Getting to Know Reulan Levin

Article excerpt

Dr. Reulan Levin remembers growing up on the South Side of Chicago where many of the students her age were falling to the perils of the streets.

However, it wasn't like that at all in her household. Education meant success, and Levin and her siblings were taught to succeed.

"It was a big deal," Levin remembers. "Education, religion, family. That was it. It wasn't a matter of if you were going to college in my family. The question was where."

The experience instilled the importance of education in Levin, who is now an associate professor of education at Avila University in Kansas City, Mo.

In addition to her university teaching, Levin is part of a national group that is helping teachers in suburban school districts learn ways to connect better with inner-city students who are increasingly heading into their classrooms.

She's part of the National Urban Alliance for Effective Education, which works with school districts nationwide in this effort.

Founded by Dr. Eric Cooper, the organization has enlisted some of the nation's top educational minds to act as mentors to teachers and administrators to close the gap between students and teachers.

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"The National Urban Alliance has emerged as one of the most dynamic and exciting forces in the school reform scenario as it affects the lives of children in our cities, and especially A the lives of children in Black and Hispanic neighborhoods," stated author Jonathon Kozol, according to the NUNs Web site, www.nuatc.org.

"Their focus is research and cultural-based," adds Levin. "That's kind of how it differentiates from regular research-based studies."

An example of their work is in Minneapolis. There, school officials have a program called The Choice Is Yours, in which parents of some lower performing students can choose to send theft children to any school among several area school districts. …