Categories
Civil Rights Education Reform Equity and Justice Parenting

Black Mamma Agency!

The Buzz Around Town.

Lately, I’ve heard arguments that leave me angry and confused. Most of these arguments center around “Cancel Culture, ” “Agency,” and “Ownership.”  “Black Mamma” Agency and Ownership in the era of cancel culture is real.  Alas, we have folks that are trying to discredit these ladies, and I simply will not have any of it.

Agency.

Agency, for this blog post, is defined as action or intervention, especially such as to produce a particular effect.

The Powerful Parent Network is a group of parents and grandparents that are fighting for equity and school choice. During the campaign cycle, these elders in the Black Community have made their presence felt by exercising their right to protest.

I’m not sure how you all show agency, but in my community, we show it by getting results.  The Powerful Parent Network showed their agency by fundraising to attend the most recent Democratic debate held in Atlanta, Ga.  This is an important fact to highlight.  Many of those that were against these parents’ right to protest said these parents were funded and influenced by billionaires looking to privatize education.


Below is the link of parents soliciting funding to attend the debate.

Can we express our views?

Americans pride themselves on the power of the 1st amendment and one’s right to free speech. Free speech can make you feel uncomfortable and force you to see the other side of an argument if you are open to seeing it. Exercising this free speech is how some of us express our Agency. People have the right to express their opinions. That doesn’t in any way, discredit you. We can disagree and still be friends. We can even grab a beer.

Ownership in the Era of Cancel Culture.

Ownership is the act, state, or right of possessing something. The educational system in the United States was never meant to educate Black folks. It isn’t me pulling the race card; it is me reminding you of how painful it has been to be Black in the United States.


Black Mamma Agency is a different kind of Agency. These black mammas are willing to risk their lives and their livelihood to ensure that the next generations have better than they had.

The mere notion that these women, who have put our country on their backs, these women who are the moral fabric of our country are bought and sold is assinine.  It’s the perfect argument for those of you that want to deflect instead of reflecting.

Confront Race.

Moreover, some folks get uncomfortable when the topic of race surfaces. That’s not my problem, nor is it my cross to bear. We should be open and honest and have more conversations about race and what it means to be a member of the underclass. Only then will things change.

But I digress.

The Powerful Parent Network is a phenomenal group of advocators for school choice. They have expressed their Agency, and their voices lifted.

Black Mamma Agency: There’s Nothing Like It.

There have been feeble attempts to discredit their lived experiences. It happens way more often than I’d like to discuss. It’s fine when Black folks are the help, second class citizens, but the moment we express unfairness in a system that we all know is unfair to the underclass, black people are painted out to be bought off by billionaires, heels, incapable of good thoughts. To be able to have these thoughts, and express them, that’s why we fight. That’s why we should continue to fight.  And before you even think about canceling these Black Mammas, here’s a PSA on cancel culture:

Lastly, we shared our thoughts on Black Mamma Agency on the 8 Black Hands Podcast. If you get a chance, give it a listen.

Categories
Education Reform Equity and Justice

We Can all Come to the Same Revelation About High Stakes Testing; We Wish it Happened less.

High Stakes Testing.

We can all come to the same revelation about high stakes testing; we wish it happened less. To the contrary, high stakes testing drives another narrative that folks don’t want to focus on, and that’s teacher accountability. If a teacher has a student all year, there should be the expectation that the child should be able to show what they have learned.

One way, but not the only way to measure student growth is through standardized testing.

Standardized Testing.

Those against standardized testing can give you a myriad of reasons as to why they take that position. Some of the arguments that I have heard are, 1) You can’t measure the impact of a students home life through testing. 2) Teachers should not be held accountable for student learning. 3) The tests are too hard. 4) The tests are culturally biased. 5) There’s not enough recess and playtime in the curriculum. 6) We are creating robots with all of the test prep. 7) These kids are low. And the list goes on.

Those that support standardized testing have their reason as well. Some of the arguments that I have heard in defense of ST’s are, 1) You can use the student data to remediate. 2) Data-informed conversations are more comfortable conversations to have with parents. 3) Teachers and Administrators can be held accountable for student growth. 4) ST’s give a comparative analysis to other students. 5) ST’s promote a growth mindset.


Parents are on Their Own.

