On July 5, Ivory Kaleb Toldson was born. He is my first son and second child. During his birth I relived the joy, wonderment and jitters that I experienced in 2007 when my daughter, Makena, was born.
Like millions of parents, I want the best education for my children. As a black parent, I am cognizant of the persistent racial inequities and biases in the school system. Black children need to be exposed to a curriculum that builds on their strengths, affirms their culture and treats them with dignity and compassion.
Notwithstanding many problems that schools are having educating black children, I am optimistic that black children can succeed in any type of school (public, private or charter) in any environment (urban, suburban or rural). Through my years of research on academic success, I am convinced that the key to educating black children is to have schools build successful partnerships with black parents.
Today, the relationship between black parents and schools is precarious, primarily because of antagonists and instigators. Most antagonists speak through a certain movement or organization. Teachers unions, reform movements and public-education advocates can be noble when they focus on children but destructive when they become antagonistic and defensive. For example, when public schools and teachers unions defend themselves against criticism, they often use apathetic black parents and poverty as scapegoats.
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