We must create pathways of success for our children. This can no longer be an option but it must be a requirement for not just Educators but local elected officials. Our nation is in a crisis with the school to prison pipeline and former 1st lady Michelle Obama is not letting us forget the importance of higher education. I must admit, in my Educational career I am guilty of saying that college is not for every child. When I look back at my early years of being an Educator, I now realize why engagement is key in helping students and families succeed. It’s not us to any adult to tell a child that college is not an option. It’s our duty to encourage our children to live to their best potential. We cannot depend on gifts and talents alone to find and sustain success! We must have training, development and knowledge of our field of choice in order to grow.
In the 90’s Black children across the Nation and many multicultural youth were inspired by the hit sitcom, “A Different World,” that not only inspired us to want to extend our paths into higher education but to seek out the right HBCU that fit our cultural and educational needs. I believe that there is an institute of higher learning that fits the needs of all our children. Yet, we still have alarming numbers of youth dropping out of high school and entering into the school to prison pipeline.
Here’s how we can help change this and why we #BetterMakeRoom for the next generation:
- Ensuring that CTAE programs within our school begin preparing and providing higher education resources and experiences to students and families as early as 5th grade.
- Helping 1st generation high school graduates and their families adequately prepare for life after high school beginning in the middle/junior high school years.
- We must make college and learning exciting for students and not a job.
- Our Pre K programs could incorporate college readiness tips, strategies and planning steps for parents.
- Public traditional and charter schools should have at least 2 partnerships on each level (elementary, middle and high school) with at least two Ivy league, HBCU and technical colleges to bring college experiences to all children.
- Colleges that have local schools near them should have automatic partnerships with each school to provide various experiences with their campuses and mentoring programs with students.
We must not settle with where we are. As we grow and learn, we advance our way of thinking and create innovative ways to help each child find success. Our local school Districts must challenge schools to have more than one Career and College Days a year. I believe that schools should have a College and Career Day once a quarter for students, families and the community. Our students must see success in and out of the classroom. One of my former Principals said that it’s our job to teach the children, reach the families and empower the communities.