Categories
Bullying in Schools Equity and Justice Parenting

A School Leader’s Worst Fear!

A School Leader’s Worst Fear!

A school leader’s worst fear has to be the passing of a student.  Fortunately, it has never happened on my watch.  However, I have seen school communities destroyed by the loss of students.  There are certain things that school leaders can do to be proactive to ensure the safety of students.  I think it is going to take leaders going above and beyond, as well as thinking outside the box to address this ongoing problem.

School Bullying.

We talk about bullying a lot.  Yet, there are still kids that sit in silence and are bullied on an everyday basis.  I’m no-nonsense when it comes to bullying.  That’s when the whole restorative justice framework goes out of the window for me.  Parents send kids to school to learn.  They want their babies coming home the same way they were sent to school.  The job of the school leader is to ensure that occurs.  I always take it one step further.  School leaders are responsible for the child from the time they leave the house, to the time they enter the house.  Sometimes if things aren’t going well, your responsibility may even enter the house.  We have to protect these children.

Holding Schools Accountable.

There have been way too many instances when bullying has been reported but continues to happen in schools.  We need to create safe havens where the students that are being bullied have a safe outlet to report any and all instances.  One way to address bullying is to take it seriously the first time.  There is no time to play when it is brought to your attention.   If you think about it, by the time it gets to you, it’s usually too late.  This is why it’s essential to have your fingers on the pulse in your respective schools.

Keeping Your Fingers on the Pulse.

There are a lot of different ways to keep your fingers on the pulse.  One way that resonates for me is having staff members be a student for the day.  This way, teachers can see things through the eyes of the students. It adds a level of empathy to the teacher’s repertoire.  Moreover, this type of innovation will allow teachers to see things through the eyes of the students.  Thus increasing the believability of the students when they report cases of bullying.

A Fear Realized.

This latest incident of school bullying resulting in a young lady committing suicide brought me to write.  As educators, we have to do better with protecting our students.  We have to listen to our students.  No matter how minor it may seem.  A school leader’s worst fear is losing a student on their watch.

Categories
African American History Black Culture Equity and Justice Parenting

The Ray(s) vs. Everybody Podcast

An Educator’s Sacrifice.

As educators, we tend to give a lot to our students. So much, in fact, I know many educators that neglect their own children due to the demands of the career. I have felt victim to that many times. Feeling disconnected from your child’s life is not a good feeling at all. This feeling got me to thinking, how can I help others while still keeping a pulse on what my teenager is doing. It was there I thought of The Ray(s) vs. Everybody Podcast.

Falling Prey to the System.

Black and Latinx boys have become prey to a system that does not prepare adequately to become men. Some would even say that the system not only sets them up for failure but it’s making them ready for prison. I needed to come up with a way to advance the culture while not allowing my own son to become a victim to the system.

A New Type of Podcast.

We have decided to theme this podcast on Black and Latinx culture while keeping the focus on uplifting black boys through emphasizing education. My son is an expert on most things culture. I’m taking a back seat and asking questions parents should ask while maintaining a safe space for a Black male teenager to navigate through his feelings while being expressive about the things he doesn’t understand. The most exciting part of this podcast is the fact that I’m learning from my son the expert.

The Ray(s) Vs. Everybody Podcast.

In the first episode of The Ray(s) vs. Everybody Podcast, we talk about Kodak Black and his current media backlash. Ray Jr. comes into his own as a voice for teenagers growing up in the United States post-Obama. It’s vital that we give our young Black and Latinx teenagers an outlet to express themselves. There’s no better way to do that than to meet them on technological platforms that peak their interests while creating a safe space for them to be expressive.

Bridgebuilder.

I hope that this podcast serves as a bridge between Black and Latinx boys and the male figures in their lives.  I think The Ray(s) vs. Everybody Podcast can be transformational in terms of forming a better dialogue between Black and Latinx males.

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

Black Folks Y’all Are on Your Own!

Origination of Black Folks Y’all Are on Your Own!

