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Diversity

Black Voices on Poor Achievement Results

No one knows better than families in marginalized communities the importance of succeeding in education. Without the skills we need to compete, the global economy has little use for us and we fall further behind the rest of America. So, when we see entire schools where not a single black or brown child is proficient, it should sound an alarm. National news personality Roland Martin, and celebrated educator Dr. Steve Perry discussed these issues in a recent interview.

The Problem

Roland Martin: "In 90 New York schools, not a single African American or Hispanic student passed the standardized tests. Not a single one." Dr. Steve Perry: "It feels like I get hit in the chest with a bag of sand every time I see these numbers. Not because the numbers are so unconscionable, but because we as a community sit by as report after report tells us these schools are simply not educating our children. In our silence our children's humanity is ripped from them, their prospects for the future are ripped from them, yet we say we love our children and care about education."

The Kids Are Not at Fault

Dr. Steve Perry: "...the single most important in-school factor is in fact the teacher that is in front of the child. We can say what we want about parents, but Dr. King said it best, he said 'the schools are supposed to be so effective that you don't know who the child's parents are,' meaning that they should educate beyond circumstances, because in the same city — that is New York — there are schools that have 80 and 90% proficiency rates among the same population of children. So, it's not the kids.

What Can Parents Do?

One of the first things that parents can do in districts where you do have school choice is to exercise it — because it’s the most important right you possess to shape your child’s likelihood of success. Then look around your own home: What are you doing with your time and your children’s time to improve the probability of their classroom success? Start with this: Shut the television off all week. It’s school time, folks.
Chris Stewart
Chris Stewart is the Chief Executive Officer of brightbeam. He was named CEO in April 2019, after formerly serving as chief executive of Wayfinder Foundation. He is a lifelong activist and 20-year supporter of nonprofit and education-related causes. In the past, Stewart has served as the director of outreach and external affairs for Education Post, ...

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