Civil Rights Education Reform Equity and Justice School Choice

Freedom Schools: Future, Present, and Past

Freedom Schools, Future:

Freedom schools represent educational freedom.

Firstly, we can do more for the Black Community. What if members of the Divine Nine, Historically Black Fraternities and Sororities all pledged to fund an initiative? The initiative is to run charter schools based on the principles that govern their organizations.

Potential Initiates:

Similarly to the Freedom Summers, potential initiates would dedicate a summer to the organizations’ Freedom school as an Assistant Teacher. These assistant teachers learn under a Master Teacher.  Also, candidates learn more about the principles of their possible organization, but what better way to set potential members up for a lifetime of service?

As graduates, members of the Divine Nine are offered paid internships at their organizations’ respective school. If members become teachers, the organizations could build partnerships with the local universities to host classes on site or come up with a business model to help defray the costs of becoming a teacher.

These thoughts are in the infancy stages. Once built out, it could benefit everyone and could be the catalyst to increase the less than 2% Black Male teachers nationwide.

Freedom Schools Presently:

Notwithstanding, imagine schools where scholars do not have to fear to embrace their culturally rich heritage.  Schools where Black Americans hear the truth about their impact on society and what PoC have meant to movement throughout history. Institutions where one can feel safe to be oneself, and not have to acclimate to what society has deemed acceptable.

Places where academic excellence is the norm and not the exception. Schools where they talk about college as the derivative for success, with no constant reminders about prisons or criminalization solely based on the color of one’s skin. Given these points, this is the kind of school I want for my child, if you agree, keep reading!

Five Components of Freedom Schools:

In essence, CDF Freedom Schools are doing this. Their website posts, the CDF Freedom Schools program enhances children’s motivation to read and makes them feel good about learning.

Similarly, the program connects families to the right resources in their communities. Freedom School students engage in a research-based. They participate in the multicultural Integrated Reading Curriculum that supports them and their families through five essential components:

  1. High-quality academic enrichment
  2. Parent and family development
  3. Civic engagement and social action
  4. Intergenerational servant leadership development
  5. Nutrition, health and mental health
    Students also receive two nutritious meals and a snack daily, as well as a book each week to build their home libraries.

Other key takeaways from Freedom schools are as follows:

• Parent involvement.
• Staff diversity. Many Freedom school employees parents are involved in the movement. That means the passion for these types of schools was passed down.
• Social Action. Stakeholders are not only alarmed by the social strains on, and they are actively engaging in coming up with solutions.

Freedom Schools of the Past:

Consequently, in the summer of 1964 establishes that educational choices in the Mississippi Delta were deplorable for young PoC. Increased hostility existed towards blacks in the post-Jim Crow era. However, through SNCC and the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO), the Freedom School Movement was born.

Generally speaking, Freedom Schools primary mission was to provide alternative schools that ‘‘Could supplement what Black students were learning in their high schools, give them a broader intellectual and academic experience that they could take back to their regular classes, and form the basis for statewide student action such as a school boycott’’ (Ligon and Chilcoat, 1999, p. 45).

Moreover, to reiterate: Poor schools as identified by (SNCC) and (COFO) is what spurned one of the most historic African-American led school reform initiatives, Freedom Schools.

Approximately 41 Freedom schools operated in the South. Many of the teachers in the schools were well-intentioned white college students. Again, many heard of the conditions and treatment of black folks in the South. After experiencing it first hand knew the racism prescribed to PoC in Mississippi was unlike anything they’d ever seen.

In summation, this Blog post highlights the visionary Charles Cobb.  His forward-thinking centered around what is known as Freedom Schools. We’ve spoken a lot in my inner circles. We need innovative ideas that will work to help motivate and sustain a quality education for Blacks.

Works Cited:
Ligon, J. A., & Chilcoat, G. W. (1999). Helping To Make Democracy a Living Reality: The Curriculum Conference of the Mississippi Freedom Schools. Journal of Curriculum and Supervision, 15(1), 43-68.

Charter Schools Civil Rights Education Education Reform Parenting School Choice

The School Integration Myth

Afrocentric Schools and School Integration:

In a NY Times Article written today 1.8.19, titled ‘I Love My Skin!’ Why Black Parents Are Turning to Afrocentric Schools, the author Eliza Shapiro attempts to show us the pros and cons to the integration of schools.

Ms. Shapiro reached out to Andre Perry for a quote. Perry, a fellow at the Brooking Institution, said, “Segregation leads to inequality, you can’t just do that away.” Perry goes on to state, “If you’re going to ignore this issue, it will come back to haunt you.”

I posit that integration is what is haunting us. Integration as a whole has not worked in my opinion. The integration of Blacks into public schools post-Brown, I’d argue, may be a reason for the destruction of Black Communities nationwide. Integration caused a significant divide in our communities, one that still exists. It is heartbreaking to see people of color (POC) that have seats at the table regularly sell their people out to maintain their position at the table. Saying segregation won’t work is the same as saying black folks aren’t good enough.

Tone Deaf Textbooks:

Earlier today, I received a picture from a colleague of a worksheet circulated to students in a school district in Connecticut. It brought all kinds of emotions out of me. I have a school-aged child, so this hit hard for me. It is insane at how at an early age society permeates this notion in our children that they aren’t good enough. We don’t go out looking for this kind of stuff, yet it finds us.

This type of blatant racism is not okay, nor will it ever be okay. These types of things happen to students of color daily. Whether its students being persecuted for their hairstyles, how they look, dress, the list goes on. We must go on the offensive to keep our kids safe.

If we can be outraged about Robert Kelly and his horrible treatment of Black women, we have to allow ourselves to be equally outraged about the injustices that occur in K-12 education daily. Not only must we be outraged, but we must also be ready to call out these injustices with swift action.

Moving Forward with the work:

I was talking to a parent earlier today, and her exact words were, “Mr. Ankrum, if I had the resources to survive and did not have to work, I would homeschool my children.”

The fact that I’m looking after her children allows her to be able to sleep at night. I don’t take that responsibility lightly, because if anything happens to any of my students, it’s as if it happened to my kids. That’s the level of investment I have in the job. Educators, don’t take your responsibility lightly, parents depend on you to keep their children safe.