I can’t take total credit for this. The title of this blog post was actually an underlying theme of the 8blackhands podcast. Dr. Cole, our esteemed “podmate” has been saying this for a while. It seems as though with everything that we discuss in education, Black Folks Y’all are on your own!

What this means is, people will do their damnedest to point out to you that a problem exists in education, but little to no effort will go into providing you with solutions on how to navigate through the nuances of the said problem.

The More Things Change.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. If I were to ask an old-timer, do you think that things have changed from the Civil Rights Movement? I guess that 8/10 would say yes.

The tenor in the country is lighter, there are fewer forms of public violence against minorities, but are we looking at things from the correct lens?

Let’s Analyze the picture to the left of the screen. I’d like to pay particular attention to the Black Incarceration data set. We all can concede that Black and Latinx folks are overly criminalized in American society.

There are at least two Democratic nominees for President that are vying for the presidency based on criminal justice reform. They identified the problem, “Black Incarceration,” and they created a platform to change it, “criminal justice reform.” It seems simple enough. But I definitely won’t hold my breath for the outcome.

When will Educating Black Kids Change?

Another problem that we have identified is Black and Latinx students are failing in K-12 education in the United States. It’s actually quite awful how much they have fallen behind their counterparts.

Meanwhile, racism and prejudice continue to permeate the discourse in determining why? In the NYC debate over how to better integrate its specialized high schools, Asian parents have established a campaign in which they are saying “Black and Latinx parents don’t care about their child’s education.” When asked to provide proof of such, and I was advised to go to any NYC library.

I was then told that in the library you’d find Asian kids studying, but you wouldn’t find black kids doing the same. Therefore it was equated that “Blacks and Latinx folks don’t care about their children’s education.

Navigating Through the Nuance.

We’ve established that Black Folks are on their own in K-12 education. Rather than walk you through the solutions of how to navigate through the nuance, I’ve decided to make this blog interactive.

If you have ideas as to how to solve the educational woes from Black and Brown folks, we want to hear your solutions. You can reach out to us @8Blackhands1 on twitter. Tonight’s episode, we will talk in debt with Dr. Cole about: Black Folks Y’all are on your own! So stay tuned.

Categories
Charter Schools Equity and Justice School Choice Teaching and Learning

New York City Specialized High School -BS-

The commitment to diversity in New York Specialized High School is B-S.  These students deserve better.  They deserve our attention.

If this latest Varsity Blues scandal combined with the abysmal acceptance rates of Black students in New York Specialized High Schools isn’t a wake-up call, what is?

Varsity Blues Scandal.

In light of the Varsity Blues scandal, we’ve had to stare privilege in the face and admit that the mighty dollar can buy school choice. Hollywood heavyweights were caught in a pay to play scheme that gave their children a competitive advantage in college admissions over Black and LatinX students. The Varsity Blues scandal should not come as a shock. Our educational system has always been this way.

New York City Specialized High School is B-S.

The NYC Specialized High School admission process may not be the same as the Varsity Blues scandal, but I will be darn if there are not any similarities. The Have’s are still in positions to benefit immensely from admissions. While the have nots struggle to make decisions about where to send their kids for high school. In Stuyvesant High School, there were 895 spots open to the incoming freshman class, only 7/895 of the admitted are Black. That’s .0078.

 

It’s insane and deserves political outrage. I believe this deserves a “Public School New Deal.” Hell, we can even make the deal green too, if it’ll make people act on it.

Truly Commit to Diversity.

The system needs fixing. Instead of talking about a system reboot, put in the work. Instead of catering to the affluent, let’s commit to creating an equitable system. Any other talk about building diverse systems is fluff. Black and LatinX folks are tired of the dust. We are tired of the sit back and wait your turn type attitudes that the affluent inflict upon the poor.

If the System Remains Broken.

If the system remains broken, and the Haves continue with their dominance, we should not dare blame parents for expressing a need for choice. Charter schools provide PoC hope. Our current educational system is bleak. The proof is in the results. We are not going to wait around while you all figure this out. We are going to make the best decisions for our children. You can judge all you want, be we won’t be sitting idly by while you fix the problem that you created. New York City specialized high school needs a reset.