Moreover, my colleague Dr. Cole reminds us once a week that parents are on their own. Additionally, when I think about the belief gap that exists between educators and families, I’m starting to believe that he’s right. But I’m not there just yet; I’m still optimistic that we can make progress through smart partnerships with parents.

NY State recently released its 2018-19 test scores in ELA and Math. This time of year, every charter school in NY State is on eggshells. Charter schools in NY State are first compared with the sending school district. The sending school district is the location where the charter school operates.

After examining the results against the area, analysts then compare the results against other charter schools.

Riverhead Charter School.

My school is the Riverhead Charter School, a K-8 charter school located in Suffolk County on Long Island, NY. We were recently granted an extension to our charter, allowing us to go up to Grade 12. Next year will be the first year for our freshmen. They are our current 8th-grade class.

As a scholar-practitioner, I realize that there are many different ways to frame data. For this blog post, and those wondering– My primary concern is how our students perform in 8th grade. The goal is to have every student performing at levels of proficiency by Grade 8.

Our 8th graders are performing on levels comparable to the highest achieving school districts in the state. We have come a long way as a school.

Growth Mindset.

2012-13 our schools were abysmal. I’m talking 11% in 3rd Grade Math, 11% in 3rd grade ELA.

In 2018-19, things looked way different for us.  Our kids are performing at 70+% in Math, and mid 80% in ELA.

These scores didn’t just happen overnight, and they didn’t come without heartache, pain, lawsuits, and people questioning my integrity and my ability to do right by all students.  Still I Rise!

Digging In.

You have to dig in for what you believe. If you think kids can learn, it is not enough to think kids can learn. Folks from the outside looking in don’t care what you think. They want to see that you have the ability to stand and deliver. Deliverance, in this case, is offering an alternative to traditional public schools that have failed families.

We still have a ton of work to do to reach the success levels of Success and Icahn, but right now, we are going to celebrate our students and families and their accomplishments. It is hard work being a stand-alone charter school. CMO’s can pool and share resources. Independent charters genuinely have to do more with less. I’m excited that we are in a position to continue to do this work for children.

Categories
Charter Schools Education Reform

Diane “21 Savage” Ravitch

Diane “21 Savage” Ravitch.

Diane ” 21 Savage” Ravitch in her most recent blog post states, “To understand the charter industry, you must appreciate that it is driven by extremely wealthy people and has no grassroots.”

Ms. Ravitch’s assertion that the charter school industry is not a grassroots movement couldn’t be further from the truth. The textbook definition of grassroots is as follows: Grassroots, type of movement or campaign that attempts to mobilize individuals to take some action to influence an outcome, often of a political nature.  Black and Brown folks have marched, lobbied, and have a pretty extensive ground game when it comes to getting educational choice for their children.

21-21-21.

I feel like every time Mrs. Savage blogs, she needs to write 21-21-21, as a precursor for the savagery she depicts in her writing.  Savagery, in this instance, relates to how she misleads the reader into thinking that the only way to save traditional public schools, is to invest only in conventional public schools.

In my opinion, this is deficit thinking.  It amazes me at how people (like Mrs. Savage) with the most access always feel like they need to think for poor folks.  Often times they negate ones lived experience by inserting their expert views.  These loud sirens exhibited by these so-called experts often drown out the help signals that are blaring.  Black and brown folks are tired of being told what to do with their children, they want options, and no expert will convince them otherwise.

An odd fact that Mrs. Ravitch and those that think like her conveniently forget, is schools were bad way before charter schools.

School Choice Pushes The Envelop.

Moreover, charter schools push the envelope daily. Black and Brown families overwhelmingly want charter schools and school choice options for their children. To try and persuade others of anything different just tells you how much of a disconnect there is between those that are fortunate vs. those that have been historically disenfranchised.

Black and Brown Folks Favor School Choice.

According to a recent study by the American Federation for children, 67% of families support choice in where they send their kids to school. This is up 4% from 2018. You can find more information on the study by clicking on this link https://www.federationforchildren.org/national-school-choice-poll-shows-67-of-voters-support-school-choice-2019/.

Mrs. Ravitch likens support to charter schools as being the whose who in philanthropic support. In her blog, she states, “Being a supporter of charter schools is like belonging to the right clubs, going to the right parties, sharing a cause with other wealthy people.”  I’m not sure what clubs Mrs. Ravitch attends, but I can assure you they have exclusivity.

