Black Parents, Teachers and Students Want Everyone to Stop Having the Education Conversation ‘About Them Without Them’
Education Post Video Series Shows African-Americans Getting Real on Education
Chicago, IL – More than 40 Black teachers, parents and students gathered in Chicago Women’s Park & Gardens to speak candidly in a new video series about what’s working and what needs to change in an education system largely run by those who don’t look like them.
“There are a lot of people talking about education about us without us,” said Chris Stewart, CEO of the Wayfinder Foundation, who helped moderate the discussion. “There are a lot of people changing the game and changing where and how you go to school, and it’s not us.”
Participants spoke about their own experience teaching, learning and engaging in public schools. Their conversation resulted in a set of short videos produced by Ikhlas Saleem, Education Post deputy director of digital media, focused on low expectations, finding the right school, role models and Black teachers, school discipline and parent responsibility. The full conversation is also posted online.
With less than 20 percent of public school teachers in America identifying as non-White, and only 2 percent Black males, according to the Department of Education, teachers speak about their influence with students of color.
“That’s something we need to address definitely as a community,” said Reginald Grigsby, a high school teacher. “Offer more incentives for African-American male teachers, more supports as they enter the profession, ‘cause the sisters are doing it. The brothers, we need to step up.”
Parents share their desire to not only be present in their child’s education, but to fight for the very best for their child’s future. “We don’t just want him to graduate,” said parent Detria Matthews. “We want him to have a career, have a future.”
Throughout each video, students speak up to share their own perspectives as well. While discussing the Belief Gap—the gap between what students can achieve and what others believe they can achieve—student Joi Lee reveals the importance of having teachers who see her potential. “When I see you have faith in me and I have faith in myself, that shows me that I can actually be somebody.”
For more insights from all of the participants, visit educationpost.org/gettingreal. Parents, teachers and students featured may be available for interview upon request. Interviews may also be scheduled with the following discussion moderators:
Chris Stewart, CEO of the Wayfinder Foundation
Marilyn Rhames, parent, former teacher and founder of Teachers Who Pray
Nate Bowling, parent and former Washington state Teacher of the Year
Sharif El-Mekki, parent and principal at Mastery Charter School – Shoemaker Campus
As students in Chicago and around the country head back to school in 2018, Education Post will continue to provide a safe place for those with the most at stake in the education conversation to have their voices heard.
About Education Post
Education Post seeks to elevate the voices of the people who matter most in the movement to improve schools: parents, kids and teachers. We have built a national network of education advocates who celebrate successes, call out challenges, and speak up in defense of needed reforms through blogs, videos, op-eds and public appearances. Erika Sanzi, the founder of this blog, is a full time consultant for Education Post.