidential commission. “I had become so frustrated. We’ve gone after this problem from the wrong direction for so long.”
Comer, the Maurice Falk professor of child psychiatry at the Yale Child Study Center, has devoted himself to this work.
He’s spent decades identifying the educational components that give students a foundation for success. Those building block skills, which disadvantaged kids often don’t have upon entering school, include a variety of social, emotional, ethical, linguistic and physical skills that can be incorporated into the bedrock philosophies of schools.
“All of that is learned,” Comer said. “It can be taught, but we don’t teach it. We raise test scores.”
Comer learned those skills himself as a kid growing up in East Chicago, Ind. His working class parents, his church and his teachers nurtured in him and his siblings the ability to make decisions that helped him in life, rather than hinder him.