Sunday, January 27, 2019

School Choice is a Resource Not a Restriction.

Parents who support school choice aren't taking away from traditional public schools.

This is a myth I constantly hear in community meetings.

School choice is ensuring that parents and kids have a say in the quality of education they are receiving.

School choice is a resource not a restriction.

I believe that school choice is what is inspiring change in how traditional public schools operate.

In fact, there's innovation happening right in our backyards.

Dekalb county has several thriving magnet schools.

Atlanta is leading the way in the growth of school choice.

There are a variety of schools offered which I believe is inspiring advocacy for school choice across the state.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Instead of Suspending My Student, I Decided to Change His Life

Instead of suspending my student for stealing snacks from his teacher and peers, I decided to teach him a value lesson that would change his life. Teaching him why he shouldn't steal is the right thing anyone should do. However, as a Black male educator I was able to teach him how to survive which will help him make a different decision next time.

Black boys rank highest amongst any subgroup for homeless youth in America. Homeless impacts their attendance, attitude and academic performance. This could contribute to the disproportionate rates of Black boys in the school to prison pipeline.

I believe that homelessness for some of the population of Black boys has to deal with mental health issues. Another part those Black boys kicked out or who ran away from home because of sexual identity issues.

The NY Times reports that homeless children are three times as likely to be suspended. Homelessness impact the attitude of Black boys in and out of school.

Homelessness doesn't just mean that you're living on the streets or under a bridge. There are a lot of Black boys who are sleeping in their grandparents basement, aunts sofa or friend's living room.

School is often times the only safe haven that Black boys have.

This can also be torturing to struggling kids. Service learning projects in schools helps to bridge the gap. It also gives Black boys an opportunity to lead.

I showed my student ways that he could survive without having to steal or result to a negative behavior. I gave him some options in which he could make money. This include yard keep, washing cars, selling waters, working funerals or even seeing if there's some work at the church doing odd jobs.

I believe that the presence of Black males in classrooms and schools make a huge difference in the way that Black boys learn. That's why I advocate for more Black male educators.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Thirteen Reasons Why We Must Empower Black Male Educators

Here are thirteen reasons why I believe Black male educators help improve the educational experience and academic achievement of Black boys.

#1 Studies show that the interaction between a Black Male Educator
and a Black Male student can mean the difference between the student
graduating high school or dropping out of school.

# 2 Black boys have terrible experiences in schools because
they lack seeing someone who looks like them and can relate to them.

# 3 Black boys are labeled as, “at risk”,  “in crisis”, or “disenfranchised.”
These stereotypes impact their ability to learn and achieve success.
Black men have walked in the shoes of Black boys and
can help to change the stereotypes of Black boys in schools.

#4 Black Male Educators in schools allows for someone
to see what has been classified as poor behavior and to turn
the behavior around positively.

#5 2% of Black Male Educators isn't enough in schools.
That means 1 in 3 boys has at least one Black male educator
their entire academic experience.

#6 We must change the stigma that it’s not masculine for Black men
to teach Pre K/Early Learning.
It’s important for Black males to be involved in the early development
and learning of children.

#7 Dwayne Wayne isn’t a fictional character;
we need more Black male professors in higher Ed.

#8 Black Male Educators help end initiatives such as Stop and Frisk
unjustly target Black boys in schools by helping Black parents and school leaders
implement innovation discipline models.

#9 Black boys are disproportionately swept into the
juvenile justice system due to truancy from schools.
Black male educators engagement with Black boys inspires them to come to school.

#10 Counselors not Cops!
Increasing the presence of cops in schools creates a tense culture.

#11 Black male engagement improves schools.
We need more Black males volunteering and
supporting our community schools in colleges to inspire them to become Educators.

#12 As Black Male Educators we sometimes can identify
a little better with the behaviors Black boys exhibit because we've lived their story.

#13 Black Male Educators can bridge the gap
that exists between Black boys and the culture of educational institutions.

Monday, December 31, 2018

The Irony of Getting Your House in Order for Schools

The irony of schools teaching the parable getting your house in order is comedy, especially when schools don't represent all of their students.

This year, there have been more national conversation about the need for more Black male teachers. Now it's time for action. If your school is planning to hire and retain Black male teachers here are a couple of things you will need to do!
  • Ensure they are prepared for the classroom
  • Provide quality professional development
  • Inspire them to go above and beyond
  • Support and appreciate their work
  • Allow flexibility to create and implement innovative lessons
  • Engage the entire family in the learning process
School districts that are intentional about empowering teachers, families and communities find success in their school turnaround strategies.

It starts with intentional leadership that drives change, innovates, builds effective partnerships with all stakeholders and shifts culture in an upward direction so that all children succeed.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Mask Off

It’s time for us to take the mask off and address the stereotypes of Black boys in schools. Black boys are stereotyped as being thugs, predators and criminals. I believe that Black Male Educators can help change the experiences of Black boys in schools by dismantling the stereotypes. 