My concluding thought is simple, fix the system. But until that system is problem free, please don’t you dare tell us where to send our kids to school.

Categories
Education Equity and Justice Teaching and Learning

Respect Teachers.

Respect Teachers.

Nowadays, we make a lot of excuses for our students and their behaviors. We rationalize for their mistakes. Others blame generational trauma and a lack of quality education to help others understand there’s a need for help. Schools bring in wraparound services to help mitigate the trauma experienced by these students: more social workers, and a commitment to restorative justice, but students still have to respect teachers.

Restorative Justice.

Black and LatinX students have been historically penalized more severely than their white peers. Research supports this assertion and those inundated in the education field see this first hand. But how can we help the students that need us the most while providing these students with the services that they need? This is something I grapple with daily.

Even though I struggle with this, I still believe students should respect teachers.

When Students do not Respect Teachers.

Teacher disrespected.

As a parent, that’s kind of where I draw the line. We can’t have it both ways when it comes down to teachers. If we want teachers to be on the front lines and accept accountability measures, we must also vow to protect them. Teachers should leave work every day with their dignity intact, and physically unharmed.  This goal can be achieved if students respect teachers.

A Video is Worth 1k Words.

Currently, there is a video that depicts a student getting mouthy with a teacher. When the teacher turns her back, the black, male student snatches her wig off her head. This middle-aged Black woman deserves better than she received. Students sat, watched and videoed this deplorable, humiliation. I did not see one student advocate for the teacher. They all sat back and laughed at the expense of this teacher. Is this what we’re teaching our kids? Or, should we be teaching our kids to respect teachers?

My Struggles as an Educator.

In my mind and my heart, I know this teacher deserves better than the lack of respect she was shown in this video. How do we shift the conversation to address both the needs of the student as well as empower this teacher? How do we allow our students to advocate for what’s right, rather than to laugh at what they think is funny?

If education is to change for PoC, this video and how we’d respond is the perfect case study for moving the work forward.  Let’s move our work forward while committing to having our young people respect teachers.

Categories
Black Culture Education Equity and Justice Grandparents Parenting Teaching Teaching and Learning

From Grandparents to Primary Care Givers.

From Grandparents to Primary Care Givers.

When you reach the stage of a grandparent, your role is different from that of the parent. You’ve raised your kids, hopefully in a manner that makes them responsible. No one warned you of the possibility that you’d go from grandparents to primary caregivers.

One day, far in the future I’ll be a grandparent. My role will be to give my grandkids a couple of days out of the month, so their parents can remember what it was like to be kid-free. A grandparent is to the equivalent of a relief pitcher; the biological parents are the aces.

Moreover, taking on your grandkids full-time can be both positive and negative.

The Positives.

1. The genuine love that you have for kids that are an extension of you. These kids embody your genetic makeup.
2. The ability to watch your grandkids learn and grow in a controlled setting.
3. Giving your grandchildren a stable environment where you can be a decision maker or a narrative changer.

The Negatives.

1. Anger or resentment, which is natural because these are not your children, you’ve raised your children.
2. Guilt; feeling as if you didn’t do a good enough job with your child, so you’re on the hook for their kids.
3. Grief, no longer having your independence.

Some folks dream of the day when they can walk around their homes, the way they want to walk around.

Tips for Grandparents who become Primary Care Givers:

1. Take care of yourself. You deserve that, and you’ve earned it.
2. Make sure you have hobbies to center the universe around you. ”Me time” is significant.
3. Building the capacity of the grandkids is okay. Kids nowadays are capable of being a lot more independent.

Moving Forward with the work.

According to data from AARP in 2016, three million grandparents are raising their grandchildren.

As we move forward in this work, I would like to bring attention to the following. Grandparents often receive no additional income for raising their grandkids. There needs to be legislation that allows grandparents to foster and adopt their grandchildren. Grandparents should be eligible to receive government funding in addition to money from their pensions. It may help with some of the stress associated with grandparents as the primary caregivers of their grandchildren.