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Friday, July 22, 2011


I read a very disturbing article that I decided to share with my blog followers.  I am attaching a link on an article that I read in the Des Moines Register, but I want to focus on one paragraph directly.  I want to attach the link so you can read the article in it's entire context but I am very disturbed.

Here is the actual link:  New education report highlights weaknesses in Iowa schools

Here is the actual paragraph I am disturbed by:
"Schools are teaching an increasingly diverse student population that is at greater risk for failure. The number of low-income, African American, Hispanic and English-language learners has increased in recent years. Unlike other states, Iowa has failed to make progress in closing the achievement gap between those students and their peers, the report says."

I am disturbed because if you are of a diverse student population you are already labeled to have a greater risk of failure????  Where did these facts come from?  When I first read this sentence I went in with the thought that diversity is not just about race but it's about the things that make us different; however, the second sentence is the sentence that made me change my interpretation of diversity based on the author calling out specific races.  Just because you come from a low income family, African American, Hispanic or learning English as your second language doesn't automatically mean you are going to be a failure.  I can't even deduce logic in that.  I met some students who are going for scholarships and some are from low income homes and they have 3.8 or high grade point averages in high school.  I didn't grow up rich by any means but have done well for myself because of my motivation, discipline and ambition.  I studied hard and worked hard and no matter what when you put your mind to something you can achieve it.  What type of message is this sending to our children?  This is sending a message that if you fit any of these categories you are already stereotyped and put in a box.  African Americans and Hispanics are not the only ones from low income homes either.  People of all races and walks of life can be low income.

I speak at conferences and events on diversity and this article has really ticked me off because:
  1. Diversity is not just about race - diversity is inclusion and embracing differences because when you put different people together the ideas generated are powerful
  2. No matter where you come from if you set your mind to something you can achieve it.  No matter the adversity
  3. If you fit into any of the above categories you are already labeled before you can even start. That is not even fair.
I am very disturbed by this article.  This article also points out individuals with disabilities.  It's 2011 and we need to get past this way of thinking.  Instead of putting people in boxes and labeling them before they have a change, let's encourage each other to be the best person we can be, even if that doesn't fit into your definition.  People are different for a reason and some have challenges in areas that others don't.  Instead of stereotyping and literally saying they are a failure, take the time to take your knowledge and help them out.

One of the reasons I moved to Iowa is because of their education system.  My children have had challenges in this system but my husband and I are advocates for them.  Parent's DO NOT let people, like the person who wrote this article, label your kids.  Everyone learns different but we must be advocates and examples for our children.  They break through this barrier and encourage our kids to be their best, after all they are our future.

I know this post doesn't relate to business analysis directly but how many times have we been judged as BA's before we even walk into the room or conduct our first meeting?  How did that make you feel?  Now imagine how that would make a child a feel.

Paula Bell


  1. I can empathize this, even though I never lived in the US or anywhere geographically near Iowa. But what I can say is that no matter where you live in the world, stereotypes seemed to permeate in every fabric of the international societies, of any kind! Much like how the indigenous people of Australia/New Zealand are forever depicted as uneducated, socio-economically disadvantaged, lazy and unmotivated people just slowly draining the social benefits out form their respective governments' budget for many generations. It's not their fault of being not different - it's just there's no one leader of their kind to step up and lead them forward as an example. And sometimes we just need someone to come out on top to tell their people to be different and become better working individuals of any type, to prove their self-worth...
    Anyway, besides the point - you're indeed right about how often we get criticized so quickly just because we are seen not experienced or competent to do any BA jobs.. I had this awkward embarrassment when I was told in the interview I am not worth to becoming a BA, just because she doesn't believe I don't have such capability to do so despite how motivated and enthused I am to ready tackling any BA jobs if given the chance to show my best! She sure rubbed me the wrong way! In a big way!! (Though it was BA contract role and I have little BA experience so of course it's no proper for someone like to take on such a task without learning to swim in the deep ocean properly!...) Still, we all want to be the success of the career we want to be right?

  2. @Andy: I learned something new today. Didn't realize about the stereotypes in Australia/New Zealand. As far as the interview experience don't let that deter you from doing what you want to do. Keep your head up and keep pressing on.

    Thank you for sharing!
    Paula Bell