As an educator, I encourage my colleagues to use affirmations to change the stereotypes and how we engage Black boys. In order to do this, we must change the mindset of those educating Black boys.
Our schools can affirm Black boys to be thugs or Kings. Black boys are perceived at predators in schools but aren’t encouraged to be Presidents.

Black boys are groomed by society to be criminals in communities, but schools can mold them to be Champions in school, on the field and in the community. We don't see the pain of Black boys in schools face from constantly being overlooked due to being viewed as a stereotypical figure. For years Black boys have been hidden and left behind in schools because of the stereotypes created about our ability to learn.

Black boys are mainly encouraged to be athletic and not academically successful.
They are forced to go into specific fields that are deemed masculine i.e. law enforcement, construction, medicine and engineering. Black boys aren’t encouraged to be educators, lawyers or doctors as much as they are encouraged to be rappers or ball players. Black boys should be free to be excellent in whatever industry they choose. 

Black boys are not a social experiment yet the constant lack of research-based discipline programs that work for Black boys in schools. One reform, after reform to yet another reform that only limits their abilities to obtain success, not gain a prison sentence. Black boys are not a menace to society, but the stereotypes created by schools’ forces to be true.

America has spent more time and money on drawing conclusions on how to handle Black boys in schools as oppose to educating them. We have not put enough efforts into successfully educating Black boys. This freedom to allow Black boys to be who they are forces us to have the much-needed conversation about masculinity and the Black male.

It's time to take the mask off.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Every Teacher Has Had A Student Like Karlton To Remind Them Why We're Thankful

Most school administrators would have suspended Karlton immediately for stealing snacks from his teacher and peers. I thought it would be better to help change his life while teaching him a valuable lesson.
As an Assistant Principal, I would ensure that the students who were identified as homeless or whose families were in transition ate breakfast and lunch. Karlton was one of those students. He had four younger brothers and two older siblings who had recently graduated from our school.  One of the things I found that works with kids is being able to connect to their home life.
Through mentoring Karlton, I learned how hard it is for a child to battle hunger and homelessness. Dealing with this all night and then coming to school and being expected to . At times while correcting children we forget they aren’t in control of where they live or how they will eat. I’ve seen how this has impacted the attitude, attendance and academic success of Black boys in schools.
It’s not just that teachers can’t identify with the struggles of Black boys facing homelessness, they aren’t effectively trained on how to support or identify children impacted by it.
It took almost two hours for Karlton to tell me that he was stealing snacks out of his teacher’s cabinet and from his peers lunch boxes.
I learned from Karlton that often times children who are homeless work twice as hard as others to succeed academically. They work three times as hard to just simply survive. The trauma on children not knowing if they’re going to sleep, eat or be in a safe environment greatly impacts their ability to function.
Karlton was 11 years old last year when he was brought to my office that day. The teacher was furious and rightfully so; however, I remember looking at Karlton and seeing how this kid was simply doing what he could to survive. This is one reason why I advocate for more Black male teachers in schools who are grounded in social justice.
Normally Karlton would ask to come to my office to avoid being sent out of class. On this one occasion he was actually brought to my office by the teacher.  I asked him what had happen resulting in him being put out of class.
It’s not like parents wake up and say, “I’m going to lose my house, job and ability to take care of my children today!”
I reinforce the lessons parents teach at home about responsibility by providing opportunities for leadership roles. I was intentional about empowering the Black boys to be leaders because this was critical to their social – emotional development.
Unlike more fortunate children, homeless children are negatively impacted in schools due to not having stable academic support at home.  Karlton reminded me of why I’m thankful. Most importantly he reminded me why I’m thankful to be an educator.
Little did I know, in mentoring Karlton that he would remind me of a lesson I learned as a kid, which to always remember the reason why I’m thankful.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Stop And Frisk Is Not the Answer

Stop and Frisk is not the answer. Black boys are policed like no other demographic as a result of Stop and Frisk. They are policed on the street, in the mall, in school, in their homes, and on social media. Data on the school to prison pipeline and the juvenile justice departments reflects how initiatives such as Stop and Frisk unjustly target Black boys.

Increasing the presence of cops in schools creates a tense culture.The conversation about counselors not cops should be happening in communities across the Nation. This helps to acknowledge how the increase of cops takes away the ability for Black boys to have a safe space at school. 

President Trump in his attempts to Make America Great Again, recently stated that he supports Stop and Frisk ; in spite of the fact that this initiative directly targets Black boys.

In the recent appointment of Justice Kavanaugh , it means that Stop and Frisk now has a major advocate in the judicial branch. This could result in an increase in the presence of police in schools.
It's time that those impacted the most, our Black boys speak out against the bias of Stop and Frisk, especially in schools.

I am encouraging Black male students, in support of Advocacy Awareness Month,  to join National organizations working to End Stop and Frisk.