Life in Baltimore: A look at the crisis in black education, Part II

Brenda Bowe Johnson | 8/11/2017, 6 a.m.
This is Part II of a three part series about the current crisis in black education
Dr. Karsonya Whitehead, associate professor, Communications and African, and African-American Studies, Loyola University Maryland. Dr. Whitehead is the Author of “Letters to My Black Sons: Raising Boys in a Post Racial America.” Courtesy Photo

It’s about the work that is not being done to prepare black and brown children for higher education or to provide them with skills training. I believe that education is the next battleground; it’s one of the major civil rights issues of the 21st century.

BBJ: What is needed to improve the education of black children? Is it the role of parents, teachers, or system?

KW: In order to solve the crisis in black [and brown] education, I believe that it will take a concerted and concentrated three-prong effort:

A. The system: more money needs to properly allocated (along with establishing an oversight budget committee) to the public school system that provides more money to be spent per child on resources and books. Additionally, more money needs to be allocated and spent to fix the building and heating and cooling systems so that our students can be both safe and comfortable in the environment. The school system should also reevaluate the lunch program to provide more "farm to table" food, including fresh fruit and vegetables, resulting in healthy, balanced meals.

B. Teachers: In addition to being certified in their content area, teachers should be encouraged to take regular classes to stay current in the field and should be properly compensated for both their in-class work and their extracurricular course work. Teachers should also be required to complete a race and equity workshop, designed to teach them how to be culturally responsive teachers.

C. Parents: If they have time (depending upon their work schedule), parents should be required to volunteer up to five hours a month in their child’s school. This would provide them with an opportunity to get to know the staff and teachers, to be a part of the school environment, and to partner effectively with the teachers to help to raise their child[ren].