Written by David Mitchell, Founder/CEO of Better Outcomes for Our Kids and partner of EdLanta.
When you’re a parent thinking about what’s best for your child, I can only imagine the fear and anger one must have when watching the conversation happening between the Atlanta Board of Education and the current superintendent. After you shed yourself of those concerns, what you should realize more than ever before, is that it’s ultimately up to you to navigate your child’s educational future. Our children need a strong leader for our growing and diverse Atlanta Public Schools system. But with that decision being completely out of parents’ hands, one must focus on the things that can be controlled.
Black Parents in Atlanta Cannot Afford to Lose Focus: Our Kids Have Suffered Enough.
We believe this work includes inspiring parental engagement, empowering community leaders, activating praying pastors, and supporting capable and committed teachers. With or without a superintendent, these critical stakeholders must become and remain engaged in the process. Now if you believe this level of stakeholder synergy and engagement is critical for our children’s educational future, then you should now have a clear understanding of the work of Better Outcomes for OUR Kids (BOOK).
BOOK is an African American-led organization that is unapologetically focused on schools and communities serving African American children. Our goal is simple, and that is to help build and support a powerful and connective ecosystem focused on supporting high performing schools and the communities they serve. After only five years, we are once again plunging headfirst into a search for a new superintendent.
We must do more than talk about better educational outcomes; we must create them!
As disruptive and political as a search like this can become, we must remain focused on educating Atlanta’s children. A strong superintendent is just one cog in the wheel that must be highly functional for Atlanta to reach its highest heights. In these uncertain times, it should be even more clear that we must look beyond the walls of the historical constructs we’ve grown accustomed to as it relates to educating our children. The ability of parents to navigate their children’s educational future must now be supported by caring stakeholders who make this goal their top priority.
More than ever before, it’s our responsibility, and ultimately part of our children’s inheritance, to unearth every stone, look under every rock, and remove every obstacle to ensure that our children receive a world-class education. What we must now understand, is that only through this inheritance can we start to remove the shackles from our feet, and put the systemic injustices that have plagued our race since we set foot on this land back in 1619 behind us.
It is BOOK’s firm belief that we must research, understand, and take advantage of every educational option available to our children. And if you believe this fact as strongly as we do, then you should also believe that it’s our responsibility to make sure that African American children are educated “by any means necessary.”
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.