School Choice Evens The Playing Field.

Mrs. Ravitch fails to mention is what the cause is, and who the cause benefits. Plain and straightforward, school choice evens the playing field that was once dominated by traditional public schools. Charter schools are not the enemy. View charter schools as a way to keep its Traditional Public school sibling honest. Traditional public schools fail families. Nowadays, Mrs. Ravitch conveniently glosses over outcomes and accountability to gaslight issues that don’t matter to the poor.  Black and Brown folks want quality schools for their kids.

Gaslighting Like Trump.

Mrs. Ravitch savagely attempts to link the work we do in the charter sector to Jeffery Epstein. Epstein is a pedophilic sicko. I’m sure anyone school that accepted funding from him would be happy to disavow. I also didn’t read where she addressed the pedophiles that are saturated throughout schools, mainly traditional public schools.

For example, Rhode Island–  Oddly enough, I have not read one-word form Mrs. Ravitch or any public schools supporters disavowing themselves from what’s currently happening in Rhode Island.  To bring you up to speed, the teacher’s union is fighting tooth and nail to continue allowing teachers dating students to be non-criminal.  This ass-backwardness has gotten little to no attention from Savage or the likes.  I wonder why?

Categories
African American History Black Culture Civil Rights Education Education Reform Equity and Justice trauma

The Edupurist Podcast

The “Edupurists” Podcast.

 (Click this link for the new podcast) 

The Edupurist Podcast focuses on education in its purest form, the truth. The Edupurist podcast will shed light on the many issues that affect Black/Brown families. Each episode will focus on changing the narrative by using education as a catalyst for change. The goal is to shed light and love while being super critical of a system that not necessarily designed to uplift Black/Brown students.

8 Black hands Conglomerate.

So, many of you have heard the crew and me on the 8 Black Hands Podcast. The 8 Black hands podcast is when we come together to form Black Voltron in the podcast space. However, currently, we are all in the development stages for our podcast efforts. We will continue to record our 8 Black Hands podcast, but to give you more content, we decided to host individual podcasts under the 8 Black Hands umbrella. So, look out for six other hands and their podcasts coming real soon.

Episode 1- When the See Us.

A lot has been made about the new Netflix series When They See Us. Ava DuVernay did a fantastic job of bringing this to life. The way that she was able to bring truth power speaks volume about her talent. DuVernay is a national treasure, and we should celebrate her as such.

Guest(s).

In this episode, we have two guests. Mr. Terrell Dozier, Dean of Students and Families at the Riverhead Charter School. We also have Mr. Khari Shabazz, a Principal in the Success Academy Network. I was honored to be able to “chop” it up with these fellas regarding pertinent issues that benefit Black/Brown families.

Cinematic Importance.

These performances were as real as it gets. It doesn’t or probably will never bring justice to this situation, but there was power in these portrayals. When thinking about these performances, one person comes to mind; Korey Wise. The actor that played Korey Wise deserves all of the accolades that come with this type of production. He did a fantastic job, P-E-R-I-O-D-T.

Oprah Interview.

Oprah recently had the cast members of “When they see Us” and the Central Park Five. As well she had the victims of the injustice. This interview was powerful and deserved a listen. Below is a clip from the conversation. Kudos to Oprah for bringing much-needed attention to this injustice.

Categories
Black Culture Charter Schools Education Reform Equity and Justice

Open Letter to Senator Sanders Re: Charter Schools

Open Letter to Senator Sanders.

Dear Senator Sanders,

I get it. You are behind in the polls, and things are seemingly impossible. Senator Sanders, the magic in the bottle that you once had has escaped the bottle. Therefore, in desperation, you have to go out on edge to separate yourself from the other Democratic Candidates for the 2020 election.

I’d rather see you buck the system, and support school choice for the poor and disenfranchised.

In the 2016 Election cycle, you struggled to make headway with African-American voters. This may have been one of the main reasons that you aren’t currently sitting in the Whitehouse as president. Instead of correcting the mistakes made by your campaign in 2016, and your desire to be a provocateur, you are again isolating yourself from the votes you need to become electable.

