Education matters for all of us!

A good education should be a right not a privilege ! Children all over the world are denied a proper education and what used to be the richest country on the planet, the United States, certainly is no exception. Children here are far behind in test scores, attendance and are dropping out of school like flies. What is going on? Is there a problem with the curriculum, are there too many sub par teachers? Or are we dealing with an epidemic of this only being a major issue in urban Vs. Wealthier communities? Kids drop out of school everywhere, however it seems as if this is a more prominent problem in urban communities. African American students in particular have a higher drop out rate, mainly black males and in 2013 the rate was 9.6 amongst all. Very disturbing figures , however the California graduation rate increased in 2013 for the fourth year in a row and the drop out rate down 1.5 points from 2012. It’s 2014 and from what I can see in my community , amongst the folks who have children that they are “all” graduating! All you see on Facebook and other social media sites are news and pictures of the giddy graduates and their proud parents! This is from preschool, all the way to those receiving they’re graduate degrees from college! Lower income and middle class African American kids are graduating! Yes, our kids may have issues navigating through the school system, paying for books, receiving enough scholarship, and getting the amount of support or other resources needed but we are graduating and we are successful. Success and the foundation of the love of learning starts in the home. I have engraved it into my son & daughter’s head from the moment they were born . I am certain that this was and is also the foundation for those children who continue to graduate every year! Teachers are amazing and make a remarkable impact on the lives of the students that they touch. So are our mentors, they truly add significant richness to a students motivation and growth in and out of the classroom. New research is also showing that family and peer characteristics are far more important than geographic location. This goes back to my point that it all starts in the home! Yes, being in a rural , suburban , or urban setting is a factor at times , however family characteristics effect all in very similar ways. Most importantly, the impact of a two parent home particularly, ” biological “, is significant. In today’s society many families aren’t built that way. We have blended families, two parents of the same sex and many varieties of how we are living and how we are raising our children . I do believe that when a child has two parents who care in the home that they have a better chance of thriving and finishing school. I have been a single parent a short time after my divorce and it was really hard! It is hard period to raise a son alone and an African American one at that. It’s a challenge to get them in a decent school and a surrounding that appreciates who they are and doesn’t ” label” them so that they don not fall through the cracks. I put him in 100 Black Men Community school in 2012 when it opened for that reason. For him to get a “good” education without interruption or emphasis on his behavior . I wanted him to learn in an environment from men and women who he could identify with, who would lift up his talents, skills and abilities rather than just see them as annoyances. The school unfortunately closed earlier this year to everyone’s dismay , particularly us parents . Education is very important to African Americans. I learned that everyday I would drive my son up that hill. Many parents and neighbors and daycare providers driving from as far as Fairfield to get they’re ( sons) a valid education! We all had the same longing for our boys and felt that we belonged! That’s what a of our children want , to feel as if they matter. In an academic setting or otherwise, they want to feel validated and that they matter! Parents are the first teachers and this is what we must instill in them. I am fortunate that my son now has two parents in the home that love him and continue to communicate the importance of doing we in school and finding the right mentors and programs for him to be a part of. It takes a village, it takes resources! We may not feel like we have enough resources but as African Americans we must find them! Seek and yee shall find. Check social media, ask around, scour the internet! You have to be proactive in finding the tools that will gain your child academic success and empowerment! You can do it , you are the resource ! There is no excuse for the statistics to look like they do if we do the work ! And to quote ( Marcus Garvey) ” education is the medium by which a people are prepared for the creation of their own particular civilization, and the advancement and glory of their own race.”

We know what to do, see u next week! smooches …

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