What Is The Role Of Education? (First Draft)

Some writers are extraordinarily talented and prolific, that’s not me. Writing does not come easy making it imperative to find ways to publish daily. Often it takes times to convey the correct message and do research.   The following post is the first draft from a past post. Unless I publish, I will not complete the final draft so follow along or wait for the final draft.  I know a draft is hard to read but let’s have fun. Please feel free to provide feedback, helpful links,  correct my thinking or add your thoughts.

What we need is not a history of selected races or nations, but the history of the world void of national bias, race hate, and religious prejudice. – Carter G. Woodson

Today, children are suffering from a lack of human guidance. They exist in a virtual world of texting and social networking sites. Their role models live in cyberspace, doling out advice, instilling cyber-values and their own beliefs. Cyberspace is an exciting world where anything can happen. Unfortunately, some have used this space to exploit others.

What is the role of education in supporting children as they navigate the problems of community, culture, drugs, family, jobs, politics, race, teachers, the internet, sex, and well-being? Are children receiving an education that prepares them for the challenges of life, family, career, and sexuality?

The role of education was to prepare the next generation’s workforce, to sustain our economy and to keep the government going. However, that’s changed.  Children from inner city public schools and children of color receive a different education, one that limits their ambitions to a few fields where they work in the trenches. If our children step out of line, many schools work closely with law enforcement identifying children of color to incarcerate.

Past studies such as the Perry Preschool Study showed tremendous benefits and cost savings from early educational intervention. Those savings and benefits were due to reduced incarceration. These (find notes on the two other studies)  found suspension and expulsion resulted in poor academic performance, reduced graduation rates, and increased incarceration.  Investing in early education significantly decreased the incarceration rate.  Reducing the incarceration rate was beneficial to society, the community, and even the economy.  (find the dollar amount return on investment)

Does zero-tolerance work?  No, it leads to suspensions and expulsions.  Are out of school suspensions and expulsions effective? No!  Do they lead to appropriate behaviors in the classroom?  No!  Why do schools suspend or expel children for minor infractions or behavioral problems when the risk to the child can be irreparable? Are suspensions and expulsions evidence-based disciplinary approaches? Is zero-tolerance based on evidence of its effectiveness in school children?  No

If educators knowingly harm our children, what can parents do?

Parents need to get involved. I know its hard for single working moms, especially single working black moms because we usually don’t have much support, even from family. Networking with parents of children in your child’s classes and after-school activities is profoundly beneficial for your child and you as a single parent. You become familiar with your child’s school environment and interactions. That enables you to help your child select good friends and be supportive.  Teachers tend to be mindful of the grades of children whose parents are involved. Getting to know other parents and teachers helps your child by forming support groups of other eyes watching and protecting your child as well as willing to help with transportation.

Parents also need to understand the educational system. Despite what teachers will have you believe, trust that you as a parent know your child. Don’t be tricked into thinking a teacher knows more about your child than you do. Beware many teachers go beyond their training and misdiagnosed children with behavioral and psychological issues.  Make sure your child is diagnosed by trained professionals in that field who can develop an appropriate treatment plan.

In many schools, guidance counselors or social workers without much mental health training provide therapy. Public schools are compensated well for mental health “therapy,” deemed professional treatment. Check out the national or local school reports on the number of students who receive in-house therapy? Many children are on psychological medications to control their behavior without a precise diagnosis that’s dangerous.

The Individualized Education Program (IEP) can be a blessing, let it work for you if your child needs it.   Initially, I didn’t want my child stigmatized, but after doing research, I changed my mind. Did you know a school is obligated to provide appropriate accommodations based on the IEP? That may mean finding the proper school for your child.  There is power in that IEP, don’t let the school intimidate you into accepting their assessment of your child’s needs.  In other words, get a second opinion and if need be a lawyer and get your child to a school that meets your child’s educational needs.

Black and interracial parents remember your child is immersed in a system that considers them inferior or of low aptitude. Their classes, grades, and teachers selected on that foundational belief, it’s essential you understand this when interacting with the school and its staff. (Why?)

Our children need an education where they learn about people who look like them doing great things. We can get that for them only if we understand the system then advocate for our children.  This is a system where threats of marches and protests can go a long way.    Many schools don’t want the attention or the accompanying investigation that would undoubtedly expose school board corruption, discrimination and who knows what else.

Finally, it should be mandatory that teachers understand the student’s culture not from government stats that only serve to justify stereotypes, but from authentic interactions and programs that incentivize graduating students to return to the community as teachers and educators.  How many successful companies keep salespeople who do not understand their customers?  Why do schools keep teachers who are culturally insensitive in an inner city public school?

To be revised