Senator Sanders is Out of Touch.

Black Folks didn’t vote for you in 2016 because they thought you were out of touch, or for that matter never in touch with the Black Community. It was alleged that you frequently avoided Black folks in your home state of Vermont. Nothing says out of touch more than your recent suggestion to place a moratorium on charter schools.

Your new policy should have focused on putting an end to bad schools. Those are the schools that perpetuate death gaps that exist in our country. Students are graduating High School reading below an 8th-grade reading level. Rather than oppose the choice of Black and LatinX parents, you should be standing up for these families.  America, at least for the rich, is about choice.  You have some nerve proposing a measure that would take away opportunities from the poor and disenfranchised.  This policy shows just how out of touch you are with communities of color.  Maybe you should run for president of the NAACP?  You all seem very aligned, but yet very out of touch with the pulse of the poor and disenfranchised.

Politics Aside Senator Sanders.

Senator Sanders, I am familiar enough with your story to know a leopard doesn’t change his spots. I take you for your word when you talk about limiting educational options for people of color. It’s okay to be pro-union. I know a lot of this effort behind the assault on school choice is spearheaded by politicians that want the historical blue union vote. Alas, you may receive and be endorsed by the Teacher’s unions. But, I task the Black Community to show you in consecutive elections that your inability to be in touch with our needs will haunt you dearly at the polls.

Is Bernie Bought?

Bernie Sanders talk so much about not being influenced by Wall Street and holding others accountable. It is time that we remind you as an elected official, you don’t choose what’s best for us, we determine what’s best for us. On the last day of National Charter School week, and hours after the 65th anniversary of Brown v. Board, you have the nerve to come out with this atrocious policy? It’s cowardice and reflective of the fact that maybe Senator Sanders, you been compromised.

Concluding thought on Bernie’s Vibes.

The black community is very fickle towards folks telling us what to do. Senator Sanders, in my mind, two hot-button topics exist in the United States right now. 1) Infringing on the rights of women. I’m a man, so the last thing in the world that I’m going to do is tell a woman what she can or can’t do with her body. 2) School choice. The last thing that I’m going to do is tell a historically disenfranchised sector of my base when and where they should send their children to school. To do either is political suicide. I can’t wait until we have the opportunity to go to the polls to let you know how we feel about your charter school moratorium.

Categories
Education Education Reform Equity and Justice trauma

I don’t know who needs to hear this… but.

I Don’t Know Who Needs to Hear This… But.

I don’t know who needs to hear this… but, some of the things that our students are being exposed in school are unbearable.  As a school leader, one wears many hats.  One of those hats is a protector.  I think it is crucial that school leaders understand the role that they play in education.  It is essential to know that you set the tone of the school.  If anything goes wrong, you’ll also be the point person for parents to reassure them that your actions and the actions of teachers in your school or by the best interest of children.

In More Recent News.

Moreover, one of the more recent incidents in education involves teachers and a noose.  If I have to explain to your the historical pretext of a noose, you shouldn’t be in front of any kids of any kind.  Especially Black and Latinx students, given what the descendants of slaves had to endure some 400 years ago.  Yet the adults we choose to put in front of students give us constant reminders.  From students being made to re-enact slavery, to slave auctions, and now we have noose sightings.  The video below captures the story behind the noose.  The lack of care exhibited by these five individuals is more than just a bad joke.  It permeates the systematic racism and damaging systems that happen in schools that are unfit for students.

More Context.

Consequently, the photographer in this picture (allegedly) is the principal of the school.  I mentioned earlier that the principal sets the tone of the school.  If the principal is involved in such a tone-deaf act as this, what does that say about the school?  One of my latest blogs talked about a principal that took advantage of a young teenage girl.  We are starting to see more and more miscarriages of justice committed against our kids, and the people that are supposed to protect our students from harm are the same folks that are committing evil acts against our students.

Protecting Kids At All Costs.

I want parents to have a plan of action for when these events occur.  Especially given the frequency of occurrences.  Schools deflect, and often times aren’t accountable for the damage they cause.  People aren’t sorry about the harm that they cause to kids.  They are sorry they got caught.  So, as I stated in the title of this blog post, “I don’t Know who needs to hear this”, but we have to do a better job with protecting our most valuable parent resource, and that is our children.