A Call To Action
Town Hall Meeting on
Educating Black Children
Announcing a Call to Action for a Town Hall Meeting on Saturday, February 11, 2012 at 11am at The Pgh Obama School, 129 Denniston St, Pgh PA 15206 to discuss the “Culture of Silence” and “Who’s Educating Our Children”
“As many/most Black Children in American schools are failing academically, the only way to successfully educate theme is with the support and actions of their parents, families and communities. The only question not answered is, “Will Black people take control of the education of their children?”
Our conference on Mitigating the Impact of Social and Psychological Trauma to the Social Fabric of the African American Community, held in October 2011 made it undeniably clear that:
THERE IS A CRISIS IN AFRICAN AMERICAN EDUCATION IN PITTSBURGH
The state of education for African American students in the Pittsburgh Public Schools (PPS) mirrors the alarming national crisis confronting African Americans. For decades African American parents, community activists, and civic and educational leaders in the City of Pittsburgh have challenged the district to improve the quality of education and educational achievement received by African American students. During this period, several grass roots organizations and groups, including the Advocates for African American Students in the Pittsburgh Public Schools, have vehemently and legally challenged the district to meet the demands and expectations of its constituents.
Today, several national reports document the low academic achievement and graduation attainment of African American students, particularly African American males. Citing drop-out and graduation data from 50 states, these reports raise serious concerns and implications regarding the state and future of African American students. Among African American males, the current trend is quite distressing! For example, in 2007-08, the national graduation rate for African Americans males was 47% (The Schott Foundation, 2010), and the recently released “A Call for Change” report by the Council of Great City Schools found that both poor and middle class African American males are significantly under-performing academically across the nation (Council of Great City Schools, 2010). Despite the national call to leave no child behind and the ongoing commitment voiced by parents, policymakers, government officials, community activists and educators to provide quality education for all children, many who attend underserved schools continue to perform at the lowest academic levels.
Given these findings, there is a growing concern that educational failure, specifically by African American males fuels the rapidly increasing “school to prison pipeline” across the nation. In effect, this crisis directly contributes to the reduced quality of life, i.e., high unemployment and under-employment, crime and violence, institutionalization and incarceration, and mental health and wellness disparities in African American families and communities.
In examining the educational crisis further, an extensive review of the literature on African American males identifies six critical themes or conditions:
1) racially disparate outcomes in educational achievement,
2) discriminatory practices of school personnel toward African American males,
3) teacher-student cultural differences on performance outcomes,
4) increased drop-out rates,
5) marginal parental involvement, and
6) poorly-designed school disciplinary practices that generate disproportionate suspension rates for African American males.
Hence, we are placing a call and welcoming, particularly educators, to engage in a discussion that can ultimately serve to change the paradigm for our children and reverse and/or eradicate the slippery slope many students of color experience as a result of attending many of our nation’s public schools.
We hope you believe that it is time to engage in a town hall meeting, make recommendations, and develop a viable approach and/or strategy to addressing this educational crisis. The agenda is simple; however, the problem is a complex political one. The leader, Ron Edmonds, of the effective schools movement expresses it best…
How many effective schools would you have to see to be persuaded of the educability of all children? If your answer is more than one, then I submit that you have reasons of your own for preferring to believe that basic pupil performance derives from family background instead of school response to family background. Whether or not we will ever effectively teach the children of the poor is probably far more a matter of politics than of social science and that is as it should be. We can, whenever and wherever we choose, successfully teach all children whose schooling is of interest to us. We already know more than we need to do that. Whether or not we do it must finally depend on how we feel about the fact that we haven’t so far.
Frankly speaking, we need you to add to this conversation to help our children who attend the public schools in and around the Pittsburgh area. We simply can no longer stand by and watch our children enter into school buildings engaged in the kind of apartheid education that continues, in spite of the landmark education decisions that were suppose to improve educational conditions and subsequently outcomes for our children-------Brown versus the Board of Education, 1954 and 1955.
The overall objective of this Town Hall Meeting cannot be fully realized without you. We are asking you to bring your wisdom, experience, and talents to the table. We hope you will be eager to assist in developing the kind of sustainable action items that will move us beyond discussion and personal interests as we seek to collectively join forces for a total reformation of the system to improve the educational conditions for African American children in the Pittsburgh.
Please RSVP to 412-371-3689, Ext. 47 of your interest in joining us! The goal of the meeting will be to begin the development of an action plan to identify, develop and implement changes to improve the educational outcomes for our youth.
SATURDAY, February 11, 2012
11am – 3PM
Obama Pittsburgh School
129 Denniston Ave, Pgh PA 15206
Panel Discussions &Workshops