Happy Sunday folks!
These past couple of weeks have been so enlightening, with the year coming to a close its a great time of reflection in preparation for action. I am blessed to be apart of another non profit organization here in Lees Summit called “Suburban Balance”. I have not been as active as I would like this past year but I was able to make it to an educational forum the founder hosted about the Lees Summit School District, which both of my children are apart of. This forum was so eye opening and caused me to want to be more involved in what and how my children are being taught as well as being disciplined.
It’s so easy as a parent to be all trusting with your kids when it comes to school. Teachers are some of the greatest people I know, selfless and patient, so why not trust that your children are learning what they need to learn throughout the school day and are getting disciplined properly when they step out of line. Its an easy thing to believe and for the most part that is whats happening, but not 100% of the time. As parents of brown children, we need to take a more in depth look into our children’s education, we need to make sure that they are being offered all of the things that their white classmates are being offered. This is not me going on a paranoia rant, the numbers were shown to us and the education gaps are pretty wide.
Example 1: A teenage girl, who is excelling in all of her classes, has never been told about the “gifted program”. Hasn’t even been offered college preparatory classes as have her other classmates who happen to be white.
Example 2: A young man is misbehaving in class, is told constantly to sit down but will only listen to the “black counselor” (someone who looks like him) when told to do something. To this, one of the white teachers comments “He scares me.” Knowing that she feels this way, in the future that young man’s punishment will be much harsher than his white classmate just based off of this teachers fear of him.
Both true stories told by a parent, and a counselor at a Lees Summit high school. Both examples are brown kids. I do not get into race on this blog but that is not me denying the fact that there are differences, and when I notice them I do my best within my family life to call them out as well as share with others. Parent’s this is a call to action to you, not the school district, not the teachers, not the students. Show up for your child, go to the school board meetings, keep in constant contact with your children’s teacher, counselor, and principal. Most importantly keep an open dialog between you and your child. Ask him/her how they feel about things that go on during the school day. Make yourself present wherever and whenever you can.
I have began work on getting Little Girls Big Dreams into school districts, be it through an after school program, or a one time visit. I want our brown children to know that we advocate for them. We care for them and want to assist the teachers in any way to close the gap. Thank you Lashawn Walker of Suburban Balance for hosting such an amazing forum. I look forward to attending more like it.