The racial disparities in this country are prevalent in the lives of Black students. Many Black students are living through this pandemic and poverty. As much as we continue to want to ignore systemic racism in 2020, we simply can’t.
Racial inequalities in our public education system impact Black students’ ability to survive outside of school.
From the early 1900s after slave revolts, migration, and Black establishment in America, we now still have another generation of Black youth living through and battling poverty. Ironically, many public schools that serve Black children aren’t even teaching them about the Poor People’s Campaign, designed to bring an end to poverty in America so this generation can be living the American dream.
For many Black students in America, I suspect that this dream is more of a nightmare.
Not only are there Black students living through poverty, they are in constant fear of being homeless, hungry, victims of abuse and neglect, and living without basic needs.They are also in a state of uncertainty regarding their exposure to COVID-19. Add on top of this being criminalized as a Black youth for selling bottled water to survive.
I’ve seen in various virtual town halls for Metro Atlanta schools the struggle of accounting for homeless families. Most numbers of homeless students are not updated and many schools have not started initiatives for actually being the communities to seek families in need of help.
Schools are struggling to connect with Black students living in poverty and through the pandemic. I saw on Twitter an organization supporting Atlanta Public Schools partnership with Comcast. I immediately thought to myself, “How will these families sign up for this support if they don’t have access now?”
Here’s the deal!
If public school districts aren’t footing the bill for the services with Comcast, then who will? Grandparents on fixed incomes, foster parents with several children, families in lower income communities hit by the unemployment crisis during the pandemic the hardest don’t have access to their emails to register and may not have phone service or basic essentials needed.
School board leaders have had enough time May – August to have plans in place to support teachers, students, and families with virtual learning. Point blank period!
We cannot allow Black students who are living through this pandemic and poverty to go without access and fall behind academically.
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.