Happy Labor Day!! If you’re in NYC and West Indian, you may be where I am; on the parkway, jamming down the road with my friends and dem!
Or maybe you’re home, eagerly preparing for the start of school. If so, we here at CREAD wanted to talk about one focus of “21st century education,” how we treat our boys. Patriarchy is a damaging thing, and not only for women. When you combine patriarchy with white supremacy, you get the current state of affairs for our Black and Latino boys in education.
When you check out the national data, Black boys are not successful in our own schools. Most educators unfortunately ask the question, what’s wrong with Black boys? But we, here at CREAD, ask another question. What’s wrong with our schools? What is the hidden curriculum of our schools that make it unwelcoming to black boys?
The Schott Foundation collects and publishes national data on the four-year graduation rates for Black Males. The critical examination of this data highlights the persistent systemic disparity in opportunity for black boys. Check out the data here.
One of my mentors, Pedro Noguera, has spent his life’s work focusing on what’s wrong with schools that continue to fail our boys. You can read one of my favorite books by Pedro, The trouble with Black Boys.
But if you don’t have time to read an entire book, check out this article he wrote about his son and his difficulties with school, being a Afro-Latino male in our educational setting, “Joaquin’s dilemma,” and understanding the link between racial identity and school-related behaviors” You can read with this link here.
If you have 18 minutes, watch Pedro talk about Black boys, relationships and his son here on youtube: Educating the 21st Century Child- Pedro Noguera. And if you have about 2 hours, check out this great documentary on Netflix; “The mask you live in.” Here’s the trailer on youtube The Mask You Live In.
As you prepare your rules, your syllabus, and get ya mind right, we ask that you pay very special attention to your boys, how you interact with them, how they interact with each other. Strong Relational trust is the number one way to close the achievement gap for black students.
So we challenge you to build with your boys, to respect them. The word respect comes from the Latin words re (back) and specere (look at). We here at CREAD ask you to look again at our boys, look at them with new eyes, a new perspective, see again. And we know if you do that, you will discover there is nothing wrong with our boys.
The only job harder than being a GREAT teacher, a teacher who liberates, is being a parent. So on this Labor Day, we thank you for all you do and we wish you an amazing school year.