Family engagement isn’t a best practice that enough public schools are using effectively. Teachers are conditioned, not trained, to simply move the “paperwork” for compliance. The issue is family engagement is only important because of the Title I money associated with it.
In education equity conversations, I hear a lot of educators state that parents are the problem. Quite honestly, a lot of these opinions are geared towards Black parents in lower-income communities.
Getting some posters, a printer, and doing a couple of spaghetti dinners through PTA for a data review is not effective family engagement.
Engaging Parents Is No Easy Task, But It’s Needed In Order to Empower Black Parents to Demand Change in Public Schools!
Effective engagement is best seen through empowerment. Empowering Black parents’ voices are drastically needed on a large media platform to help drive advocacy for our public education system to be reformed. Thus, in fact, I believe the disengagement of Black parents in public schools highly contributes to the failure of Black students.
Black children in public schools are still suffering. What our public educational school system is doing to Black and brown students in America is a disservice. It is one reason why generational poverty has continued. Education is a key factor in those impacted by poverty.
Black parents have faced atrocities across the nation in public schools. The cheating scandals to hundreds of Black children who don’t have clean water in Flint, MI schools, set our children back . This type of engagement hasn’t been effective. It doesn’t empower or connect Black parents to the work happening in classrooms. This is why I am so concerned about the adjustment of many public schools to virtual learning. If public schools weren’t doing right by Black parents and children before COVID-19, then there will certainly be even more challenges with virtual learning.
Virtual learning during COVID-19 is truly showing Black parents the heavy-lift teachers in our public schools are doing daily with our students.
The amount of challenges this quarter with virtual learning is one of many reasons why we should reform public schools. As discussed in the “Black Parents Are to Blame,” many of the policies fueling the academic achievement gap are biased against Black students. The challenges and inequities within public schools, especially schools in lower-income communities, are seeing even more of a need for better educational outcomes during COVID-19.
As educators and advocates, we must be the hope for Black parents not the force driving them further away from connecting with our schools.
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.