Wednesday, March 18, 2015

A Way Forward for Washington's children

When I retired, I thought like most that my life would take a turn for shores filled with sun and wonder, and time to read, write, travel. That has been true, I have done all of that. But life has given me the gift of good health and longevity so the Retired One gets to stay busy, doing with I love. That is advocating for the excellent education of Black Children and any child that is said to be too hard to teach.

Recently I have become grandmother to a wonderful, bright boy who is now 14 months and demonstrates daily a dynamic personality, and ability to learn along with a sense of humor. He will be educated well, family privilege guarantees that. So now I must work harder for children less privileged to maintain good karma for him. That is how and what I believe.

League of Education Voters  is an education focused non profit, organization in WA State. They are biggest influencers for PreK-Post 12 education policy.  In the past few years they are working more diligently at including communities of color and especially African Americans in forming their priorities. This is from as much a push from communities of colors as it from legislators who  see the importance of inclusion in the conversations and policy formation of those who have the most to benefit from new ways of providing public education to a diverse student population, in a state with a large white population.  

To have others determine what is good for any people without those people having a self determined input is not optimum.  But I believe that humans are self centered and have to be reminded to be inclusive of others. So I try to be that constant reminder and this can create the kind of tension that full inclusion where it has not been can create.

I try to stay informed through Parents for Student Success, and hold accountable those who speak for Black families, through the Black Community Impact Alliance and by the general population.  

I use this blog, email, and social media to report back across a wide spectrum of the African American population. I likewise spend time conversing with others who share our need or advocate for our right to be self determined. The thinking that created the education mess we find ourselves in in the US can not be the same thinking to solve the crisis. We need changed narratives on all fronts, not just gimmicky phrases, such as Leave No Child Behind. Well the gap grew wider and African American children are further behind in Seattle and WA state than ever before and no one lost their job.  I will speak later about what happens if African Americans in leadership positions miss the mark by minuscule dimensions.

The League of Eduction Voters  has a wealth of information important to all who care about education in the State of WA. I encourage readers to become deeply knowledgeable about how our education system can evolve to bring into being policies that bridge the gap between white privileged children at the top of public school outcomes, and African American children. Except for African American children all student groups show a rise in academic outcomes that are aligned with income. In our traditional public schools, lower income white children fare better in academics and and incidences of teacher and school disciplines than middle class Black students. This is especially so for African Americans who are descendants of former slaves. This history has followed a societal and economic determination in the US that African American students are less able and adults less capable of being equal in American society.  

This will change only with new narratives that dispel this myth, and self determined solutions on the part of those who suffer the most from race based injustices that are experienced as early as pre-K and can plague a child throughout their education which for too many children results in school drop out. 

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