Over the last couple of years, I seen school and business leaders talk about the importance of turning around the academic performance of Black boys. But let’s face it, we want to know the schools and organizations actually making a difference in providing better educational outcomes for Black boys.
For the second year in a row, I’ve witnessed more schools in Metro Atlanta not participate in the Million Fathers March than what’s needed. Yet, the same schools will be the first to do a campaign, press conference or major write up on the need to turnaround schools to Black boys can thrive.
We need less talk and more work!
Now let me pause here. Too often we see , “more work” and actually push this down to teachers, support staff and parents. We need less from those who influence school policy and more action. Action that requires us to focus in on the bias policies around attendance, behavior and discipline that often target Black boys in schools.
It’s about challenging and changing requirements for standardized tests, special education and social, emotional learning, all major areas impacting how Black boys find success or failure in schools.
Yet we aren’t celebrating the work being done through schools and organizations that get the importance of restorative justice in schools.
Black Fathers Supporting Black Boys in Schools Should be the Center of Attention!
Black men supporting Black boys in schools isn’t a hot topic. The Black males breaking and entering, getting busted for petty thief and drug chargers, streets hustlers, gangsters and deadbeat dads seem to continue ranking high on the news and trending social media list.
However, for another year in a row the Million Fathers March wasn’t trending or breaking news. Schools across the Nation that open their doors to fathers walking their children to school/class, volunteering at bus stops, reading in classrooms or helping with multiplication facts weren’t nationally highlighted at all.
One of the hardest parts about reform work is changing the narrative. Especially for Black boys who have been negatively viewed in school data and in schools for decades.
Family engagement is a very important part of the educational experience. We place too much pressure on Black boys leading them towards the school to prison pipeline and not successful pathways. Fathers Incorporated and Real Dads Read are resources for schools and communities in reaching, rearing and empowering Black boys. Especially with literacy.
Getting Black boys to read is much easier when they see Black males at home and in the community doing it. More importantly, we need more media (locally) showing positive images of Black males reading. Perception is one of the best, free resources we have in improving the perception of Black boys and reading.
For additional resources on how to engage Black males in the initiatives to support Black boys with literacy/reading please visit Fathers Incorporated or Real Dads Read.
Jason has worked in education for over 15 years as a teacher, blogger and community advocate. He speaks and writes primarily about the need to improve education for Black boys, particularly increasing the number of Black male educators in schools. In addition to blogging here at EdLanta, Jason is also a featured writer at Education Post.